A bold new global agenda to end poverty by 2030 and pursue a sustainable future has been unanimously adopted by United Nations member states.
Heads of State and Government (including Kenya) gave final approval to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will replace the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that run from 2000 and will close at the end of 2015. The result of extensive inter-governmental negotiation and input from the private sector and civil society, the overarching purpose of the SDGs that come into effect in January 2016, is to eradicate poverty and combine elements of economic, social and environmental action.
The new and ambitious agenda commits every country to take actions that will address the root causes of poverty, accelerate economic growth, meet people’s health, education and social needs, and protect the environment. Governments like Kenya will be expected to develop their own national indicators to assist in monitoring progress made on the goals and targets.
Speaking to the UN Assembly in New York, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta reiterated the country’s commitment to the realisation of the SDGs, saying that the goals are not only ambitious and need an equally robust development mechanism, but will require immense resources for their realization.
Kenya was a co-facilitator in drafting the 17 SDGs, and will continue to play a key role in the near future including hosting a high-level meeting on the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation in 2016.
SDGs and Health
The SDGs include an ambitious and inclusive health agenda that will require a united movement committed to achieving Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for all.
Whilst Kenya has made some progress in the implementation of the MDGs, seeing notable changes in areas like immunisation coverage, improved HIV treatment coverage, child and maternal mortality, there continue to be major challenges in access to and affordability of health care services.
As is the case with all 17 SDGs, the health agenda will only be meaningful if taken out of high-level boardroom meetings and into communities. The SDGs must become a tool to empower every citizen to hold national and county governments accountable for their fulfilment and their basic right to health.
With the notable decline in donor funding for health and the anticipated continued reduction in this type of funding, it is paramount that national and county governments make increased investments to not only sustain the gains made with the MDGs, but also to realise the ambitious SDGs. This will include improved partnerships with the private sector and local partners, as well the political goodwill and commitment to serve local communities to address social determinants of health for a poverty and disease free Kenya by 2030.