Leaving no one behind” is above all ensuring the protection of the human rights of the most vulnerable. People left behind are those most at risk of not enjoying their civil, cultural, economic, political or social rights. Differently put, being left without education, shelter, social protection, security of tenure, and basic services is a human rights violation. Leaving no one behind involves reaching the most underprivileged,- to “reach the furthest behind first” – but also to combat discrimination and rising inequalities within a country and their root causes. In this regard, it is important to note that the pledge to leave no one behind was taken unanimously by all UN Member States when they adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Beyond an idea, leaving no one behind is thus an obligation that befalls on local, national and international stakeholders. In most reconstruction plans and actions, the overarching approach is one focused on physical reconstruction and on buildings’ renovation and repair, whereas what is foremost required is a people-centered process of recovery: a holistic approach that prioritizes social, economic and spatial infrastructures of exchange and support, both formal and informal, both tangible and intangible, especially among the most vulnerable groups who are at the most risk of being left behind, and that recognizes the necessity of taking into consideration sustainable management of the environment.

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