China signs Shanghai Declaration to achieve health goals

Heads of all municipalities in the country vowed to achieve health goals as per the United Nations’ 2030 agenda

By Nikita Lamba
Last Updated: Wednesday 23 November 2016

Credit: United Nations

On November 21, China signed the Shanghai Declaration to achieve the health and well-being goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The declaration was signed during the 9th Global Conference on health promotion.

Over 100 city mayors, heads of five United Nations agencies, more than 40 ministers of health and other sectors and the Prime Minister were present at the signing. The declaration stressed on the importance of universal health coverage and the need to better address cross-border health issues. It has included the role of good governance and health literacy in improving health in its commitments to meet the 2030 Agenda.

It also emphasised on its plan to move towards healthy urban policies to promote social inclusion. The declaration recognised the need to provide health care to all: “Determined action on the rights of women, people on the move and of the increasing number of people affected by humanitarian and environmental crisis.”

It also highlighted the need for people to be able to be in control of their own health and be in a position to make healthy lifestyle choices.

China, in the declaration, has resolved to use government mechanisms to protect health and promote well-being through public policies. It aims to increase taxation and strengthen regulation of unhealthy goods. The declaration encourages investment in healthcare and commits to establish policies that benefit both health and well-being and city policies.

It recognises that the health of the people cannot be separated from that of the planet any longer. WHO Director-General Margaret Chan says, “Underpinning these commitments is the need for government action that protects people from health risks, provides access to healthy choices and spreads awareness of how to be and stay healthy.”

The Shanghai Declaration resolves to provide equitable health care opportunity to all while preventing degradation of the planet. Chan states, "Legislative and fiscal measures are among the most effective interventions that governments—national and city—can take to promote the health of their citizens, from tobacco control and taxing sugary drinks to ensuring people can breathe clean air, bike home safely and walk to school or work without fear of violence." All of the commitments made during the conference resonate with the five P’s mentioned in UN’s agenda—people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership.

In September 2015, the United Nations came up with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that included various social sectors for instance, reduction of poverty and hunger, improved food security, sustainable agriculture and health among 17 other sustainable development goals.

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