SDG 3: Good health and well-being
1. EU Programmes likely to be relevant for libraries
EU Health Programme
The EU is required to ensure that human health is protected across all policy areas, and to work with EU countries to improve public health, prevent human illness and eliminate sources of danger to physical and mental health.
The EU Health Programme is focusing on major Commission priorities, such as:
- Jobs, growth and investment (health of population and health care services as a productive factor for growth and jobs)
- Internal market (for pharmaceuticals, medical devices, cross-border health care directive, and Health Technology Assessment)
- Single digital market (including eHealth)
- Justice and fundamental rights (fighting against health inequalities)
- Migration policy
- Security (preparedness and management of serious cross border health threats).
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control. An agency of the European Union
ECDC's mission is to identify, assess and communicate current and emerging threats to human health posed by infectious diseases. In order to achieve this mission, ECDC works in partnership with national health protection bodies across Europe to strengthen and develop continent-wide disease surveillance and early warning systems. Within the field of its mission, the Centre shall:
- search for, collect, collate, evaluate and disseminate relevant scientific and technical data;
- provide scientific opinions and scientific and technical assistance including training;
- provide timely information to the Commission, the Member States, Community agencies and international organisations active within the field of public health;
- coordinate the European networking of bodies operating in the fields within the Centre's mission, including networks that emerge from public health activities supported by the Commission and operating the dedicated surveillance networks;
- exchange information, expertise and best practices, and facilitate the development and implementation of joint actions.
The State of Health in the EU
The State of Health in the EU is a two-year initiative undertaken by the European Commission that provides policy makers, interest groups, and health practitioners with factual, comparative data and insights into health and health systems in EU countries. The continuous cycle is developed in cooperation with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies.
In recent decades, EU countries have fought communicable diseases with success through treatment and prevention. Rates of infectious diseases have either fallen or remained stable, and the majority of deaths in EU countries are now due to non-communicable diseases such as cancer and heart disease.
Better Training for Safer Food (BTSF)
Better Training for Safer Food (BTSF) is a Commission training initiative covering food and feed law, animal health and welfare and plant health rules.
The main objectives of the initiative "Better Training for Safer Food" are the organisation and development of an EU training strategy with a view to:
- Ensuring and maintaining a high level of consumer protection and of animal health, animal welfare and plant health;
- To improve and harmonise official controls in EU countries and create the conditions for a level playing field for food businesses contributing to EU priority on jobs and growth;
- To ensure safety of food imports from non-EU countries on the EU market, and ultimately to reducing risks for EU consumers and providing EU businesses with easier access to safe goods from non-EU countries;
- To ensure a harmonisation of control procedures between EU and non-EU partners in order to guarantee a parallel competitive position of EU businesses with their non-EU counterparts;
- To build confidence in the EU regulatory model with competent authorities of other international trade partners and pave the way for new food market opportunities and increased competitiveness for EU operators;
- Ensuring fair trade with non-EU countries and in particular developing countries.
High quality, safe and sufficient drinking water is essential for our daily life and for many other purposes, such as washing, cleaning, hygiene or watering our plants. The European Union has a history of over 30 years of drinking water policy. This policy ensures that water intended for human consumption can be consumed safely on a life-long basis, and this represents a high level of health protection. The main pillars of the policy are to:
- Ensure that drinking water quality is controlled through standards based on the latest scientific evidence;
- Secure an efficient and effective monitoring, assessment and enforcement of drinking water quality;
- Provide the consumers with adequate, timely and appropriately information;
- Contribute to the broader EU water and health policy;
The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction
The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA) was established in 1993. Inaugurated in Lisbon in 1995, it is one of the EU’s decentralised agencies. The EMCDDA exists to provide the EU and its Member States with a factual overview of European drug problems and a solid evidence base to support the drugs debate. Today it offers policymakers the data they need for drawing up informed drug laws and strategies. It also helps professionals and practitioners working in the field pinpoint best practice and new areas of research.
Reducing the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents. Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS)
Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) are vital to increase safety and tackle Europe's growing emission and congestion problems. They can make transport safer, more efficient and more sustainable by applying various information and communication technologies to all modes of passenger and freight transport. Moreover, the integration of existing technologies can create new services. But in order to be effective, the roll-out of ITS needs to be coherent and properly coordinated across the EU.
The European Commission is working with Member States, industry and public authorities to find common solutions to the various bottlenecks for deployment. In the coming years, the digitalisation of transport in general and ITS in particular are expected to take a leap forwards. As part of the Digital Single Market Strategy, the European Commission aims to make more use of ITS solutions to achieve a more efficient management of the transport network for passengers and business.
Immunisation is a safe and cost-effective way to protect people – especially infants and young children – from certain infectious diseases. All EU countries have a vaccination schedule, recommending the vaccines to be given at various ages during childhood.
Air quality, Bathing water
European Union policy on air quality aims to develop and implement appropriate instruments to improve air quality. The main instruments are a series of Directives setting ambient air quality standards to provide protection from excessive pollution concentrations. The LIFE programme is the European Union’s financial instrument supporting environmental and nature conservation projects throughout the Union. LIFE also provides financing opportunities in form of loans or equity investments for revenue-generating or cost-saving pilot projects promoting the preservation of natural capital, including climate change adaptation projects, through the Natural Capital Financing Facility.
Funding opportunities: https://ec.europa.eu/environment/funding/intro_en.htm
2. Library Policies and Best Practices
Health libraries normally provide access to the results of medical research and diffuse information related to health services. If SDGs implementation is above all a matter of life style, libraries can do a lot to fight erroneous eating practices and unhealthy life-style. Information about obesity, narcotic drug abuse and harmful use of alcohol are usually developed in public libraries in collaboration with organisations operating in the third sector.
The alliance between public libraries and health associations is perhaps the most interesting development of the SDG implementation in European libraries, especially in the light of a possible Covid-19 strategy. Interestingly, during the Covid-19 crisis, the National Library of Lithuania in cooperation with the country’s public libraries and the Robotics School’s initiative help produce 3D printed face masks for healthcare workers. Over 50 public libraries of Lithuania joined the initiative: https://www.lnb.lt/en/news/5242-lithuanian-libraries-offer-support-to-healthcare-professionals
“Book start” entails a wide range of activities encouraging reading among the young and the very young. Some of the projects, like Book start in Belgium, provides free book packages to babies aged six months and older. This project is a joint undertaking of the National Health Agency Kind en Gezin (Child and Family), other health insurance agencies and public libraries.
In Italy, the success of the ”Nati per leggere” (Born to read) initiative should also be mentioned. “Born to read” is set up by the Italian Library Association in collaboration with paediatric associations and centres.
The Active Living Area project is a Citizen Science project aimed to transform 80 ha of farmland and woods surrounding the Southern Denmark University in a community driven outdoor living lab. Part of the project is to include staff and students at SDU in order to work with the UN SDG’s. As of now the project has received +1.000 proposals from citizens and staff. It worked thanks to a media partner and included workshops, festivals, town hall meetings, surveys and curriculum teaching in a cooperation with the neighbouring University College Lillebælt. The project links to SDG 3 (good health and wellbeing) and SDG11 (Make cities and human settlements inclusive).
3. Opportunities for library funding
This Chapter refers to the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) 2021-2027, and in particular to the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund+ (ESF).
In order to make the most out of these Funds, first refer to the ESIF managing authorities, which are different in every Member State and are responsible for national operational programmes and policies. The list of national authorities, country after country, and region after region, is available at the following link, https://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/en/atlas/managing-authorities/.
In the Table(s) below, for each ESIF objective: Column 1 designates the ERDF or ESF+ specific objective. Column 2 and 3 set, respectively, the related outputs and results indicated by ESIF official documents. It can be easily inferred that European Commission criteria for evaluation are quite general and do not get into the detail of the programmes. It is up to Member States to set additional criteria for evaluation.
Finally, Column 4 lists examples of library projects set up to pursue ESIF objectives or to attain specific Sustainable Development Goals. ESIF-funded and SDG-oriented library projects are matched with specific ESIF 2021-2027 objectives and sub-objectives; what is shown in the table, however, is a simulation: under which presumed ESIF specific objective could SDG-oriented library projects have been funded, if they were to be presented within the ESIF 2021-2027 framework?
More detailed information on the Library Projects listed in Column 5 can be found in the Sustainable Development Goals and Libraries - First European Report.
4. Main Eurostat Indicators
Key trends in “Good Health and Well-Being” in Europe show the following evidence (Eurostat Report, pp. 73 and ss):
- Life expectancy at birth and perceived health have increased in both the short and the long term;
- Women have higher life expectancies than men, but they are less likely to assess their health as being good or very good;
- The number of healthy life years increased for people at age 65;
- More than half of the adult EU population was overweight in 2017;
- Smoking prevalence among the population aged 15 or over has decreased since 2006;
- External factors affecting health, such as air pollution and exposure to noise, have on average been declining, but hotspots remain;
- Trends for chronic diseases and selected communicable diseases are positive, but gender gaps remain;
- Fewer people are killed in accidents at work or on roads, but progress has stalled in the past few years;
- Only a few people report unmet need for medical care, and the share is falling.
Goal 3’s attainment is monitored through the following main indicators: Source: EU SDG Indicator set 2019, p. 16:
See also the Report: Health at a Glance: Europe 2018: https://ec.europa.eu/health/sites/health/files/state/docs/2018_healthatglance_rep_en.pdf
5. Library Indicators
Library Indicators enabling the evaluation of library performances and how they can match SDG indicators.
A report on Library indicators and SDGs has been released by the ELSA working Group: "Towards the implementation of SDG Indicators in European Libraries"
"Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages"
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as ‘a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity’. Good health is not only of value to the individual as a major determinant of quality of life, well-being and social participation, it also contributes to general social and economic growth.
EU countries hold primary responsibility for organising and delivering health services and medical care. EU health policy therefore serves to complement national policies, and aim to: a) Protect and improve the health of EU citizens; b) Support the modernisation of health infrastructure; c) Improve the efficiency of Europe's health systems.
The European Commission's Directorate for Health and Food Safety (DG SANTE) supports the efforts of EU countries to protect and improve the health of their citizens and to ensure the accessibility, effectiveness and resilience of their health systems.
This is done through various means, including by:
a) Proposing legislation;
b) Providing financial support;
c) Coordinating and facilitating the exchange of best practices between EU countries and health experts;
d) Health promotion activities.
Targets and Indicators: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg3
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