Talking points by Francoise Jacob, UN Serbia Resident Coordinator on the occasion of introduction of the Leave No One Behind tool.
Dobar dan, good afternoon, Madame la Ministre, Madame Dy speaker of the house, colleagues,
It is a unique occasion to have a high-level event focusing exclusively on the concept of Leave No One Behind, Da niko ne bude izostavljen. I would like to thank everyone who was involved in developing this tool – that includes national authorities, civil society, academia, representatives of marginalized groups, the UN System and other relevant actors – with special thanks to minister Comic for her commitment to run this process to its completion.
As you know, the UN top priority is the realisation of Agenda 2030, and at the heart of the agenda we have 2 key pillars: Peace in all its forms and Leave no one behind.
1. Allow me to share an important clarification about the Leave no one behind concept: It means ending extreme poverty and reducing inequalities among both individuals and groups, and it goes well beyond being an anti-discrimination agenda. Key to leaving no one behind is the prioritisation and fast-tracking of actions for the poorest and most marginalised people. This concept came from the realisation that concentrating policy on outcomes defined by national averages concealed disparities affecting the poorest groups. It is a recognition that trickle-down progress is insufficient or inadequate – and that explicit and pro-active attempts are needed to ensure marginalised, vulnerable populations are included in law and policy making from the start. its call to narrow the gaps between disadvantaged groups and the rest of society.
2. This LNOB tool is a practical attempt to make laws, national policies, national action plans and budgets are inclusive. This is not only about social protection and anti-discrimination efforts. Instead, it aims to address all areas of economic and social development and transformation. The tool is designed to provide practical step-by-step guidance and identify entry points where paying attention to human rights principles will result in the biggest dividend for the society.
Let me give you a couple of examples: the energy transition vs the just transition: while the country is developing and adjusting a new legal framework for the energy transition and for encouraging energy efficiency, it is important to include solutions and options for those who will be most affected: the coal workers, the communities around them, the energy poor. Air pollution affects poorer neighbourhood more than any other area: how do we consider this in infrastructure investments? Other areas would include urban mobility (ensuring poorer neighbourhoods get adequate public transport) or sustainable food systems (including specific provisions/incentives for small holders, screening all new upcoming laws related to agriculture).
3. Developing the tool is the first step. Priorities will only make a difference if we are able to translate them into concrete processes, policies, and projects. So today I call on the law and policy makers in all relevant government institutions to fully adopt and embrace the concept of the tool and to augment the impact of their actions to reduce inequality gaps. I also call on our development partners to ensure that every one of their financing and investment considers the principle of LNOB.
4. This important pilot is an opportunity to share good practices from Serbia:
The LNOB tool in Serbia can be considered a global pilot initiative that will resonate in the region and much beyond. (refer to Vucic speech at the GA last night). It can and should serve as an inspiration to any country wishing to embed equality and non-discrimination systematically and inclusively in national policymaking – as a way to meaningful, long-lasting societal change.
This initiative was also developed in the spirit of building trust and partnership between multiple parties. We may have different perspective and opinions, but we want to reach the same goal. As many of you know, one of my mandate as RC, and personal ambition is to nurture a culture of dialog in this country, no matter the circumstances.
So I would really recommend that you feature this in the upcoming 2023 SDG Summit and the various global and regional events which will take place as we cross the halfway line to 2030. We also have the 4th Universal Periodic Review of Serbia scheduled for 2023 - another opportunity to inform the global public and commit to ensuring the tool is applied across the national policymaking and implementation processes.
To conclude, the LNOB tools draws from the International human rights obligations embedded in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international human rights law. It highlights our shared responsibility to place human rights front and centre of policymaking and implementation efforts. I really hope that we will accelerate such action. Hvala.