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Ensuring that No One is Left Behind: Reaching the most vulnerable
A distinctive feature of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is its emphasis on reaching the poorest and most vulnerable, as expressed in the Preamble and Declaration. A range of Goals and Targets, including those on poverty; on food security, nutrition and agriculture; on education and learning opportunities; on water and sanitation; and on cities make specific reference to the poor and vulnerable or those in vulnerable situations. Paragraph 23 of the Agenda refers to the empowerment of the most vulnerable and includes, among the groups “whose needs are reflected in the agenda”, “all children, youth, persons with disabilities (of whom more than 80% live in poverty), people living with HIV/AIDS, older persons, indigenous peoples, refugees and internally displaced persons and migrants” as well as “people living in areas affected by complex humanitarian emergencies and in areas affected by terrorism”.

Because of disabilities, lack of resources, language and literacy barriers, distance, formal and legal impediments, cultural practices, social norms and others, these groups are often excluded from the channels through which the benefits of policy, government action, and economic development are conveyed. Access to education, adequate housing, basic services, social protection, jobs, financing, legal protection, protection from environmental hazards and natural disasters, and opportunities to participate in decision-making are often out of reach or prohibitively costly for precisely those groups that need them the most. These are issues that have also been the addressed from the perspective of human rights. Failure to acknowledge and address factors of vulnerability and the barriers to access services, resources and opportunities means that advances in development will not benefit the poorest and most vulnerable and that inequalities will be aggravated rather than attenuated.

In addition to the 2030 Agenda, the need to reach the most vulnerable is recognized in numerous international agreements, including, among the most recent, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction. It is the object of numerous human rights instruments and has been the focus of the work of the Commission for Social Development. Intergovernmental and other forums have addressed the specific needs of particular groups.

Taking into account national and international commitments and practice, this session will bring together perspectives on how to address these challenges, with particular reference to the groups identified in the 2030 Agenda. It will address lessons from past and ongoing experiences, and how to best assess progress in this regard.

Possible questions for discussion:
  1. What are the concrete barriers faced by the poorest and most vulnerable, and by particular groups among the most vulnerable, in accessing services, resources and opportunities and in benefitting from policy measures?
  2. What concrete measures have been taken to address the needs of the poorest and most vulnerable and what lessons can be learned from these experiences?
  3. How can advances in reaching the most vulnerable in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda best be assessed, nationally and internationally?

Chair:
  • H.E. Mr. Oh Joon, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the UN and President of ECOSOC

Moderator:
  • Mr. Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO)

Panellists:
  • H.E. Mr. Hugo Roger Martinez Bonilla, Minister of Foreign Affairs of El Salvador
  • H.E. Mr. Md. Shahidul Haque, Foreign Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh
  • H.E. Ms. Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter, Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, Germany

Lead discussants:
  • Mr. Christian Friis-Bach, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)
  • Ms. Kate Gilmore, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights
Biographies
H.E. Mr. Hugo Roger Martinez Bonilla
Minister of Foreign Affairs of El Salvador
H.E. Mr. Hugo Roger Martinez Bonilla

Minister of Foreign Affairs of El Salvador

Mr. Martinez Bonilla is has been Minister of Foreign Affairs of El Salvador since 2014, a position he is occupying for the second time. He was previously Secretary-General of the Central American Integration System (SICA). He was a member of parliament in El Salvador for several years starting in 1994, and as such participated in the Forum of Presidents of Legislative Bodies of Central America and the Caribbean (FOPREL) and the Inter-Parliamentary Union. He is an Engineer by training, with a degree from the University of El Salvador, and a Masters from the University of Toulouse, France.

H.E. Mr. Md. Shahidul Haque
Foreign Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh
H.E. Mr. Md. Shahidul Haque

Foreign Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh

Mr. Md. Shahidul Haque has been serving as Foreign Secretary of the Government of Bangladesh since 2013. He is the Chair-in-office of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) and serves as an Independent Expert to the Committee on the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (CMW) for the term 2014-2017. He is also a member of the Migration Advisory Board of International Organization for Migration (IOM). From 2001 to 2012, Mr. Haque occupied several senior positions at the IOM. Prior to that, he worked for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh, having served in Missions in London, Bangkok and Geneva. Mr. Haque has an MA in nternational Relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. He holds a Master in Social Science and a Bachelor in Social Science with Honors from the University of Dhaka.

H.E. Mr. Oh Joon
Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the UN and President of ECOSOC
H.E. Mr. Oh Joon

Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea to the UN and President of ECOSOC

His Excellency Oh Joon was elected seventy-first President of the Economic and Social Council on 24 July 2015. Ambassador Oh is currently the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Republic of Korea to the United Nations in New York.

H.E. Ms. Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter
Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for the Environment, Germany
H.E. Ms. Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter

Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister for the Environment, Germany

Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter is Parliamentary State Secretary at the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety. Mrs Schwarzelühr-Sutter, an economist trained at Freiburg and Zurich universities, has worked as a consultant and advisor in the mobility sector. She became a member of the German Parliament (Bundestag) for the first time in 2005 and headed the Working Group "Sustainable Mobility" of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) Executive Committee. Mrs. Schwarzelühr-Sutter currently is Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (German Federal Environmental Foundation) and the Supervisory Board of Global Research for Safety (GRS).

Mr. Christian Friis-Bach
Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ECE and Coordinator of the Regional Commissions
Mr. Christian Friis-Bach

Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ECE and Coordinator of the Regional Commissions

Mr. Christian Friis Bach, a national of Denmark, was appointed as Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of UNECE in July 2014.

Mr. Friis Bach previously served as Denmark’s Minister for Development Cooperation and Special Advisor to the European Union Commission for the United Nations Global Sustainability Panel.

He is Honorary Professor of International Economics and Development at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark.

Mr. Guy Ryder
Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO)
Mr. Guy Ryder

Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO)

Mr. Guy Ryder has been Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO) since October 2012. He first joined the ILO in 1998 as Director of the Bureau for Workers’ Activities, and held several positions in the organization, including Executive Director, responsible for international labour standards and fundamental principles and rights at work. Mr. Ryder started his professional career at the International Department of the Trade Union Congress in London. He was also Secretary of the Industry Trade Section of the International Federation of Commercial, Clerical, Professional and Technical Employees (FIET), General Secretary of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) and first General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). Mr. Ryder has degrees in Social and Political Sciences at the University of Cambridge and Latin American Studies at the University of Liverpool.

Ms. Kate Gilmore
United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights
Ms. Kate Gilmore

United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights

Ms. Kate Gilmore was appointed United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights on 1st December 2015. Prior to joining OHCHR, Ms. Gilmore was Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director for Programmes with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). Previously she was National Director of Amnesty International Australia and then Executive Deputy Secretary General of Amnesty International. Ms. Gilmore started her career as a social worker and government policy officer in Australia. She helped establish Australia’s first Centre Against Sexual Assault at Melbourne’s Royal Women’s Hospital and her work over a number of years focused on prevention of violence against women. In Australia, she was granted honorary appointments to provincial and national public policy and law reform processes, including membership of the country’s first National Committee on Violence Against Women. Ms. Gilmore holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of New England and postgraduate degrees in Social Work from the University of Melbourne and Community Development from RMIT.

Statements
Statements
H.E. Mr. Hugo Martinez Bonilla, Minister of Foreign Affairs of El Salvador
H.E. Ms. Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter, Federal Ministry for the Environment, Germany
Major Group: Business and Industry
Mr. Christian Friis-Bach, USG and Executive Secretary of ECE