Today at the United Nations General Assembly, 12 multilateral agencies launched a joint plan to better support countries over the next 10 years to accelerate progress towards the health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Developed over 18 months, Stronger Collaboration, Better Health: Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being for All outlines how a dozen multilateral health, development and humanitarian agencies will collaborate to be more efficient and provide more streamlined support to countries to deliver universal health coverage and achieve the health-related SDG targets.
Healthy people are essential for sustainable development and for ending poverty, promoting peaceful and inclusive societies as well as protecting the environment. Over the last few decades, significant gains have been made in key areas of health, but the 2030 targets will not be met without redoubled efforts.
“The plan is called, ‘Stronger Collaboration, Better Health’ for a reason,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. “Although collaboration is the path, impact is the destination. The release of this plan is the beginning, not the end, of that path.”
Universal health coverage is key to meeting the health-related goals and addressing health inequities. If trends continue, only up to 5 billion of the world’s population will be covered by essential health services in 2030, as highlighted in the Universal Health Coverage: Global Monitoring Report, released last week by WHO. To leave no one behind, countries need to address health inequities. Improved collaboration and coordination can help countries tackle complex health challenges and bring innovative solutions.
Together, the 12 agencies contribute nearly one-third of all development assistance to health. Under the Global Action Plan, the agencies commit to strengthening their collaboration to:
Engage with countries better to identify priorities, plan and implement together;
Accelerate progress in countries through joint actions under 7 accelerator themes, which represent common challenges for many countries and where the agencies’ mandates, expertise and resources offer solutions, namely: 1) Primary health care 2) Sustainable health financing 3) Community and civil society engagement 4) Determinants of health 5) Innovative programming in fragile and vulnerable settings and for disease outbreak responses 6) Research and development, innovation and access, and 7) Data and digital health. They will also work together to advance gender equality and support the delivery of global public goods;
Align by harmonizing their operational and financial strategies and policies in support of countries to increase efficiency and reduce the burden on countries; and
Account, by reviewing progress and learning together to enhance shared accountability.
Governments are setting priorities, developing implementation plans and intensifying efforts to achieve the health-related SDG targets. Demand from countries for the Global Action Plan is growing. “Achieving the health-related SDG goals is key for Nepal. Strengthening primary health care and enhancing data utilization for evidence-based planning and decision-
making are two accelerators that will help bring us closer to achieving the SDG goals,” said Deputy Prime Minister of Nepal, Mr Upendra Yadav.
Through the Global Action Plan, the agencies will help countries deliver on international commitments in addition to the SDGs, such as those made in Astana on primary health care and at the UN General Assembly High-level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage this week in New York.
Coordinated by WHO, the Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Well-being for All, is in response to a call from Germany, Ghana and Norway, with support from the United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, for more effective collaboration and coordination among global health organizations to achieve the health-related SDGs. The 12 signatory agencies to the plan are Gavi, The GFF, the Global Fund, UNAIDS, UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNITAID, UN Women, World Bank Group, WFP and WHO.
Notes to Editors
Quotes from the 12 Principals are available below.
Seth Berkley, Chief Executive Officer - GAVI, the Vaccine Alliance
“Gavi has only been able to achieve the extraordinary impact of vaccinating over three-quarters of a billion children since 2000 by working together with many of the 12 agencies as an Alliance,” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “We know how much can be achieved with strong partnerships, but also how much potential there is to do more together and reach those who don’t have access to health. The right collaboration can become a lever for wider primary health care and, by extension, universal health coverage. That is why this new plan is so important, bringing together some of the biggest players in global health to create the conditions for better health and well-being for all.”
Dr Muhammad Ali Pate, Director - The Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents (The GFF)
“The Global Financing Facility supports the Global Action Plan because it recognizes that collaboration needs to take place at the country level and must start from a country’s specific needs and priorities. Our collaboration should have two aims: accelerating progress for those left furthest behind and ensuring that all our support as development agencies is to countries to strengthen their own health and financing systems.”
Peter Sands, Executive Director - Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria (The Global Fund)
“Our calculus is simple: the Global Fund is a partnership, and the better we collaborate and coordinate with partners, the more impact we can have,” said Peter Sands, Executive Director of the Global Fund. “We are committed to playing our part in making the Global Action Plan a reality.”
Gunilla Carlsson, Executive Director a.i. - The Joint Programme United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)
“The Global Action Plan must lead to greater investment in community-led efforts across the world because when communities are empowered, results follow. In the AIDS response, community engagement and ownership have resulted in an increase in the uptake of HIV prevention and treatment services, a reduction in stigma and discrimination and in the protection of human rights. Empowering communities will be central to achieving good health for all.”
Achim Steiner, Administrator - United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
“The Global Action Plan is the kind of system-wide partnership that can help countries to accelerate progress on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and realize the promise of health and well-being for all.”
Natalia Kanem, Executive Director - United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
“Ensuring that health systems can deliver sexual and reproductive health services to all women and young people is integral to ensuring good health and well-being across the life course. The Plan is our collective roadmap for putting the 'universal' in universal health coverage by working together in new ways, aligned with countries' needs and priorities, to make these services accessible to all."
Henrietta Fore, Executive Director - United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
“Millions of vulnerable children and young people are dying for want of medicines and health services. Strengthening primary health care means improving our ability to reach every last child,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director. “We are committed to working together with governments and partners to make sure that this goal becomes a reality one day.”
Lelio Marmora, Executive Director - Unitaid
“Innovation is key to reaching global health goals. Working together, we inspire each other, we spark new ideas, and we align our efforts to overcome challenges on the ground,” Unitaid Executive Director, Lelio Marmora said. “With the Global Action Plan our work stands to make a greater impact.”
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director - The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women)
“By 2030 we want to see more women and girls with informed decision-making and control over their bodies, their health and their futures, and with access to reproductive and maternal health services. They should be living securely and prospering, free from any form of violence and benefiting from non-discriminatory legislation. The Global Action Plan can serve as a road map for collective gender-transformative action to make this a lasting reality.”
Annette Dixon, Vice President, Human Development - World Bank Group
“We see investments in health as vital for countries to build their human capital. By working better together with partner countries and holding ourselves accountable, especially at the country level, we will be able to accelerate progress towards health and equal opportunity for all.”
David Muldrow Beasley, Executive Director - World Food Programme (WFP)
“We won’t have a world without hunger unless people can get access to the services that help them get healthier. These goals go together, hand in glove. That’s why the World Food Programme is committed to working with governments and our partners around the world to make more progress toward a healthier, well-fed world.”
Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General - World Health Organization (WHO)
“The plan is called ‘Stronger Collaboration, Better Health’ for a reason,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO. “Although collaboration is the path, impact is the destination. The release of this Plan is the beginning, not the end, of that path,” he added.
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