World leaders agree to promote health to achieve Sustainable Development Goals

Leaders of governments and United Nations organizations, city leaders and health experts from around the world today made 2 historic commitments to promote public health and eradicate poverty.

the 9th World Conference on Health Promotion, co-hosted by WHO and the National Health and Family Planning Commission of the People’s Republic of China in Shanghai from 21 to 24 November, agreed:

  • The Shanghai Declaration on Health Promotion, which is committed to making bold political choices for health, emphasizing the links between health and well-being and the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Shanghai Healthy City Mayors Consensus, which contains a commitment from more than 100 mayors to advance health through better management of urban environments.

According to WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan, these commitments are underpinned by the need for government action that protects people from health risks, provides access to healthy choices and raises awareness about how to be. and stay healthy.

Dr Chan adds: “Legislation and fiscal measures are among the most effective interventions that governments – national and municipal – can take to promote the health of their citizens, from tobacco control and the taxation of sugary drinks to the ensuring that people can breathe clean air, cycle home safely and walk to school or work without fear of violence.”

The statement

The Declaration emphasizes the need for people to be able to control their own health – to be able to make healthy lifestyle choices. Noting the need for political action in many different sectors and regions, it highlights the role of good governance and health literacy in improving health, as well as the essential role played by municipal authorities. and communities.

Governance-related commitments include protecting health through public policy, strengthening legislation, regulation and taxation of unhealthy products, and implementing fiscal policies to enable new investments in health. health and well-being. The Declaration also highlights the importance of universal health coverage and the need to better address cross-border health issues.

Health literacy commitments include developing national and local strategies to improve citizens’ awareness of how to live healthy lives and increase citizens’ ability to control their own health and its determinants by harnessing the power of digital technology. The Declaration also commits to ensuring that environments promote healthy consumer choices, for example through pricing policies, transparent information and clear labelling.

The Declaration stresses the need for healthy urban policies that promote social inclusion, issues that are further reinforced in the consensus of mayors.

Consensus of mayors

Cities are already home to more than 50% of the world’s population, and this percentage is expected to reach two-thirds by 2030, making it a particularly high priority. The Mayors’ Consensus listed 10 areas of action that city leaders attending the conference will incorporate into their cities’ plans to implement the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Key areas include pollution control, gender-based violence, child development and banning smoking in cities.

The mayors agreed to integrate health as a central consideration in all city policies; promote community engagement across multiple platforms, including schools, workplaces, and modern technology, to advance health; and to reorient municipal health and social services towards equity and universal health coverage.

Editor’s note

The Shanghai event marks the 30th anniversary of the first global conference, held in Canada, which resulted in the historic Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion. The Ottawa Charter made clear the need for political commitment, action and investment to address health and equity, and that the health sector alone could not ensure that people reach the highest level of health.

More than 1,000 people are attending the Shanghai Conference, including the Chinese premier, more than 40 ministers of health and other sectors, heads of five UN agencies and more than 100 city mayors. Hundreds of international health experts also participate in events covering a wide range of topics.

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