Countries commit to meeting SDGs in face of pandemic
Countries from across the WHO European Region took part in the annual High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) on 7–16 July 2020. Many delivered voluntary national reviews (VNRs), part of the follow-up and review mechanism of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The HLPF is the main United Nations platform for assessing progress towards the SDGs. VNRs are undertaken to strengthen national ownership of the SDGs and to promote transparency, inclusiveness and participation in reporting.
Strengthening health systems
Of the 47 countries that presented VNRs, 13 were from the European Region: Armenia, Austria, Bulgaria, Estonia, Finland, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, the Republic of Moldova, North Macedonia, the Russian Federation, Slovenia, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.
The countries expressed the importance of health and well-being priorities, including strengthening health-care systems and ensuring their sustainability, providing high-quality and accessible health-care services, and expanding primary health care.
The impact of COVID-19
Despite the ongoing pandemic, all countries expressed their support for the SDGs and discussed response measures to help mitigate the negative effects of COVID-19. The pandemic means that the road to achieving the SDGs has become even more difficult; however, it also provides opportunities for governments to act to improve health and well-being.
HLPF participants also expressed the need for solidarity and multilateralism as the world responds to COVID-19, in particular to finance the global response and to ensure global access to medicines, any COVID-19 vaccines and personal protective equipment.
Furthermore, participants called for greater investment in public services, social protections, health systems, education, water, sanitation, digital connectivity and planetary health, as well as greater support for United Nations agencies to help Member States meet the 2030 Agenda.
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