The Health of Our Global Community: Canada’s Responsibility at Home and Abroad

By Sarah Kennell

Health is prominently featured in the Sustainable Development Goals – and rightly so. It affects us all. From developing strategies that address the Ebola crisis to ensuring healthcare systems meet the needs of all people, health is a human right and central to positive economic, social and environmental outcomes.

Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages includes a cross-cutting set of targets on maternal mortality, HIV/AIDS, sexual and reproductive health, and environmental impacts. Health is also integrated as a target across a number of goals, including those related to gender, the environment, poverty and consumption – implicitly recognizing the interlinkages necessary to health. Such an approach signals a shift from how development was conceived in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) (three separate goals), toward the new integrated development framework of the SDGs, which aspires to be grounded in a human rights-based approach.

One area where such a shift is clear in the SDGs is around sexual and reproductive health – and the Government of Canada with its focus on Maternal, Newborn and Child Health, can play a leadership role on this, at home and abroad.

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