Last month we posted a blog, Chance to Engage with France, to introduce a series of excellent articles, France: nation and world, that were published in The Lancet in May 2016. Aside from appreciating the series and its relevance now, we wrote of our personal connection with France and of our involvement with global health as a French registered NGO. Now, we continue to repost a few of these articles with a title that caught our keen attention: Democratising the global health agenda: why we need France.
Its author, Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS, is one of the very few at the ‘top’ of global health institutions that fully understands the needs of those at the ‘bottom’, and acts accordingly.
Democratising the global health agenda: why we need France
By Michel Sidibé
Against a backdrop of crisis—climate change, violent extremism, and the greatest inequalities ever endured by society—the world has committed to Agenda 2030 and its 17 visionary Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Together, they implicitly recognise that health is an essential global good, of which all people must share equitably. Let us seize the momentum generated by the SDGs to set our new global health agenda—with France leading.
The SDGs, interconnected and transformative, represent much of what France has achieved in global health for a long time—inclusive partnerships, working across sectors, addressing inequalities, and empowering communities. Achievement of the health-related targets of the SDGs requires leaders with the skills and credibility to deploy so-called soft power to reach agreements on priorities and strategies. In short, it needs France’s strong focus on solidarity, shared responsibility, and multisectoral cooperation.