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Guidelines on integrating the “leave no one behind” principle into development planning in Europe and Central Asia








FAO. 2023. Guidelines on integrating the “leave no one behind” principle into development planning in Europe and Central Asia. Budapest.



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    The world is not on track in making the pledge of leaving no one behind a reality, particularly in rural areas where most of the extreme poor live. Rural people in low-income countries increasingly face structural constraints in seizing socio-economic and political opportunities. In addition, gender discriminatory social norms prevent rural women and girls from realizing their full potential as leaders and economic agents, constraining the livelihoods and well-being of entire rural societies. In this context, development and humanitarian actors tend to overlook the use of community engagement and gender-transformative approaches, despite the fact that these are cost effective and have high returns. Considering these pressing challenges, it is of paramount importance to promote collective action at community level – ensuring ownership and sustainability – to trigger transformative changes in terms of gender equality, women’s leadership and social inclusion.
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    In Africa, women are critical agents of change in the fight against rural poverty, hunger and malnutrition. They are the backbone of their households, communities, and rural economies covering important roles in food production, processing and marketing, and also in the nutrition of the family. However, with food systems rapidly modernizing and dramatic effects of climate change and environmental degradation becoming the “new normal”, they continue to face multiple challenges due to persisting gender discriminations. Over the years, remarkable political commitments to improve women’s condition and status have been made, but substantial gender gaps still remain in the access and control over productive resources and assets, services and markets. Overcoming these challenges will require addressing the root causes of gender inequalities through innovative and gender-transformative approaches. According to FAO’s latest estimates (SOFI, 2019), the number of people suffering from hunger has been rising. Just this trend - and the awareness that we lost a decade of progress - is sufficient to underscore the immense challenge of achieving the Zero Hunger target by 2030. The situation is most alarming in sub-Saharan Africa, where the number of undernourished people has steadily increased since 2014, to 237 million in 2018. These findings are in line with the 2019 SDG report. It shows that we are still lagging behind in achieving the SDGs as the global response has not been ambitious enough.
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    At the mid-point of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, there is an urgent need to understand where the world stands in eliminating hunger and food insecurity, as well as in ensuring sustainable agriculture. The new report of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), titled Tracking progress on food and agriculture-related SDG indicators, offers analysis and trends on indicators across eight Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – in particular, SDGs 1, 2, 5, 6, 10, 12, 14 and 15 – highlighting areas of progress and areas where further effort is needed. Available in digital format, this year’s edition also discusses selected indicators for which FAO is a contributing agency and/or that have key implications for food and agriculture. These additional indicators provide valuable information on agricultural losses resulting from disasters, the distribution of land tenure rights, the prevalence of stunting and malnutrition, the impact of international trade policies and regulations on agricultural trade, especially in developing and least developed countries, and the proportion of land degradation.This edition also includes, for the first time, an overall statistical progress assessment for SDG 2 that synthesizes information across all indicators aimed at achieving Zero Hunger, including those for which FAO is not the custodian agency.

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