From July 25th-27th, representatives from governments and civil society, including think tanks, from the Latin American region and beyond, gathered in Santiago, Chile to identify how the political, social, commercial and environmental determinants of health should be marshaled in support of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Discussions of the three-day conference focused on sharing accounts of early achievements in overcoming complex and systemic political and commercial barriers to health for all. Participants also highlighted lessons learned with respect to coordinating among multiple sectors and types of stakeholders.

At the close of the meeting co-hosted by the Government of Chile, the Pan-African Health Organization (PAHO), the Graduate Institute Geneva and IDRC, participant representatives signed the Santiago Declaration, committing to undertake concrete actions to accelerate political support for the implementation of the SGDs, particularly in public health. The Declarationlaid out the commitments signatories made to dedicate creativity and resources towards ensuring healthy lives and well-being for all. Amongst them, they committed to attracting and employing political support in service of public health; encouraging political processes that support implementation and accountability; promoting the case for sustainable financing for health in the SDGs; involving a wide range of stakeholders and gaining support from local governments.

Ahead of the closing session, Chilean President Michelle Bachelet sent a personal video to express her support and stress the importance of such leadership. After personally thanking the organisers, including IDRC and TTI’s Peter Taylor, she urged other governments not to miss the opportunity to advance towards more developed, fair and inclusive societies: “The cost of not acting now is too high.”