Welcome to the United Nations

Areas of Work: Social inclusion

UN Photo/Mark Garten

The pledge to “leave no one behind” and to endeavor to reach those furthest behind first is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Leaving no one behind requires social inclusion, which entails ensuring the visibility of those social groups that are most at risk of being excluded. Inclusive institutions and participatory decision-making processes at all levels of policy formulation, as well as available and accurate data on these social groups, are essential to ensure social inclusion.



UN DESA has unique global mandates on groups of people that have traditionally been left behind (indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, older persons and youth), as well as issues (families, cooperatives and sports for peace and development) and themes (eradicating poverty, promoting employment and decent jobs, fostering inclusion and participation, and reducing inequalities).

UN DESA supports key intergovernmental processes and mechanisms relating to social development, including the 2nd and 3rd Committees of the General Assembly, the Commission for Social Development (CSocD), the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, and the Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing . It also serves as a thought leader on critical social development topics through its cutting-edge research, analysis and policy guidance, including the World Social Report, World Youth Report, and the State of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.

UN DESA further provides technical cooperation and capacity development to support the translation of relevant international norms into policy and practice at regional, national and sub-national levels. Such efforts are carried out on the basis of relevant norms and agreements, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Political Declaration and the Madrid Plan of Action on Ageing, and the United Nations Principles for Older Persons.

HOW – Delivery Modalities and Resources

UN DESA leverages its expertise and tools to transfer knowledge and support Member States and UNCTs to raise awareness and build country level capacity for the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of inclusive social policies, including social protection policies and policies to advance the use of sport for development and peace. Support is provided through knowledge platforms; technical advisory services; and longer-term capacity development support for Member States.

Key tools and resources to raise awareness and build capacity to Leave No One Behind:



Indigenous Peoples

  • Numerous Training Modules on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples targeting Governments, Parliamentarians, UNCTs and a training module for facilitators. UN DESA Division for Inclusive Social Development (DISD)’s website also gathers training materials, including several toolkits, videos and webinars prepared by other UN entities);
  • Implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: Handbook for Parliamentarians (available in English, French, Russian, Spanish);
  • Forthcoming: Guidelines on the Development of National Action Plans for the Implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (currently being finalized by DISD and OHCHR).


 Social Protection

  • Webinar on promoting social inclusion through social protection.

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