ODI Analyzes Countries’ Readiness to Leave No One Behind
UN Photo/Mark Garten
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The ‘Leave No One Behind Index 2018’ by the Overseas Development Institute builds on a 2017 analysis, evaluating the extent to which 86 countries are ready to leave no one behind.

A breakfast event held in the margins of the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development provided an overview of key findings.

Panelists from the UNDP, Dominican Republic and Canada offered insights on the challenges faced in their efforts to leave no one behind.

While ODI’s Index primarily focuses on countries’ readiness to leave no one behind, it also considers four indicators of outcomes in order to demonstrate actual progress: under-five mortality rate; financial inclusion; access to electricity; and undernourishment.

18 July 2018: A briefing note and index launched in the margins of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) reviews the readiness of 86 countries to “leave no one behind.” With the SDGs in effect for nearly 1,000 days, the Overseas Development Institute’s (ODI) ‘Leave No One Behind Index 2018’ explores the extent to which countries have the required data, policies and financing in place.

Elizabeth Stuart, ODI, emphasized during the launch event in New York, US, on 18 July 2018, that “we know what it takes” to deliver on a leave no one behind agenda, as articulated by the Index:

  • data to identify who is left behind and take stock of progress;
  • a reprioritization of policies to ensure that affected communities receive the resources they need;
  • finance, particularly in the areas of education, health and social protection; and
  • a rethinking of donors’ “risk appetites” to go beyond a poverty reduction agenda.

The 2018 Index builds on an inaugural Index released in 2017, adding a policy indicator on resilience, in line with the theme of the 2018 HLPF. Data collected on the additional indicator show that, of the 86 countries reviewed, more than half (46) are “not ready” to leave no one behind from a resilience perspective. Stuart said a new indicator will be added annually, in line with the theme of each year’s HLPF.

The updated Index includes all countries that presented Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) in 2017 and 2018. On progress, the briefing note highlights that much of the progress made since last year has been in the realm of data, and 11 countries have improved their index score since 2017. Overall, ODI finds that 55 countries are “ready” to meet their commitment, 24 are “partially ready,” five are “not ready,” and two have insufficient data to make an informed assessment. The briefing note concludes that “many countries are insufficiently prepared” to leave no one behind from a resilience perspective, with a quarter failing to enact appropriate policy frameworks. Further, the briefing note flags as a concern the finding that, despite the theme of the 2018 HLPF, most countries fail to identify, let alone prioritize, those most at risk of being left behind in the preparation of their National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) and other adaptation projects. A search of 57 countries’ Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement on climate change found that almost half did not contain a single mention of ODI’s keywords relating to a leave no one behind agenda.

ODI’s Index considers four indicators of outcomes: under-five mortality rate; financial inclusion; access to electricity; and undernourishment.

During the event, Achim Steiner, UN Development Programme (UNDP) Administrator, highlighted that the leave no one behind terminology can “mean a thousand different things to a thousand different people,” and can be viewed from a variety of lenses, including income, geography, gender or location. On this, he noted a UNDP discussion paper to be released in the coming weeks titled, ‘What does it mean to leave no one behind?’ that will present a framework for implementation. Steiner also flagged that the SDGs are not a starting point, but rather a reminder of what we have left to do, following the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) era. He and Stuart acknowledged, however, that the SDGs were agreed during a “high water mark for multilateralism,” and that in today’s very different political environment it is important to “keep driving through” and continue a positive narrative.

Isidoro Santana, Minister of Economy, Planning and Development, Dominican Republic, outlined challenges his country is facing, especially on tax capacity and domestic resource mobilization. He lamented that although a significant amount of public funding goes towards education, this leaves other social issues unattended. He noted that the Dominican Republic and many other middle-income countries (MICs) face a decline in official development assistance (ODA) at a time when domestic resources are not yet able to fill the finance gap, and addressing this could help to deliver the leave no one behind agenda.

Celina Caesar-Chavannes, Member of Parliament, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Development, Canada, described measures that her government has taken to achieve leaving no one behind domestically, highlighting indigenous communities, affordable housing, and safe, clean drinking water as areas needing more action. She noted policy reforms that aim to lift children out of poverty, enhance workers’ benefits, and introduce a rights framework for indigenous communities, calling the SDGs an opportunity to link the “usual and unusual suspects together.” Caesar-Chavannes also emphasized Canada’s “feminist foreign policy,” saying it provides a gateway to being able to name and talk about those who are left behind. She noted investments in Canada’s national statistics office to add capacity on disaggregation and better tracking of outcomes.

While ODI’s Index primarily focuses on countries’ readiness to leave no one behind, it also considers four indicators of outcomes in order to demonstrate actual progress: under-five mortality rate; financial inclusion; access to electricity; and undernourishment. It aggregates data on these outcomes to assess whether countries are on track to leave no one behind, scoring them as on track, off track or making partial progress.

ODI’s analysis finds “a clear correlation” between countries’ readiness and outcome scores. [Side Event Agenda] [Leave No One Behind Index 2018] [SDG Knowledge Hub sources]


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