Washington, DC, October 1, 2014 (PAHO/WHO) - Health authorities of the Americas agreed today on the need to ensure that health is at the center of the sustainable development agenda following 2015, when the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) adopted by countries within the United Nations expire.
During the 53rd Directing Council of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), Roberto Dondisch, director general for global issues of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico, presented the current status of the post-2015 agenda and said that "health is central to achieving true development."
"We cannot think of development that is not sustainable these days," he said, adding that "we seek development centered on people, with people at the center of all the actions taken by the State and development workers."
The new sustainable development objectives, which will be adopted at a summit of heads of State in September 2015, have a social and economic inclusion perspective, said Dondisch. "We cannot keep thinking about development as something that divides; we must ensure opportunities for all, both between countries and within them."
During three round tables, delegates from the countries of the region examined 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for 2016-2030 that would give continuity to the eight MDGs. The countries also analyzed their implications for health systems in the region, in addition to the mechanisms that could facilitate their implementation. "Ensure healthy lives and promote wellbeing for all at all ages," is the SDG linked to health.
That goal has nine targets: reduce maternal mortality; end preventable deaths of newborns and under-5 children; end the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases; reduce by one third the premature mortality from noncommunicable diseases; strengthen the prevention and treatment of substance abuse; halve global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents; ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health; achieve universal health coverage; and reduce the number of deaths and illness from hazardouse chemicals and pollution.
Likewise, health has been considered a central component of many of the other 16 proposed sustainable development goals and an important part of promoting intersectoral collaboration.
Health authorities in the region agreed that health is central to sustainable development and may be a good indicator of the progress made.