First meeting of the Health and SDGs Expert Working Group provides input to roadmap for health and sustainable development in the Region

In 2016, countries of the WHO European Region recognized that the Health 2020 policy framework and related World Health Assembly and Regional Committee resolutions provide a strong foundation upon which to position health at the centre of initiatives to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and achieve its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The WHO Regional Committee for Europe also endorsed the development of a roadmap to support countries in this endeavour.

On 17–19 January 2017, WHO/Europe convened the first meeting of the Health and SDGs Expert Working Group with the aim of supporting the WHO Secretariat in drafting the roadmap. The meeting was held at the WHO European Office for Investment for Health and Development in Venice, Italy.

Participants highlighted the importance of the SDGs in achieving health and well-being, and the paradigm shift required to reach the SDG targets. Such a shift needs to focus particularly on: governance and intersectoral action for health; leaving no one behind; the alignment of national development and health policies, as well as policy coherence across multiple SDGs; and on the means of implementation. The latter includes partnerships, sustainable financing, research and innovation, and enhanced monitoring and accountability.

The draft roadmap will be made available online for consultation by Member States in the Region in mid-February 2017. The roadmap will be presented for endorsement at the next session of the Regional Committee in September 2017.