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BMJ Opinion Pieces Discuss Value Of Multisectoral Collaboration In Health, SDGs

The BMJ: Multisectoral collaboration for health and sustainable development
Wendy J. Graham, professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and colleagues

“…[M]uch of the power of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is in the 17th goal: ‘partnerships for the goals.’ This final goal could easily be overlooked by cynics as an administrative add-on, aiming merely to scoop up financing. It is here, however, that the goals’ power is hidden within broad indicators such as ‘policy coherence’ and ‘multistakeholder partnerships.’ … This week, The BMJ publishes a series of articles [involving 12 country case studies] that attempt to unpick how best to work across sectors to achieve better health and sustainable development. … But let’s be clear, the learning environment in which knowledge was developed and shared across sectors, as described in the 12 country case studies, is not easy to create or sustain. … One particular tension … is the challenge of asking leaders to judge and report on the success of their own initiatives. … In the drive for ‘progress,’ … there is often pressure to suppress key lessons on what has not worked. … But all failures are opportunities to learn … We call upon the diverse communities in the readership of The BMJ and those attending the [Partners’ Forum in New Delhi in December 2018] to push for more effective and open communication, not just on successes but also on the ‘heroic failures’ in health and development — namely, those other opportunities from which we must learn” (12/7).

BMJ Blog: To achieve the SDG health goals we need to recognize the goals and outcomes of other sectors
Tobias Alfvén, associate professor in global child health at the Department of Public Health Sciences at Karolinska Institutet; Agnes Binagwaho, vice chancellor of the University of Global Health Equity, senior lecturer in the department of global health and social medicine at Harvard Medical School; and Måns Nilsson, executive director of Stockholm Environmental Institute

“Since the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were introduced in September 2015, we have read the phrase ‘we cannot continue with business as usual’ many times. It is now common to hear calls to transform the way we work by taking an integrated approach and pursue multisectoral partnerships. However, it is still rare for proponents to explain how collaboration between different sectors can happen or what such collaboration looks like in practice. It is therefore inspiring to read the article by Shyama Kuruvilla and colleagues that explores how health and development programs have navigated the challenges of multisectoral collaboration. … This is what the SDGs are about; a coherent and integrated approach to resolve some of the world’s major development challenges across environmental, social, economic, and institutional domains. To make sense of this, and to foster multisectoral collaboration, we need a structured way of identifying interactions between sectors. … To make this approach work, and avoid only ad-hoc successes, it should include the mapping of interactions and structuring collaboration as part of the institutional procedures of decision making — not only national but also at local, district, and regional levels and wherever the planning, resourcing, and management of health care systems take place” (12/7).