Knowledge for effective action to improve the health of women, children and adolescents in the sustainable development era

January 2016 marked the beginning of a new era for health and development. It was the start of Transforming our world: the 2030 agenda for sustainable development and its accompanying sustainable development goals (SDGs).1 All governments have committed to this ambitious sustainable agenda and its goals.

The Global strategy for women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health (2016–2030)2 and its operational framework are aligned with the SDGs and provide an evidence-based roadmap for ending preventable deaths of women, children and adolescents by 2030. The global strategy can guide collective action so that every woman, child and adolescent – even those living in the most challenging settings – can achieve their full potential and rights to health and well-being.

Governments are aligning their work with the SDGs and the global strategy’s three objectives – survive, thrive and transform – in ways that meet their countries’ priorities and unique contexts. The survival, health and well-being of women, children and adolescents are essential to achieving the SDGs. Analysis of lessons from the millennium development goal (MDG) implementation process – what has worked and what hasn’t – is needed to effectively implement the agenda set by the SDGs and the global strategy.