Although a siloed approach to policy development facilitates clarity in communication, it often can lead to missed opportunities to address the interrelationships among economic and social development, environmental protection, and human health (Balbus and Wasserheit, 2012). Balbus emphasized that many existing silos need to be removed, starting with the areas that have the greatest public health importance and greatest scientific rigor. In order to achieve wide acceptance across sectors and make progress, the cost of the policy or intervention needs to be reasonable, the benefits need to be measurable and sizable, the language needs to be understandable to all sectors, and all stakeholders need to strive for simplicity—simplicity in the articulation of goals, in the communication of interlinkages, and in the creation of targets and indicators.


Maria Neira, M.D.
Director, Public Health and Environment
World Health Organization

In thinking about the post-2015 development agenda, Maria Neira began by referencing a recent report to the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General, Realizing the Future We Want for All. The report outlines the importance of working with a “circle mentality” that includes environmental sustainability, inclusive social development, inclusive economic development, and peace and security—with a significant focus on sustainability, equality, and human rights—in creating the post-2015 development agenda (see Figure 2-1). This framework builds on the three pillars of sustainable development (economic, social, and environmental) and adds a fourth goal of peace and security; these four areas are all enablers of the three fundamental principles (human rights, equality, and sustainability) of the global vision (UN System Task Team on the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda, 2012a). In thinking about how to position health within the agenda, Neira noted that it is extremely important to understand the post-2015 development agenda process, particularly the architecture created under the Secretary-General.

Understanding the Post-2015 Development Agenda Process

The Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda was created to propose a framework for

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