Our Perspectives


Ending LGBTI discrimination is key to achieving SDGs

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Transgender activists in BrazilTransgender activists in downtown Porto Alegre, Brazil, during a mobilization campaign for civil registry change and LGBT rights. Photo: Daniel de Castro/UNDP Brazil.

The recently adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) embody a powerful commitment to achieving a life of dignity for all.

This includes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.

That's why we at UNDP are pleased to join in the UN statement on ending violence and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. The statement has been endorsed by 12 UN entities - UNDP, OHCHR, UNAIDS, ILO, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNHCR, UN Women, UNODC, WFP and WHO.

The new sustainable development agenda includes everyone, especially the most vulnerable and marginalized. As noted by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, "the challenges faced by any become the challenges faced by each of us - sometimes gradually, but often suddenly." In short, the inclusion of LGBTI people is important so that they can contribute to and benefit from sustainable development.

Without inclusive processes we will not be able to help countries to achieve the simultaneous eradication of poverty and significant reduction of inequality and exclusion. Both UNDP's Strategic Plan 2014-2017 and the UNDP Youth Strategy 2014-2017 require us to place particular emphasis on those experiencing the greatest inequality and exclusion – LGBTI people are one such group.

UNDP is already making contributions to LGBTI inclusion through partnerships with governments, LGBTI and other civil society organizations, youth organizations, human rights defenders, and the private sector.

Our efforts to address inequalities experienced by LGBTI people have largely been advanced through the health lens and the work of our HIV, Health and Development Group. In a number of countries, UNDP is supporting national partners to promote inclusion of LGBTI people by working at the nexus of HIV, sexual orientation and gender identity. 

However, UNDP, along with other UN agencies, recognizes the need to ensure that the rights of LGBTI people are part-and-parcel of inclusive development efforts more generally, and not only with respect to HIV.

We are committed to supporting our partners in their efforts to strengthen the laws, policies, and programmes in this regard. And we hope this joint statement will be a useful resource in our work with governments, civil society and development partners.

Read the Joint UN Statement.

Magdy Martínez-Solimán Rule of law HIV and health LGBTI Governance and peacebuilding Blog post

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