‘Leave No One Behind’ – Act in 2015

Lord McConnell


Today is a big day in a big year. In 2015 the UN will celebrate the significant if incomplete success of the Millennium Development Goals and agree a new set of goals – the Sustainable Development Goals – as the engine for development over the next fifteen years.  And today action2015 has been launched around the world to mobilise groups and individuals to secure an ambitious plan to end extreme poverty.


Much of our political debate in 2014 was dominated by fears. Fears about migration, security, economic uncertainty and our planet. These fears cross national boundaries, they are shared by people of different cultures and nationalities, and their solutions are global not national. The SDG’s are fundamentally about justice and solidarity, but they are also about tackling these great fears of the 21st century, and helping all of us live better, safer, more fulfilling lives.


Fundamental to tackling these fears is the need to end extreme poverty; to ensure women and men have the same rights and opportunities; to prevent conflict and to recognise those marginalised as a result of their physical condition, their identity, their sexuality or their location have the same basic rights as others.


In 2015, the global community has a unique opportunity to bring together goals about our climate and goals about development with the financial partnerships that are required to deliver those goals in one set of agreements. And, because any agreement will be built on consultation, with knowledge of what works and what doesn’t, these goals will have greater shared ownership than ever before.


Tackling inequality must run like a thread through the new SDG’s. On a local, national and international level the eradication of gender inequalities will be fundamental if the goals are to have the impact we demand. And resilience to extreme weather events must not be overlooked if we are to stop natural disasters destroying years of hard word in economic and social development.


In December 2014, the UN Secretary General published ‘The Road to Dignity by 2030: Ending Poverty, Transforming All Lives and Protecting the Planet’. It sets out six essential elements  – dignity, people, prosperity, planet, justice and partnerships – that are our pipelines to peace and sustainable development. The principle of universality of rights will underpin the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals and the rallying cry will be to ‘leave no one behind.’


In my view two key issues will be challenging but must be included to the final commitment.


First the delivery of better goals demands investment in capacity: taxation authorities; fair and transparent courts and justice systems; strong parliaments that hold governments to account; reliable, independent data collection; and effective government ministries. There must be a genuine and consistent effort to invest in capacity; and a willingness in those nations where the vast majority of the extreme poor live to respect accountable institutions that put people before those in power.


The second is peace and security. Draft Goal 16 states: “promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.” There will be many States in the UN however who see such a commitment as a threat to their national sovereignty. The UK can reassure these nations that this goal is about delivering justice for those who live in the worst conditions in the worst places on earth. Current projections are that by 2030 over 50% of those living in extreme poverty will be living in the most violent and fragile places. Global leaders must give priority to peacebuilding for those living with and in fear of violent conflict.


As a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, a leading member in the European Union, the Commonwealth, the G8 and the G20, the UK is uniquely placed to influence, even lead, this debate.


We must insist that commitments on peacebuilding, on inequality, on gender and on resilience to extreme events be up front in the final agreement. If we do, we will help to usher in an era of transformation that will deliver a safer, more prosperous and more just 21st century.



1 comment for “‘Leave No One Behind’ – Act in 2015

  1. 15/01/2015 at 11:19 pm

    I took part in the UN MyWorld 2015 questionnaire and put down I wanted blind people to be able to cross the road in safety and without fear due to the impact of shared space road design on their ability to independently navigate their own town centres. Our film Sea of Change – Walking Into Trouble https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NOObDPOSm-g&list=UUmCA-mFrDlybiheyG28UxYA is raising the awareness of this issue in UK and overseas to help achieve this aim.

    Today, I was totally inspired by Lord Chris Holmes blog on this issue http://lordsoftheblog.net/2015/01/15/two-eyes-in-inclusion/ and truly believe that we can tackle this issue in 2015 and inspire inclusive accessibility led regeneration schemes in our villages, towns and cities.

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