The 76th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 76) opened on Tuesday, 14 September 2021, in New York City (US) with the session’s high-level General Debate starting on September 20 based on the theme of ‘Building resilience through hope to recover from COVID-19, rebuild sustainably, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people, and revitalize the United Nations’.
While COVID-19 has impacted many countries’ prosperity in terms of gross domestic product (GDP), the biggest impact on many people’s lives has been on their health. It not only applies to those unfortunate enough to have contracted the disease, but also to those with other conditions such as cancer who have had their diagnosis and treatment delayed or disrupted. While healthcare systems around the world are under immense pressure to deal with successive waves of COVID-19 and catch up on the care backlog, they are also facing a long-term challenge - how to create the resilient healthcare systems that will be needed to cope with future pandemics and climate change. That makes sustainability a key issue, because the world’s healthcare systems currently contribute around 4% of global CO2 emissions .
As a global leader in health technology committed to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Philips believes that the twin challenges of improving people’s lives and mitigating climate change are inseparable.
Expanding access to care, for example, will be much easier and more sustainable if the number of people requiring care is kept to a minimum. Prevention is better than cure, and applies as much to the health of the planet as it does to the health of the people who live on it. As an industry we therefore have a responsibility to act.
Philips’ purpose is to improve people’s health and well-being through meaningful innovation, improving 2.5 billion lives per year by 2030, including 400 million in underserved communities. We are equally committed to doing business responsibly and sustainably, respecting the needs of the planet as well as those of society in partnership with our stakeholders.