Nations Must Make Commitments To Improving Health, Reaching For Sustainable Development

Devex: Opinion: Leading from the top to promote health and sustainable development
Margaret Chan, WHO director general

“Next week, more than 1,000 global leaders in politics, health, and development will meet at the Global Conference on Health Promotion in Shanghai to underscore the links between health and sustainable development, and to chart a joint way to progress on both. … It comes at a moment when increasing evidence shows that reshaping unhealthy environments does more to promote health than campaigns that try to persuade changes using health messages alone. And when it is abundantly clear that leadership across government ministries is key to making that reshaping happen. … Time and again we see that, at national and municipal levels, legislative and fiscal measures are among the most effective interventions to promote health, even though they often face stiff and well-funded resistance from powerful industries. … In the same vein, governments must hold steadfast to their commitments to address climate change. … They must also, if they are to fulfill their commitments under the Sustainable Development Goals, take steps to reach the inclusion of a target for reaching universal health coverage. … None of this is easy. But the fact that so many high-level government representatives have accepted the invitation to the Shanghai conference encourages me that a growing number of countries are ready to take up the twin challenge…” (11/17).

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