The Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (FAO) published a set of guidelines to help countries in the Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region reach the furthest behind in the agrifood systems first. The publication outlines a stepwise approach to integrating the principle of “leave no one behind” (LNOB) into national development policies.

The report is titled, ‘Guidelines on Integrating the “Leave No One Behind” Principle into Development Planning in Europe and Central Asia.’ It argues that at the midpoint in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the LNOB imperative is gaining more traction among development practitioners as they seek to undertake “concrete actions to curb poverty and inequality, address vulnerabilities, and thus ensure that the prosperity of the furthest behind is fast-tracked.”

The report underscores that in agrifood systems, it is crucial to reach those furthest behind first. Citing the World Bank’s estimates, it notes that 80% of people living below the international poverty line reside in rural areas. In the ECA region, the prevalence of severe food insecurity in 2020 was 2.4%, or 22.8 million people, according to the report.

At the same time, the report emphasizes, “smallholder farmers produce one-third of the world’s food but bear a double vulnerability burden,” having to deal with vulnerabilities related to climate change as well as those “associated with having limited access to productive resources such as land and water, public services and markets in food supply chains.”

The report provides examples of equality, non-discrimination, and equity in agrifood systems, and outlines measures that could deliver contributions to the well-being of vulnerable groups such as smallholder farmers, rural women, landless farmers, Indigenous communities, and pastoral and semi-nomadic communities, among others.

The guidelines identify four steps for LNOB integration into policies:

  • Carry out a diagnostic and intersectional analysis to identify vulnerable groups and root causes of marginalization;
  • Formulate policies and interventions to address the challenges and risks vulnerable groups face;
  • Identify indicators to measure and monitor the performance of interventions and the situation of LNOB groups; and
  • Develop mechanisms for continuous review of LNOB interventions.

The report includes a list of tools for conducting vulnerability assessments, and a checklist to ensure LNOB integration into agrifood planning documents is done properly.






Published July 2023

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