“The SDGs and targets are integrated and indivisible, global in nature and universally applicable, taking into account different national realities, capacities and levels of development and respecting national policies and priorities. Targets are defined as aspirational and global, with each government setting its own national targets guided by the global level of ambition but taking into account national circumstances. Each government will also decide how these aspirational and global targets should be incorporated in national planning processes, policies and strategies.”
The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
The first action area of the Global Strategy is country leadership – which encompasses all of the other action areas. As the above quotation from the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development notes, national governments will need to decide how to incorporate the SDG targets and Global Strategy action areas into their implementation efforts through national and subnational plans, strategies, policies and programming, in partnership with civil society, the private sector and development partners.
Facilitating country leadership is also an overarching ingredient for operationalizing the Global Strategy across its action areas. Countries will need to adapt and integrate existing plans for women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health, themselves subsumed into existing national health plans and strategies, to incorporate the SDGs and the action areas of the Global Strategy, while developing new strategies for areas that are currently missing.
Challenges that have arisen with respect to planning in the MDG era need to be overcome. Some national plans for women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health have been insufficiently integrated into national health sector plans and paid insufficient attention to the determinants of health, fostering fragmented implementation. Large portions have remained under-funded and critical aspects such as adolescent health, family planning, equity, or multisectoral dimensions were often overlooked. Accountability for results has varied both across and within countries. In addition, civil society engagement and mobilization around results remains nascent.
1.1 A strong multi-stakeholder country platform for women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health
Led by the Ministry of Health, the process of improving national health plans is an in-depth stocktaking exercise in which policymakers, civil society (including adolescents), the private sector and technical experts review the situation of women, children and adolescents, identifying the high-impact interventions and fundamentally new strategies needed to accelerate results. This requires a strong multi-stakeholder country platform for women’s, children’s and adolescents’ heath that brings together all essential stakeholders – government, communities, civil society, the private sector and development partners.
Country platforms can take different forms and should build on existing governance processes within countries. Country platforms need to:
- be transparent and inclusive of groups normally excluded from decision-making (including youth and adolescents)
- bring together crucial sectors for health beyond the health sector
- integrate with and build on existing mechanisms for planning and coordination, including other planning processes relevant to the SDGs
- be used for monitoring and reviewing progress in addition to initial planning
- have clear performance metrics and accountability mechanisms for their functioning, in line with International Health Partnership (IHP+) guidance and the Global Strategy accountability framework
- include consultations at subnational and local levels to strengthen coordination between different administrative levels within countries.