UN Post-2015 Summit - Interactive Dialogue 2: Tackling inequalities, empowering women and girls and leaving no one behind

Published: 26 September 2015



Interactive Dialogue 2: Tackling inequalities, empowering women and girls and leaving no one behind

New York, 25 September 2015



Mr President,

Thank you for this opportunity to contribute to this important discussion. Our success in delivering on the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals lies in our ability to reach deep into communities, and to support the most isolated, the most vulnerable, and the most marginalized.

I would like to make a few brief points:

The focus on leaving no one behind is perhaps the critical principle in the new agenda. The Millennium Development Goals were weaker on this — and as a result, the progress of the poorest regions, countries, and people lagged behind. The SDGs are much stronger, especially in their call for: “getting to zero” on extreme poverty, hunger and malnutrition, communicable diseases, preventable child mortality, and all forms of violence against women, and in their insistence on the universal provision of basic services including health, water and sanitation and education.

We are in a time of unprecedented humanitarian crises. Disasters are more frequent and intense, international health emergencies pose a significant threat, and tens of millions of people are affected by increasingly protracted conflicts, stretching the capacity and imagination of humanitarian organizations. There are an estimated 60 million people who are forcibly displaced, more than half of whom are women and children. Humanitarian crises exacerbate existing inequalities, discrimination and marginalisation, affecting everyone but making a bad situation worse for those already excluded from society, increasing the risk of their being left behind. In the response to the earthquakes in Nepal, the floods in Myanmar and the typhoon in Vanuatu, for instance, the IFRC and National Society put an emphasis on ensuring the dignity, equal access to assistance, participation and safety of the most marginalised.

In recent weeks, I have visited the borders of Serbia, Hungary and Croatia, and seen first-hand the terrible human toll of a crisis that is testing our shared humanity. If we are to truly “leave no one behind”, then this new post-2015 agenda must address the needs of people affected by humanitarian crises.

This ambitious agenda needs to be backed by sufficient resources. As the World Bank and IMF have said, we must go “from billions to trillions” if we have any hope of delivering on the promises we are making here. However, it is not only the quantity of funding that is critical—but where and to whom it is allocated. More resources must be driven to the local level, where needs are greatest. International cooperation must support local action, including through local authorities and national organizations that deliver services and promote sustainable development on the ground.

Finally, if we are to deliver on this commitment, then we will need to do a better job of engaging, supporting and strengthening local capacity. National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies will play a critical role in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, through their trained staff and 17 million volunteers, are permanently present in communities. Our network stands ready to partner with governments, UN agencies, civil society, the corporate sector and communities themselves to turn this ambition into a reality, and make sure that in 2030, no one has been left behind.

Thank you.