Leave No One Behind in Attaining the SDGs, Experts Urge Govt

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Abimbola Akosile

Experts have called on the Nigerian government to do more to ensure all groups of people are included in the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), at the end of a Leave No one Behind (LNB) national dialogue held in Lagos recently.

The LNB dialogue, which was attended by 110 experts from 16 States in Nigeria, including representatives from Government, Private Sector, NGOs, Academia, Trade Groups, Media and People with Disability sought to galvanise stakeholders to deliver key commitment of the SDGs to be inclusive and transformative in a way that respects indivisibility, universality and equity.

Speaking at the event, National Coordinator of the Nigeria Network of NGOs (NNNGOs) Mr. Oyebisi Babatunde Oluseyi, said he was impressed by the level of debate during the meeting, which ended with participants listing several groups of people often left behind, among them women, children, people with disability, aged, people living in rural communities and internally displaced persons (IDPs).

“We have learnt the implications of the leave no one behind mantra of the sustainable development goals to the work of all stakeholders in the field of development and human rights. As we make sense of our discussions we will ensure that all your thoughts are well captured and that it shapes the work of the LNB coalition that has been formed from this meeting”, Oyebisi told participants.

The one-day meeting hosted by Civicus, Development Initiative, Project Everyone and the NNNGOs identified key elements and issues, based on local as well as international experience that the Nigerian government, along with the private and civil society sector can take in ensuring that no one is left behind.

“The developmental challenges the world face knows no religion, nationality, border, sexual orientation or gender. We will continue to fight with determination discrimination in all its forms in accordance with national and international laws, purposes and principles of the UN Charter”, participants agreed in a communiqué issued at the end of the event .

“Women, children, people with disability, aged, people living in rural communities and internally displaced persons are the most left behind in our country and they confront a wide range of developmental challenges that pose direct threats to the lives and the stability of their environment. In response we call on all stakeholders to prioritise this group of people within their strategies, plans, projects and programmes.

“Government at all levels bears significant responsibility in this regard. We call on the civil society and private sector to use its considerable influence over the Government to meet their SDGs commitments in full to all population groups without leaving anyone behind”, participants added.

The pledge to leave no one behind (LNB) is at the heart of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. The LNB initiative aims at putting the last first to eradicate extreme poverty; to address the root causes of poverty, inequality and exclusion, including holding decision-makers to account; and to ensure fair opportunity for all.