Keeping Global Health Relevant As Part Of Sustainable Development Agenda

“In 2012 there will be a major strategic shift in global health, away from development and towards sustainability,” a Lancet editorial states. “Since 2000, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), driven by a macroeconomic diagnosis of global poverty, have focused on investment in a small number of diseases as the most effective approach to decrease poverty, … [b]ut this approach is now delivering diminishing returns,” because of emerging challenges such as non-communicable diseases (NCDs), climate change, and financial security, as well as a heightened focus on integration and accountability, the editorial says.

“All these issues will come into sharp focus later this year at Rio+20, the U.N. Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (June 20-22),” the editorial states, noting that the draft outcome document will not contain legally binding agreements and “[d]isappointingly, health is hardly mentioned in this draft.” Therefore, “[w]e need to make a strong case for health as part of sustainable development and future sustainable development goals — to protect the gains of the past decade and ensure that the unfinished agenda of the past decade is continued,” the editorial states, concluding, “We must identify the lessons learned from the MDGs, as well as bringing to the fore evidence for new threats and emerging challenges” (1/21).