UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the Annual Parliamentary Hearing on the new sustainable development goals. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

UN’s new framework to build inclusive societies will 'ensure healthy lives at all ages'

The United Nations will set a new agenda on sustainable development at a major summit to be held in September this year.

It will formulate ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030, taking forward the framework of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were introduced in 2000 with a 15 year timeframe.

The new framework will, like the MDGs, attempt to address the causes and manifestations of poverty. “The new agenda will reflect the urgency of finishing the work of the MDGs, reaching the marginalised and vulnerable, and investing in children and young people,” said United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. “It will aim to build inclusive societies, strong institutions and shared prosperity.”

The United Nations is currently reviewing 17 goals and 169 targets for the MDGs, which will be discussed and finalised at the United Nations Assembly in September this year. Health is included in the main priorities of the new strategy, which include: 

  • ending poverty and fighting inequality;
  • ensure healthy lives, knowledge and inclusion; 
  • building inclusive and transformative economies;
  • protecting ecosystems for all societies and our children;
  • promoting safe and peaceful societies and strong institutions;
  • catalysing global solidarity for sustainable development.

One of the 17 goals that have been drafted by the UN is to: “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”.  The proposed targets tend of focus on mortality, but Catherine Sykes, WCPT’s Professional Policy Consultant, points out that physical therapists have a key role to play in helping their countries reduce premature mortality from non-communicable diseases by one third by 2030. 

“The UN Secretary General says that we, as a global community, will have to be ‘innovative, inclusive, agile, determined and coordinated as we move the SDGs forwards,” she says. “That sounds like a good description of physical therapists.

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