Leave no one behind (LNOB) is the central, transformative promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It represents the unequivocal commitment of all UN Member States to eradicate poverty in all its forms, end discrimination and exclusion, and reduce the inequalities and vulnerabilities that leave people behind and undermine the potential of individuals and of humanity as a whole.
LNOB not only entails reaching the poorest of the poor but requires combating discrimination and rising inequalities within and amongst countries and their root causes. A major cause of people being left behind remains the persistent forms of discrimination we know all too well, including gender discrimination, which leaves individuals, families and whole communities marginalized, and excluded. LNOB is grounded in the UN’s normative standards that are foundational principles of the Charter of the United Nations, international human rights law and national legal systems across the world.
It was this commitment that compelled the inaugural steps of the Joint SDG Fund and our primary focus on Leave no one behind (LNOB). We invited Resident Coordinators from every corner of the world to identify innovative approaches to identify and include the most vulnerable in their country, from the elderly to unemployed youth, from the undocumented migrant worker to the rural farmer who is too poor to send his or her children to school.
With catalytic investments of $US 2 million across 36 countries, the Joint Fund is financing UN agencies, funds and programmes, to strengthen government social protection systems to address deep-rooted poverty, most often by providing income security and support to those who need it most and who are most often to be excluded from national systems meant to reach the poorest. The multiplier effect of this investment manifests through increased access to health care, more children in school, more inclusive social welfare services, more inclusive child-care, better working conditions and even pensions.
As people across the globe feel increasingly threatened due to uncertainties caused by changes and downshifts in our institutions, our environment, our social classes, social protection systems can be adapted to respond to demographic transitions, changing forms of employment, and new and emerging digital technology. The Joint SDG Fund is committed to the systemic impact of its initial investments across 36 countries and intends to expand this programming to see the wider changes we need to reach the SDGs.