In September 2015, the 193 United Nations Member States adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The UN Resolution 70/1 adopting the 2030 Agenda includes a pledge that “no one will be left behind” as well as commitments to prioritize the poorest and most marginalized. This UNDP discussion paper 'Sustainable Development Goals: Sexual and Gender Minorities' presents evidence of the marginalization and exclusion experienced by sexual and gender minorities in the context of the SDGs. The paper also discusses promising policy and programme approaches to protect the human rights of sexual and gender minorities and strengthen their inclusion in sustainable development, with attention to the potential role of philanthropies, development assistance providers and United Nations development system. See more via the UNDP
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY | SEXUAL AND GENDER MINORITIES AND THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS
In September 2015, United Nations General Assembly Resolution 70/1 outlined the Sustainable Development Goals, or SDGs - a set of 17 goals and 169 targets to advance sustainable development by 2030. The resolution included a “pledge that no one will be left behind” and commitments to prioritize the poorest and most marginalized. This report presents evidence that sexual and gender minorities are often among the most marginalized and, as such, require specific inclusion and attention in order to drive forward the vision of the SDGs. The report also outlines promising policy and programme approaches that seek to include sexual and gender minorities more fully in sustainable development efforts, with attention to the potential role of philanthropies, development assistance providers and the United Nations development system.
The SDGs draw attention to certain populations that are often marginalized or left behind, noting the need for non-discrimination and the importance of inclusion regardless of “race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, disability” as well as “other status.” While, there is no explicit attention to sexual and gender minorities1 in the official SDG declaration, there is ample room to include them in SDG-related actions, given the attention to “sex”, “other status” and the “marginalized.” As with concepts of race, colour and disability, it is not straightforward to precisely define and therefore estimate the population size of sexual and gender minorities. But as with those other concepts, real or perceived sexual or gender minority status is strongly associated with discrimination and marginalization.
This report draws on a review of over 500 peer-reviewed and grey literature publications, mostly in English, semi-structured interviews with 40 people involved in global and regional efforts to understand and address links between sexual and gender minorities and the SDGs and semi-structured interviews with over 150 people involved in such work in three countries: India, Kenya and South Africa. The authors also benefitted from organizing and/or attending relevant events and consultations at country level.
The SDG themes that were found to be most strongly associated with sexual and gender minorities are poverty, health, education, gender equality, violence, social and political inclusion, access to justice and non-discriminatory laws, data and international cooperation. Each of these issues influences the others, and there are also significant links to other challenges addressed by the SDGs, such as housing, inclusive cities, decent work and economic growth.
“Jeffrey O’Malley et al. Sexual and gender minorities and the Sustainable Development Goals, United Nations Development Programme, 2018.”
The path forward: International efforts to support inclusion of sexual and gender minorities in national efforts to achieve the sustainable development goals
In country-level interviews in Kenya, India and South Africa, respondents were asked about the positive and negative impacts of international cooperation activities designed to promote and protect LGBTI rights and support LGBTI inclusion in development. Overwhelmingly, such efforts were welcomed by community members and activists, albeit while noting the importance of donors and other international cooperation actors being sensitive and responsive to guidance from local LGBTI communities.
Public and private sector donors, multilateral agencies and others who influence these policies and practices should consider prioritizing the actions below.
Linking and learning from sexual and gender minorities in developing and middle-income countries, develop country-specific strategies, particularly concerning priority issues and the risks and benefits of more visible and more discrete approaches to partnership.
When it is safe to do so, highlight success stories regarding both inclusion of sexual and gender minorities and the association of sexual and gender minority inclusion with benefits to broader populations.
Dramatically increase international funding available to sexual and gender minority issues in developing and middle-income countries, balancing across human rights, health, gender-based violence and gender equality, poverty, education, social inclusion, legal advocacy and other priorities.
Ensure that sexual and gender diversity is fully integrated into health, development and gender equality strategies, including by developing and using sexual and gender minority-related indicators in programme monitoring and evaluation.
Expand actions by and through the United Nations development system, given the system’s capacity to convene a wide range of actors and to be respected as a neutral and supportive partner to country’s development efforts.
Hold the United Nations system to account for its action and inaction in this area, according to each agency’s mandate.
Further develop supportive regional and international policy guidance and precedents by supporting NGO and human rights engagement with regional economic commissions, regional human rights bodies, the Human Rights Council and similar bodies.
Identify and catalyze new efforts to leverage private sector funding of sexual and gender minority social inclusion, including for example through partnerships with the tourism industry in the Caribbean and telecoms and media companies in Africa.
Support innovative approaches to strengthening capacity of individual activists, sexual and gender minority NGOs and community-based organizations and relevant networks in developing and middle-income countries, including through coaching, training and mentorship programmes, South-South exchange and use of host NGOs for fragile or emerging groups.
Learn about and improve approaches to sexual and gender minority -related funding by participating in and expanding networks of relevant individuals in donor agencies and international cooperation agencies, such as the Global Philanthropy Project.