Adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development - Three years on

4 year old Merveille underwent cataract surgery at CBM's partner - the Acha Eye Hospital in Cameroon. She was born with congenital bilateral cataracts. At Acha Eye Hospital, she has also been receiving other medical care and community rehabilitation.

Three years after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, more systematic efforts need to be made to realise the commitment to leave no one behind.

Looking back

September 25, 2018, marks the third anniversary of the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Three years ago the international community agreed, for the first time in history, on an ambitious, comprehensive and universal framework to eradicate poverty, to reduce inequalities and to protect the planet. This agreement is in itself remarkable, as it combines, in an unprecedented way the development, human rights, economic, social and environmental agenda. In this sense, the 2030 Agenda constitutes a response to some of the most pressing global challenges in which climate change, growing inequalities and demographic developments are but a few examples. When adopting the 2030 Agenda, global leaders made a commitment to all people everywhere to leave no one behind. That pledge is particularly relevant for the one billion persons with disabilities worldwide, especially those living in developing countries due to the multiple challenges to implement the rights of persons with disabilities. The 2030 Agenda is the first international development framework that recognises the need to work together in decision-making processes, implementation and monitoring systems, including representative organisations to include all persons.

Since the adoption of the Agenda, many efforts have been carried out to kick-start and realize the ambitions of the implementation, including:

  • agreeing on a global indicator framework to measure progress,
  • developing national implementation plans,
  • following up on the Financing for Development Agenda to raise the needed funds for implementation,
  • identifying data needs and gaps, and
  • setting up reporting mechanisms through the High-level Political Forum and regional bodies to ensure progress is being reported and measured.

What has been achieved on the inclusion of persons with disabilities?

While overall progress in implementing the 2030 Agenda varies from country to country and Goal to Goal, the same goes for the inclusion of persons with disabilities. However, there are many encouraging signs regarding the commitment to leave no one behind from the international community, such as: 

  • working with national and international agencies to develop indicators concretising the leave-no-one-behind principle,
  • adopting, under the leadership of the OECD, a disability marker monitoring the inclusion of disability in international cooperation,
  • growing attention to persons with disabilities, as evidenced in country reports and political interventions, witnessed again at the 2018 High-level Political Forum, and 
  • including  references to persons with disabilities in the Financing for Development Forum outcome document, a critical tool to fund the implementation of the ambitious 2030 Agenda.


Moving forward

CBM welcomes all these efforts and wishes to see them amplified and systematised across all areas of implementation around the globe. More attention should be paid to the collection of data disaggregated by disability since this is a precondition for designing good policies, programmes and implementation plans.   

“We will play our part in making inclusion of persons with disabilities a reality through successful implementation of the 2030 Agenda,” said CBM’s International Director David Bainbridge on the occasion of the third anniversary of the adoption of the SDGs. “In particular, we will support efforts to include the voice of persons with disabilities in key national and international processes so that persons with disabilities are really at the heart of the Agenda.” he added.