People who are most marginalised need to participate in the monitoring and accountability of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) if the ‘leave no-one behind’ ambition is to be met. Participatory accountability is necessary for their realities to be understood and for their voices to be heard.
This can be achieved through processes that both enable personal empowerment, collective identity building and knowledge of rights, and support interest in and capabilities for political engagement. Knowledge generated by people in the margins must complement statistical data in order to build a deeper understanding of the issues that perpetuate poverty and inequality and how to address them.
People’s knowledge and collective action for accountability needs to be joined with efforts by national governments, civil society organisations, the UN and other multilateral institutions.