Better, equitable and sustainable health and wellbeing for all ages. Report of the First Meeting of the Health and SDGs Expert Working Group (2017)



17–19 January 2017, Venice, Italy

The first meeting of the Health and SDGs Expert Working Group was held at the WHO European Office for Investment for Health and Development in Venice, Italy, on 17–19 January 2017. The purpose of the meeting was to support the WHO Secretariat in writing and revising the draft roadmap: Health and well-being: roadmap to support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the WHO European Region, building on the European Health 2020 policy framework.

Dr Piroska Östlin, Director of WHO Regional Office for Europe, opened and chaired the meeting. She welcomed participants and highlighted the importance of both the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the role of WHO in supporting Member States in implementing the 2030 Agenda in the WHO European Region. At the meeting, the following themes were discussed, building on a draft document that was shared with participants: the role of WHO in implementing the United Nations 2030 Agenda and the related SDGs, the structure of the roadmap itself and various technical and thematic areas relevant to the roadmap, including country needs in terms of SDG implementaion; monitoring and reporting; noncommunicable disease (NCD) and risk factors; equity, gender and human rights; health systems and national health policies; communicable diseases; environment and health; governance; local, subnational, regional and specific groups; health financing and investment for health; and advocacy, building capacity and institutional development.

The main conclusions of the meeting related to the draft roadmap were that the draft provided a strong foundation to the process and covered all relevant thematic areas. However, main efforts should concentrate on streamlining it and prioritizing its content. A separate document should be prepared on the methods of implementation. The language used is incredibly important for the effectiveness of the roadmap.