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Concept: United Nations General Assembly


One of the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals of 2000 was to reduce maternal mortality by 75% in 15 y; however, this challenge was not met by many industrialized countries. As average maternal age continues to rise in these countries, associated potentially life-threatening severe maternal morbidity has been understudied. Our primary objective was to examine the associations between maternal age and severe maternal morbidities. The secondary objective was to compare these associations with those for adverse fetal/infant outcomes.

Concepts: Cohort study, Maternal death, United Nations, Millennium Development Goals, International development, 2005 World Summit, United Nations Millennium Declaration, United Nations General Assembly


Long Blurb: On September 21st 2016 the United Nations General Assembly convenes in New York, United States to tackle a looming and seemingly inevitable global challenge with the potential to threaten the health and wellbeing of all people: antimicrobial resistance. In an Editorial, the PLOS Medicine Editors reflect on the challenge of coordinating the response to antimicrobial resistance in order to ensure the viability of current antimicrobials and the development of new therapies against resistant pathogens. Short Blurb: In this month’s Editorial, the PLOS Medicine Editors reflect on the upcoming United Nations General Assembly meeting which convenes to discuss the global challenge of antimicrobial resistance.

Concepts: Microbiology, Malaria, United Arab Emirates, United Nations, United Nations General Assembly, World War II, Human Development Index, Franklin D. Roosevelt


The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to be committed to by Heads of State at the upcoming 2015 United Nations General Assembly, have set much higher and more ambitious health-related goals and targets than did the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The main challenge among MDG off-track countries is the failure to provide and sustain financial access to quality services by communities, especially the poor. Universal health coverage (UHC), one of the SDG health targets indispensable to achieving an improved level and distribution of health, requires a significant increase in government investment in strengthening primary healthcare - the close-to-client service which can result in equitable access. Given the trend of increased fiscal capacity in most developing countries, aiming at long-term progress toward UHC is feasible, if there is political commitment and if focused, effective policies are in place. Trends in high income countries, including an aging population which increases demand for health workers, continue to trigger international migration of health personnel from low and middle income countries. The inspirational SDGs must be matched with redoubled government efforts to strengthen health delivery systems, produce and retain more and relevant health workers, and progressively realize UHC.

Concepts: Biodiversity, United Nations, Millennium Development Goals, Maternal health, International development, United Nations General Assembly, Sustainable development, Poverty reduction


Improvements in nitrogen use efficiency in crop production are critical for addressing the triple challenges of food security, environmental degradation and climate change. Such improvements are conditional not only on technological innovation, but also on socio-economic factors that are at present poorly understood. Here we examine historical patterns of agricultural nitrogen-use efficiency and find a broad range of national approaches to agricultural development and related pollution. We analyse examples of nitrogen use and propose targets, by geographic region and crop type, to meet the 2050 global food demand projected by the Food and Agriculture Organization while also meeting the Sustainable Development Goals pertaining to agriculture recently adopted by the United Nations General Assembly. Furthermore, we discuss socio-economic policies and technological innovations that may help achieve them.

Concepts: Biodiversity, Agriculture, Sustainability, Food security, United Nations, Innovation, United Nations General Assembly, Food and Agriculture Organization


Since 2000, the United Nations' Millennium Development Goals, which included a goal to improve maternal health by the end of 2015, has facilitated significant reductions in maternal morbidity and mortality worldwide. However, despite more focused efforts made especially by low- and middle-income countries, targets were largely unmet in sub-Saharan Africa, where women are plagued by many challenges in seeking obstetric care. The aim of this review was to synthesise literature on barriers to obstetric care at health institutions in sub-Saharan Africa.

Concepts: Malaria, United Nations, Millennium Development Goals, Maternal health, International development, 2005 World Summit, United Nations Millennium Declaration, United Nations General Assembly


The Millennium Development Goals expire at the end of 2015 and global negotiations are underway to finalise the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. Much activism has occurred encouraging a post-2015 health and development goal embedded in the highest attainable standard of health (‘right to health’). Despite this, the right to health was absent in three key post-2015 intergovernmental Sustainable Development Goal proposals in 2014, one of which was reinforced by the United Nations General Assembly in September 2014 as the guiding document for ongoing interstate negotiations. This article examines why it appears the right to health, so far, is not gaining direct expression in post-2015 discussion.

Concepts: United Nations, Millennium Development Goals, Child mortality, International development, 2005 World Summit, United Nations Millennium Declaration, United Nations General Assembly, Sustainable development


Millennium Development Goal 4 calls for an annual rate of reduction (ARR) of the under-five mortality rate (U5MR) of 4.4% between 1990 and 2015. Progress is measured through the point estimates of the United Nations Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UN IGME). To facilitate evidence-based conclusions about progress toward the goal, we assessed the uncertainty in the estimates arising from sampling errors and biases in data series and the inferior quality of specific data series.

Concepts: Death, United Nations, Millennium Development Goals, Child mortality, International development, 2005 World Summit, United Nations Millennium Declaration, United Nations General Assembly


In April, 2017, the United Nations (UN) announced that it will withdraw peacekeeping soldiers from Haiti after 13 years there.(1) Known by its French acronym MINUSTAH, the mission has been controversial in security terms, but in terms of public health, it is not controversial to state that peacekeepers will be leaving a heavy mark on the health of Haitians. The UN has acknowledged that peacekeeping soldiers were responsible for both the introduction of cholera (which sparked a nationwide epidemic) and the sexual abuse and exploitation of Haitians, including minors. Despite these acknowledgments, there has been insufficient action to result in justice for either the victims of cholera or the victims of sexual abuse. On July 13, 2017, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution asking the UN member states to consider contributing $40 million in leftover funds from MINUSTAH to the control of cholera in the country, and the member states have 60 days to act.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Human rights, United Nations, United Nations General Assembly, Terrorism, Haiti, Peacekeeping, United Nations Security Council



In 2001, technocrats from four multilateral organizations selected the Millennium Development Goals mainly from the previous decade of United Nations (UN) summits and conferences. Few accounts are available of that significant yet cloistered synthesis process: none contemporaneous. In contrast, this study examines health’s evolving location in the first-phase of the next iteration of global development goal negotiation for the post-2015 era, through the synchronous perspectives of representatives of key multilateral and related organizations. As part of the Go4Health Project, in-depth interviews were conducted in mid-2013 with 57 professionals working on health and the post-2015 agenda within multilaterals and related agencies. Using discourse analysis, this article reports the results and analysis of a Universal Health Coverage (UHC) theme: contextualizing UHC’s positioning within the post-2015 agenda-setting process immediately after the Global Thematic Consultation on Health and High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons on the Post-2015 Development Agenda (High-Level Panel) released their post-2015 health and development goal aspirations in April and May 2013, respectively. After the findings from the interview data analysis are presented, the Results will be discussed drawing on Shiffman and Smith (Generation of political priority for global health initiatives: a framework and case study of maternal mortality. The Lancet 2007; 370: : 1370-79) agenda-setting analytical framework (examining ideas, issues, actors and political context), modified by Benzian et al. (2011). Although more participants support the High-Level Panel’s May 2013 report’s proposal-‘Ensure Healthy Lives’-as the next umbrella health goal, they nevertheless still emphasize the need for UHC to achieve this and thus be incorporated as part of its trajectory. Despite UHC’s conceptual ambiguity and cursory mention in the High-Level Panel report, its proponents suggest its re-emergence will occur in forthcoming State led post-2015 negotiations. However, the final post-2015 SDG framework for UN General Assembly endorsement in September 2015 confirms UHC’s continued distillation in negotiations, as UHC ultimately became one of a litany of targets within the proposed global health goal.

Concepts: Maternal death, United Nations, Millennium Development Goals, International development, 2005 World Summit, United Nations General Assembly, Development, African Development Bank