What the Sustainable Development Goals Mean for Public Health

by Rebecca Lubitz-Marchena of Berkeley’s School of Public Health


In 2002 the United Nations (UN) met at the Millennium Summit in New York, establishing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). From eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, to ensuring environmental sustainability, MDGs aimed to better address specific inequities throughout the world, many of which identified specific public health issues.Fast forward to 2015. The United Nations General Assembly recently

ratified the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: 17 goals, known by the acronym SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) and 169 targets aimed to address the world’s most pressing issues and inequities. Why is the UN document significant for the field of public health? According to a recent Huffington Post article by the Dean of Columbia University’s School of Public Health:

“…none of the SDGs mention a specific disease or medical condition, and only one is focused on health. But together they offer a broader framework to address public health concerns in a more holistic way — recognizing the evidence that we can no longer separate poor health from climate change, inadequate housing, gender disparities, and economic privation. Even peace, whose absence has forced millions to become refugees in recent months, finds its way to the SDGs as one avenue towards improved population health.”

“The SDGs are, therefore, an agenda for public health,” the article continues. With the United Nations declaring global priorities for the next decade and a half, the interdisciplinary nature of public health is highlighted, as well as the importance of addressing social and environmental determinants of health. The need for public health professionals with experience and knowledge to tackle this broad range of issues has never been greater.

Read the full article here.

This article was originally published on the UC Berkeley On-Campus/Online MPH Blog. View the full article here: http://onlinemph.berkeley.edu/

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