The Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-Being for All

Putting health at the centre of the Sustainable Development Agenda

Global Leaders at Joint Keynote launching the Global Action Plan

Download: Towards a Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-Being for All (WHO, 2018)

The ultimate success of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be measured by their impact on the prosperity and well-being of people and the planet, and by the extent to which no one is left behind. Three years since their launch, it is clear that the pace of progress will have to be accelerated if the SDGs are to be achieved by 2030. Relevant actors at the global, regional, national and local levels need to unite to realise their historic commitment to health and well-being for all.

Recognising this challenge, Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, Ghana’s president, Nana Akufo-Addo, and Norway’s prime minister, Erna Solberg, wrote a joint letter to the Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, requesting that he lead the development of a Global Action Plan for Health and Wellbeing for All. In consultation with 10 other United Nations organisations active in global health, WHO took up the challenge. A framework for this Action Plan was presented by Dr Tedros at the World Health Summit and the Grand Challenges conference in Berlin on 16 October 2018.

The German Federal Ministry of Health (BMG) and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) are jointly committed to supporting the further elaboration and implementation of the Global Action Plan by involving stakeholders from civil society, public and private sectors to create broad ownership, particularly in partner countries of German development cooperation.

A joint keynote event in support of the Global Action Plan

On 16 October 2018 about 1000 World Health Summit participants joined a similar number of delegates at the Grand Challenges conference at Berlin’s Estrel Hotel for a joint keynote address by Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Dr Tedros, Director General of the WHO, Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway, and Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany.

Bill Gates focused his comments on the importance of innovation: ‘We need science and we need tools, he said. ‘But the tools we have today are not enough to face the challenges of the future. This makes the work of innovation more critical than ever.’ He also praised the optimism and commitment of leaders like Erna Solberg and Angela Merkel who are stepping up and joining forces with others in support of the SDGs.

Chancellor Merkel and Dr Tedros

Dr Tedros picked up on these themes, noting the unprecedented commitment which the Global Action Plan represents and the fact that it is bringing the global health community together in a new way. ‘It’s a great pleasure to see so many of us united in hope that health becomes the platform for sustainable development, for ending poverty and for peaceful and inclusive societies.’

Erna Solberg spoke next, expressing hope that the Global Action Plan ‘will be a guide and inspiration for other SDG efforts. It acknowledges that reaching health-related goals requires action across sector boundaries, because everything is connected with everything else.’ She went on to note that the ‘SDGs are ambitious, but reaching them is possible.’

In her comments, Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, underscored the necessity of moving forward together to tackle the great challenges of our time. ‘In times in which the principle of multilateralism is under pressure and put to the test, it is more important than ever that we come together to work for health, against pandemics, for a clean environment and for sufficient nutrition for all.’ This sentiment clearly resonated with the WHS and Grand Challenges participants who had gathered in the hotel atrium. The Chancellor’s description of the realisation of the right to health and well-being as a ‘task for humanity’ spoke to both the importance of their efforts and to the need to pursue them collaboratively.

October 2018

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