While the sustainable development goals and their anchoring promise to “leave no one behind” may feel increasingly out of reach amid the COVID-19 pandemic, rising poverty, food shortages, armed conflict, natural disasters, and other crises, there is still reason for optimism when we look at the ground-level innovations and efforts of many actors on the frontlines of tackling extreme poverty and deprivation.
One organization that has had immense impact over many years is BRAC, originally launched in 1972 as the Bangladesh Rehabilitation Assistance Committee. In a recent book, “Hope Over Fate: Fazle Hasan Abed and the Science of Ending Global Poverty,” and in an accompanying Brookings blog post, author Scott MacMillan describes the life of BRAC founder Sir Fazle Hasan Abed and the people whose lives BRAC has touched over the years.
To help honor Abed’s legacy and elevate the ongoing importance of the “Leave No One Behind” policy agenda, the Center for Sustainable Development (CSD) at Brookings convened a public panel discussion on Thursday, October 6. The event opened with remarks by Alexia Latortue (assistant secretary for international trade and development, U.S. Treasury) and CSD Director and Senior Fellow John W. McArthur. Author Scott MacMillan discussed key insights from his book, followed by a panel discussion and audience Q&A with distinguished panelists Elizabeth Cousens (president and CEO of the UN Foundation), and CSD Senior Fellow Homi Kharas, moderated by John W. McArthur.