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Countdown for health to the post-2015 UN Sustainable Development Goals

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The UN member states face difficult decisions for health in crafting the proposed, expansive post-2015 sustainable development agenda

In December 2015, the achievements of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on development in low- and middle-income countries will be assessed. Already we are aware of the progress since they were proposed as part of the UN Millennium Declaration in 2001. The world has reduced extreme poverty by half; over 3.3 million deaths from malaria and tuberculosis have been averted; over 2.3 billion people have gained access to safe drinking water; child mortality has more than halved; and access to HIV antiretroviral drugs has substantially increased.1 Beyond 2015, the residual tasks of the MDGs will be integrated into a new agenda that has arisen from the recommendations of Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in June 2012, asking all nations to commit to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

As part of Go4Health, an international consortium advising the European Commission on health-related objectives in the evolving negotiations on post-2015 SDGs,2 we have tracked the debate with increasing concern. In June 2013, after a year’s global consultation and the release of the report by the High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda,3