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Efforts to promote development need to focus on hard-to-reach areas and overlooked groups of people, experts told a Friends of Europe Policymakers’ Dinner, “Leaving no one behind – the SDG challenge of reaching the last mile” on 5 June 2018.
About three-quarters of the world’s poor live in remote areas with insufficient access to education, healthcare, clean water and sanitation. The percentage of children not in school in these areas is twice as high as in urban areas, and children are 1.7 times more likely to die before their fifth birthday in comparison to urban areas. That makes it urgent to push aid efforts well beyond cities, which often present the most-visible challenges.
The United Nations’ Agenda 2030 calls for leaving no one behind and ensuring that all sustainable development goals (SDGs) are “met for all nations and peoples and for all segments of society”. An implication is that development actors think beyond per capita GDP and reach out to the last mile: the poorest of the poor, the most geographically distant and the most marginalised – with a special emphasis on women and girls.