BRAC International executive director Shameran Abed called upon governments and the international community to invest in evidence-based approaches at scale to get the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) back on track, at the 5th United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5) in Doha.

Abed, who was a lead discussant at the first High-level Thematic Roundtable of the conference, "Investing in people in least developed countries to leave no one behind,” co-chaired by Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, president of Malawi, and Andrzej Duda, president of Poland, spoke on the urgency and opportunity to renew commitment to the SDGs and the promise of leaving no one behind.

Abed said that while interlocking crises like Covid-19, climate change and conflict may make the eradication of poverty seem more challenging than ever before, there are evidence-based programmes that can pull people out of extreme poverty successfully and sustainably, says a press release.

He spoke about BRAC’s Ultra-Poor Graduation (UPG) approach, which combines big push investment in the poorest household with targeted wraparound services, as one such initiative, noting the extensive research demonstrating the programme’s effectiveness in addressing both social and economic vulnerabilities.

“What we need to do is stop tinkering around the edges,” he stated, calling for greater global political will, action and investment to massively scale evidence-based initiatives to deliver on the promise made at the start of the Sustainable Development Goals.

“Those living in the harshest forms of poverty demand nothing less of us,” he stressed.

His comments followed a keynote address by Tarja Kaarina Halonen, former president of Finland, and remarks from panelists including Achim Steiner, administrator of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Victoria Kwakwa, vice president for Eastern and Southern Africa at the World Bank.

Heads of governments, ministers and senior officials from 19 countries participated during the open debate at the Roundtable.