Summer Reading: Sustainable Development Goals

As a keen observer of global health trends, I have been following recent discussion about the formal conclusion of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) this year and the launch of a new era framed by Sustainable Development Goals. National governments, international agencies, the private sector and civil society organizations have participated in drafting the new goals in advance of the UN Summit in September 2015.

Schoolchildren in Punjab, India

Known as the Post-2015 Development Agenda, it will be a single development framework to encompass three dimensions: social, economic and environmental goals. This proposed new Agenda with 17 goals builds on important work over the past decade on climate change, global financing for development and social determinants of health, among many other major issues. See the UN Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform for background documents and media releases.

Commentaries by some organizations and individuals have highlighted concerns about gaps in the framework and lack of implementation strategies; however, it’s anticipated that this final draft will be endorsed after years of political negotiations to arrive at this stage. It’s worth noting that a technical review of the 169 targets is underway by teams of experts.

All 17 goals relate to better health in the broadest sense; there are also specific health goals and targets worth a close review. The push for universal health coverage–the topic of recent global health systems efforts–is a major focus in the new framework.

In this final year of the MDGs, the World Health Organization issued a fact sheet in May 2015 with an overview of results on each of the health-related goals and targets. The fact sheet highlights achievements in specific targets for reducing child mortality; improving maternal health; combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; improving access to safe drinking water and sanitation; and provision of access to affordable essential medicines in developing countries.

The final draft document developed in preparation for the September Summit is entitled Transforming our World: The 2030 Agenda for Global Action:

7603Final draft outcome document UN Sept Summit w letter_08072015

Posted by Nora Whyte

July 16, 2015