UN resolution on the right to health and the Sustainable Development Goals

June 27, 2017


Last week, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on the right to health in relation to the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including a call for medicines and vaccines access for all. The resolution also requests the UN human rights commissioner to report on the right to health.

The resolution (A/HRC/35/L.18/Rev.1) on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, was adopted without a vote.

In the resolution, the Council among others “encourages States to empower users of health-care services to know and demand their rights, including through health and human rights literacy, and to provide human rights education and training for health workers, with special focus on non-discrimination, free and informed consent, confidentiality, privacy and the duty to provide treatment, and to exchange best practices in this regard”.

Right-to-health framework

The resolution also requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a report which presents contributions of the right-to-health framework to the effective implementation and achievement of the health-related Sustainable Development Goals. The report should identify best practices, challenges and obstacles in this regard, taking into account the views of Member States and all relevant stakeholders, including relevant United Nations bodies, agencies, funds and programmes, especially the World Health Organization, treaty bodies, special procedure mandate holders, national human rights institutions and civil society.

Last year, the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, Dainius Puras, already issued a report to the UN General Assembly that states that human rights and the right-to-health framework can greatly contribute to the effective implementation and achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals. That report highlighted the mutually reinforcing complementarities between the Goals and the right to health, and illustrated how the right to health can help to address critical implementation gaps within the Sustainable Development Goals framework.

Access the resolution (in various languages)

More information on the Special Rapporteur’s report