Medellin, Colombia, 1 December 2015 (PAHO/ WHO) — The Pan American Health Organization/ World Health Organization (PAHO/ WHO) recently held a regional workshop in Medellin, Colombia, to strengthen capacities in the Latin American and Caribbean health sector with a view to achieving the health-related Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) by 2030.
The workshop also helped further the preparation of a regional road map for implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development from a health perspective, and to launch the Pan American Network for Solutions in Sustainable Development and Health Equity, a discussion and virtual collaboration forum aimed at advancing the new development agenda.
"The new global agenda will require an integrated approach to sustainable development and joint action at all levels to face the challenges of our times," said PAHO Director, Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, during the workshop in Medellin. "The general imperative is to leave no one behind and to tackle inequalities."
During the event, representatives from more than 15 countries discussed tools to implement the new global development agenda, shared success stories, and evaluated progress in improving health equity within the framework of the social determinants of health.
They also identified opportunities to educate and advocate for sustainable development and health equity, such as open online courses, and agreed on the need to promote "Health in All Policies," an integrated and multisectoral strategy to address inequities.
"Our efforts to achieve the human development goals should be innovative, sustainable, and collaborative," said PAHO/WHO Assistant Director Francisco Becerra. "A department, organization, or specific sector cannot reach the SDGs on its own. Instead, we have to work hand-in-hand with others to ensure that all our populations have the same opportunities for a long and healthy life."
Some countries of the Americas, including Argentina, Barbados, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico and Paraguay, are comparing their national health programs and policies with the SDGs in order to create a baseline to implement the new agenda. PAHO/WHO is collaborating with them and offering its support to strengthen their capacities in this regard.
The new post-2015 development agenda was endorsed by the United Nations General Assembly in September of this year. The SDGs seek to eradicate poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of this new agenda. Ensuring a healthy life and promoting well-being——indispensable for an equitable and more sustainable world——is the third of the 17 goals; however, the other SDGs also contribute to this goal.
The workshop was held on 30 November, prior to the 3rd Regional Forum on Urban Health in the Americas, a joint initiative of the City of Medellín, the Ministry of Health and Social Protection (MSPS) of Colombia, and PAHO/WHO. The workshop was an opportunity to share experiences and knowledge to improve health and maintain well-being in urban settings, in light of the challenges of the Region's political, social, and cultural contexts.
The forum focused on promoting and enriching the discussion of health determinants from the perspective of "Health in All Policies," through governance that reduces inequality and that promotes the equitable development of individuals.