Health and development cannot be separated in post-2015 goals

16 Jan 2013

For example tobacco use, the second leading health risk factor globally, is perpetuated by a myriad of factors, including globalization and efforts directed towards economic growth. At the same time, it represents a source of health and economic inequities and an imminent obstacle to sustainable development.

Tobacco use undermines sustainable development by increasing absenteeism, killing workers during their most productive years, and diverting resources from education and food to tobacco multinationals. Hence, in areas such as finance, trade or agriculture – to name a few – health should not be an after-thought but rather an integral part of policies to promote sustainable development.

The post-2015 development framework that replaces the MDGs must ensure that improving health is also an objective for actors outside of the health sector, argues FCA’s submission.

FCA also suggests that public health policy development and implementation must be stepped up. In the past 12 years, national development strategies have been driven by the MDGs, which are prone to be addressed through health-care interventions rather than via the development and enforcement of public health policies, such as those required by the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

A legally binding and widely accepted framework for multi-sectoral action on tobacco control, the FCTC was adopted a decade ago and has 176 Parties. However, its implementation remains significantly under-resourced.

FCA argues that one of the post-2015 development objectives should be to accelerate implementation of the FCTC.

The views of civil society, as well as those of Member States and private sector partners, are being collected in preparation of a high-level meeting on the post-MDG goals. It will take place March 5-6 in Botswana, and is jointly convened by governments of Botswana and Sweden and supported by WHO and UNICEF.

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