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The Leave No One Behind Principle

Any activity that brings about change has ripples and repercussions. Build a dam in one area and floodwaters are diverted; one community may benefit, but another community further away may be negatively impacted. Consideration of the wider context is really important.
A billiard break representing sport impacting intended targets (Good Health and Wellbeing) with Knock on effects for other SDGS, for example for Inclusive sport, Women in sport Leadership, Gender Equality and Economic growth.

Any activity that brings about change has ripples and repercussions. Build a dam in one area and floodwaters are diverted; one community may benefit, but another community further away may be negatively impacted. Consideration of the wider context is really important.

Leave No One Behind

The SDGs are underpinned by the “leave no one behind” principle. SDG 17 recognises the need for partnerships to achieve collective goals. Our collective work should aim to end poverty, reduce inequality and tackle climate change over the next decade while ensuring that all actors are involved.

Similarly, disability rights campaigners have been using the phrase “nothing about us, without us” since the 1990s. People whose lives are affected by these global issues need to be actively engaged in the process of deciding what needs to change.

Sport can play a role here given its wide reach and platform. It can address issues of marginalisation, but we need to also ensure that sport itself is inclusive and that we tackle existing inequalities within sport at all levels (e.g. the gap in sports participation due to financial constraints, as well as athlete salaries between males and females).

Sport-based approaches can support youth development, gender equality, inclusion of people with a disability, marginalised groups and low-income countries and territories impacted upon by climate change. Yet, this remains only ‘potential’ unless it is actually realised.

This is why policies and programmes need to work together and be intentionally designed. It is also vital to address structural and systemic issues such as marginalised groups having less access to sport and physical activity.

Leave No One Behind and Cross-Cutting Themes

There are several recurrent themes that resonate particularly with sport and development activities:

• Intentional programme design, delivery and measurement

• Rights: human rights, safeguarding and child protection

• Diversity and inclusion: gender and discrimination, disability, equal access and opportunity

• Environmental sustainability

• Good governance and administration

It is important to reflect on these cross-cutting themes all of your activities. More information available about the themes available here.

Sport for Generation Equality Framework is an example of how sport can be leveraged for gender equality.

Reflection

Why do you think these cross-cutting themes and the ‘leave no one behind principle’ are crucial for sport and development initiatives to consider?

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Sport for Sustainable Development: Designing Effective Policies and Programmes

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