2016 begins with two historic global agreements shaping sustainable development as never before. Despite the challenges we face, this pairing provides a reason for optimism and a path for the global community to take. It's up to us to hold to that path and realize enormous benefits for the health of populations everywhere.
The first of these agreements is the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in September. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals — and their 169 targets — aim, in the words of UNDP, "to end poverty, hunger and inequality, take action on climate change and the environment, improve access to health and education, build strong institutions and partnerships, and more."
The second of the two international roadmaps is the Paris Agreement to curb global warming, adopted at the COP21 meetings in December. "The most ambitious climate change agreement in history," according to the White House, which added, "For the first time, all countries commit to putting forward successive and ambitious, nationally determined climate targets and reporting on their progress towards them using a rigorous, standardized process of review."