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In September 2015, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030 Agenda) was adopted by 193 UN Member States. Building upon the achievements of the Millennium Development Goals, the agenda will provide a central framework for international cooperation for the next 15 years. The commitment to ‘leave no one behind’ is a key feature of the 2030 Agenda and expresses the standard that no goal should be considered to be met unless it is met for everyone. The process of achieving the agendas goals is meant to be inclusive, people-centered, gender-sensitive, respect human rights and have a particular focus on ‘the poorest, most vulnerable and those furthest behind’ including children, youth, people with disabilities, people living with HIV/AIDS, older persons, indigenous people, refugees and internally displaces persons and migrants.

Addressing the ‘leave no one behind principle’, the research network focuses on the inclusion of particularly vulnerable groups and opportunities for participation in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field. Based on a twin-track approach, the research network looks at social and physical barriers to participation as well as individual and group-specific needs.

The research network conducts basic as well as applied research. Research activities build on theories of social protection and their implementation through social policy instruments and social services and address the contribution of those for ensuring equal realisation and participation opportunities. In this context, research and project activities of the network specifically focus on stakeholders, structures and planning processes on local level while taking into account the interplay between local, regional, national and international levels. In this context, local authorities’ interaction with both public and private stakeholders of the different fields is taken into account.