Cross-sectoral toolkit to guide Member States along SDG roadmap
A technical meeting successfully advanced the development of a toolkit for Member States that will guide activities towards achieving health, equity and well-being for all at all ages within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The 2-day meeting took place in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 18–19 January 2018.
European Member States endorsed the Roadmap to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, building on Health 2020, the European policy for health and well-being at the 67th session of the WHO Regional Committee for Europe in September 2017. Member States are now in a strong and unique position to effectively implement the 2030 Agenda.
The meeting in Copenhagen illustrated how the Roadmap can be a catalyst for transformative change within public health and health systems in the WHO European Region beyond 2020. It involved technical experts from a variety of sectors, including national and subnational governments, public health institutions, academia and civil society.
“It is like playing an instrument in an orchestra,” explained Dr Piroska Östlin, Director of the Division of Policy and Governance for Health and Well-being at WHO/Europe. “Each of us has an important and unique role to play. But we can only make a change – in the tempo, for example – if we are playing together in harmony and in unison.”
Toolkit to help make SDGs a reality at country level
At the meeting, the experts offered important technical considerations for the tool’s development and use. It will cover key areas including health systems, gender and human rights, governance, national health policies, environment and health, communication, health emergencies, public health, and local and regional implementation mechanisms.
“The importance of considering cross-cutting issues and ensuring coherent action was emphasized, whether this is related to human rights, gender or governance,” said Dr Bettina Menne, WHO Coordinator for Health and Development.
The experts proposed a creative approach that defines how to best use the technical tools already available in new ways and new contexts, and encourages collaboration and innovation to develop new resources and tools. This will ensure that Member States have everything they need to make the SDGs a reality.
The experts also showcased their current work on existing or forthcoming tools focused on:
- an analysis of quantitative progress on health-related SDG indicators;
- an assessment of voluntary national reviews and their alignment with the Roadmap;
- concrete country examples of implementation;
- European Union developments;
- youth engagement;
- action on health in all SDGs and health-related targets; and
- health systems strengthening in the SDG era.
By the end of the meeting, the experts had agreed on the toolkit’s outline, key audience and main content, and discussed next steps. The toolkit will be available for the 68th session of the Regional Committee in September 2018 as a background resource.