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UN Development Agenda Found Falling Behind in Reaching Goals

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By Shanta Rao 

UNITED NATIONS (IDN) – As part of its the Agenda for Sustainable Development, the United Nations is determined to “to leave no one behind” in its strong commitment to ensure the elimination of extreme poverty and hunger by the year 2030, which is an integral part of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by world leaders in September 2015.

But in a new report released July 17, the UK-based Overseas Development Institute (ODI) points out that only 25 of the 44 countries presenting their progress on SDGs at the UN’s High Level Political Forum (HLPF), which concludes July 19, are ready to meet the central commitment of “leaving no-one behind.” The report has been released to coincide with the UN’s 10-day HLPF.

As governments prepared to present their National Voluntary Reviews at the HLPF, ODI researchers analysed whether they have the data, policy and finance in place to be able to meet the fundamental principle behind the goals.

The “leave no one behind” index finds that of those 44 countries, only 25 are ready overall, while 18 are only partially ready. Data was unavailable for one country.

Countries in Latin America appear to be doing particularly well, with Panama fulfilling all three indicators while Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Peru and Uruguay fulfilling two each, said ODI, described as a leading independent think tank on international development and humanitarian issues.

Author Romilly Greenhill, senior research fellow at ODI, said: “While it’s promising to see more than half of the countries presenting at the UN are ready to meet their commitment to ‘leave no one behind’, it is a cause for concern that others are not yet there.

“These ambitious goals will not be met if the poorest and most marginalised people continue to be left behind and so it is vital that all countries have the necessary information, policy and financing in place to be able to reach those that are furthest behind.

“This analysis shows where improvements need to be made. It is now imperative that governments, donors and the international community work together to make sure this happens.” It is based on a desk-based review of recent country surveys, analysis of country policy documents and centrally compiled information sources, and financing data published by the World Bank, UNESCO, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The index measures governments’ readiness in three areas: Data: have household surveys been conducted recently? Policy: do countries have some of the core policies in place: are health services free at the point of access; are there anti-discrimination policies in employment; and can women own land? Finance: do governments meet agreed spending targets in health, education and social protection? [IDN-InDepthNews – 17 July 2016]

Image credit: UN

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