“A Vision for Urgent Action on health, education and development”
I am speaking on behalf of civil society working in the area of education and the Health in the Post-2015 NGO Coalition, whose statement is signed by over 50 organizations.
Education and health for all are critical factors to enable the fulfillment of the entire SDG agenda, a fact that should be explicit in the Declaration. It should state clearly that all governments will work towards achieving the full set of goals and targets. This requires specific and time-bound actions and not -- as now weakly worded for non-communicable diseases, “ to devoting greater efforts”.
We expect Member States to deliver quality, essential, affordable services for education and health, for all. Public private partnerships must be entered into with extreme caution, and with strong regulation and accountability mechanisms in place, and with protection from policymaking.
We wish to highlight the following specific issues:
On education: Delivering quality education for all at all levels is the prime responsibility of the state. But the role of organisations, particularly youth organisations, in delivering non-formal or out-of-school education, which provides wider skills and personal development, should also be recognized. In para 7,the words ‘quality, equitable and universal’ should all be applied to all of education, health and social protection. Water and sanitation could also be added here.
In para 15, we should include The Incheon Declaration; the International Conference on Population and Development; and the Fourth World Conference on Women. In para 23, we urge inclusion of “Inclusive and equitable” quality education, and “lifelong learning” (not just access), to bring the text into line with Goal 4. In addition, we urge insuring safe school environments, and including education on these key topics: human rights, gender equality, peace, non-violence, comprehensive sexuality education, cultural diversity and sustainable lifestyles.
On health: We appreciate the statements made yesterday by countries, Indonesia, Palau, and Bangladesh and Costa Rica this morning. In the preamble, under PEOPLE, the words “Physical and mental health and wellbeing” should be included. For para 11, we support UK and Sweden to include anti-microbial resistance, which poses a serious health threat.
In para 19, we support the inclusion of sexual and reproductive health and rights.
In para 24, Financial health protection to reach those furthest behind should be included, to achieve universal health coverage. Also, in line with the Maldives on behalf of AOSIS, the third sentence could read “We commit to accelerating the progress made to date in eliminating newborn, infant, child and maternal mortality by eradicating preventable deaths and morbidity by 2030.”
We welcome the suggestions from Member States to strengthen language related to non-communicable diseases to add specific references to ‘prevention and control’ instead of ‘tackling’, and reference to social determinants of health.
A final sentence should also be added: “These efforts together achieve our vision of integrated health, mental health and well-being.” Finally, the Declaration should reflect the environmental dimension of health, recognizing the link between air, water and soil pollution, as well as hazardous chemicals of ecosystems, leading to human health exposure to toxics, and recognizing the dangerous health impacts of climate and environmental change.
The statement is accessible here.