UNDP's support to "Leaving No One Behind"

Remarks by Haoliang Xu at the UNDP Executive Board. Formative evaluation of the integration by UNDP of the principles of "leaving no one behind" and management response.

February 1, 2023


Distinguished Members of the Executive Board and Member States

On behalf of UNDP management, I would like to thank Director Oscar Garcia and his team at the Independent Evaluation Office for the Formative Evaluation of UNDP’s Integration of ‘Leaving No One Behind’ Principles.

UNDP support to leaving no one behind

As recognized by the Evaluation, UNDP has a long-standing engagement on issues related to leaving no one behind and reaching the furthest behind first that predates the adoption of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. As a reflection of our sustained commitment, our Strategic Plan, 2022-2025 made leaving no one behind one of its three overarching directions of change.

We appreciate the recognition that, through the Five Factor Framework, UNDP has played a pioneer role in highlighting the multiple and intersecting drivers of marginalization that need to be addressed to reach the furthest behind first. This approach went on to form the basis of the broader UN system approach to leaving no one behind.

We also appreciate the recognition that our upstream policy work and increased engagement in strategic, innovative paths for Leaving No One Behind and Reaching the Furthest Behind in such areas as sustainable development finance, governance, energy, health, and social protection.

UNDP upholds our Social and Environmental Standards to ensure a human rights-based approach in our development programming and to leave no one behind.  We reiterate our commitment to support member states in their efforts to respect and fulfil their human rights obligations and commitments under international law, as a critical tool to operationalize the pledge to leave no one behind.


Distinguished Members of the Executive Board and Member States

UNDP welcomes and accepts all recommendations to further articulate our engagement on leaving no one behind and reaching the furthest behind first principles, including on non-discrimination and intersectionality issues, through the development of an implementation glidepath. We will work on three fronts by integrating these principles across i) our corporate substantive offers by leveraging our internal expertise and knowledge networks, and furthering our work on accountability, voice, gender equality and inclusion; (ii) across our resource mobilization and allocation strategies; and (iii) programmatic metrics and systems.

Let me now give you additional highlights of our management response.

[Recommendation 1. Broaden the UNDP approach to leaving no one behind.]

We agree with recommendation 1, noting it is important to broaden its approach to LNOB.  To this end, UNDP will leverage the talent mapping of expertise as part of the People for 2030 strategy to maximize capacities to strengthen integration of leaving no one behind and reaching the furthest behind first, including on intersectionality and non-discrimination.

As part of new gender equality strategy implementation, we will continue to strengthen leadership capacities for engagement on discrimination and intersectionality.

[Recommendation 2.  Turn the commitment to reach the furthest behind first into action.]

We agree with recommendation 2 to further articulate our engagement on RFBF through ‘operationalization glide path’ that will enable UNDP to lead on RFBF and play a strategic integrator role on LNOB.

We envision the management actions related to all other recommendations defining components of this ‘glidepath’ and will institutionalize a dedicated inter-bureau mechanism for the systematic tracking and implementation of the glidepath I referred to earlier.

[Recommendation 3. Implement programming that responds to the need for leaving no one behind and reaching the furthest behind first.]

In response to recommendation 3, we will leverage our SparkBlue collaboration platform and the communities of practice that will serve as a learning hub. It will contribute to systematically share knowledge, lessons learned, and success stories related to on leaving no one behind and reaching the furthest behind first programming.

The communities of practice will empower country-level staff and the wider development community to think out loud, learn from each other, connect, collaborate, and co-create and to support country offices' programmatic activities.

[Recommendation 4.  Engage non-governmental actors as partners.]

Recommendation 4 is for UNDP to engage non-governmental actors as partners. UNDP will persistently utilize its convening power, technical capacity, and partnership networks to promote meaningful participation of civil society, through dedicated policy and programmatic guidance focusing on nurturing civic space.

To further these efforts, we will amplify civil society partnership platforms, including through a review of operational modalities to support CSOs beyond a limited service-provision role in project implementation. UNDP will continue to engage the private sector in the leaving no one behind agenda, bringing more efficiency and innovation to help Governments better serve those left behind.

[Recommendation 5.  Deliberately fund programmatic integration of leaving no one behind.]

UNDP accepts recommendation 5 which is for UNDP to deliberately fund programmatic integration of leaving no one behind. Here, the mid-term review of the Strategic Plan will provide an opportunity to explore the criteria to better align them with countries’ development needs and leaving no one behind principles, going beyond GDP-based criteria.

Furthermore, the corporate resource mobilization strategy currently under development will clearly articulate UNDP value proposition and contribute to secure adequate, flexible, and predictable funding, enabling UNDP to strategically allocate resources to underfunded areas and mandates, including LNOB agenda.

To further ongoing efforts, UNDP will also integrate leaving no one behind and reaching the furthest behind first in external engagement plans and advocacy campaigns.

[Recommendation 6. Update metrics and learning for leaving no one behind and reaching the furthest behind first.]

UNDP accepts recommendation 6 and glad to share that UNDP has already started developing improved metrics for the leaving no one behind marker, incorporating an intersectionality function.

UNDP will integrate portfolio approaches in the UNDP program and project management policies and procedures to promote dynamic and holistic approaches to managing development interventions to achieve systemic change. We will continue to roll-out our portfolio initiation framework in 40+ countries.

Building on this, we are upgrading our results-based management strategy to improve targeting and measuring impact. We will conduct impact and portfolio evaluations of our programs. These steps will further lift UNDP efforts to measure, report on and demonstrate the impact of its work on the lives of the people who are left behind.


Excellencies, we are committed to implementing the evaluation’s recommendations. Thank you again for this opportunity.  I will stand ready to answer any questions you may have. With this, I conclude my remarks.