According to the new editorial by The Lancet, health was "barely mentioned" in the initial draft of the Rio+20 agenda. The UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20)which is about to start in Rio de Janeiro, with the slogan “the future we want” is not on the minds of 80% of brazilians, as health is. That was revealed by a inquiry conducted by the Ministry of Environment, where health was among the first concerns of the ones interviewed while environment was at 6th place.

Actually, health and environment are more interconnected than most of people think. And that is why WHO and other major global health players are so keen to “ensure that health is protected and promoted in global policy arenas outside the health sector”. The idea is to integrate health concerns to every policy, from economy, through transport to environment.

The editorial brings two other articles that explores links between health and sustainable development that are worth reading. I'll conclude this post with the citation of the last paragraph of the editorial, with which I agree entirely.

"Sustainable development is, by definition, broad and encompasses an array of social, economic, and environmental dimensions. Since a healthy environment is a prerequisite for healthy people and vice versa, the Rio+20 conference must not only re-examine, but also put at its centre, the link between health, the environment, and sustainable development. As WHO has correctly suggested, universal access to health care, health co-benefits from sustainable policies in different sectors, and health-related indicators must be included in the metrics of sustainable development. All of these principles and processes are essential and need to be supported by sustained advocacy. Rio+20 must not be just another large, costly, and environmentally destructive conference. It must be one that, in the future, is looked upon as launching a new era for human wellbeing, one that is rooted in principles of equity, social justice, and sustainability."

For more on Rio+20 see EditorialLancet 2012; 379: 193
For more on the Commission on Global Governance for Health see CommentLancet 2012; 379: 1470—71
For more on the inclusive ‘health in all policies’ approach see CommentLancet 2012; 379: 1077—78


Anonymous said...

I totally agree: health and environment are deeply interconnected. Have a look here: You might like this video because here healthcare is discussed in the context of sustainable development :-)

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