UN NCD Review: 10-11 July 2014


Marking three years since the UN High-level Meeting on NCDs, the UN Review in New York was an opportunity for governments, the UN system, and civil society to take stock of progress since 2011, identify gaps in action, and gather consensus on scaling up and transforming commitments into action at the national level, where the fight against NCDs must be won.

Opening Plenary and Roundtables

In her opening speech, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr Margaret Chan stated that the rise of NCDs, now overtaking infectious diseases as the world’s leading cause of morbidity and mortality, is a “seismic shift that calls for sweeping changes in the very mindset of public health” and that “unprecedented challenges need unprecedented commitments.”

Also speaking in the opening plenary was UNDP Administrator Helen Clark who emphasized that NCDs “must not be seen as a health challenge alone, but also, more broadly, as a human development challenge.” Her opening remarks can be accessed here.

Professor Tezer Kutluk, President-elect of UICC, spoke on behalf of civil society, on the need for multisectoral coordinated and harmonised national responses to NCDs; the establishment of NCDs at the centre of the post-2015 development agenda; and the urgent need to address the global resource gap in NCDs.

Click here to read the full statement made by Prof. Kutluk.

Roundtable 1 focused on "Strengthening national and regional capacities, including health systems, and effective multisectoral and whole-of-government responses for the prevention and control, including monitoring, of non-communicable diseases” and included civil society panellists Dr Vash Mungal-Singh from the South Africa NCD Alliance and Dr Sandeep Kishore of the Young Professionals' Chronic Disease Network (YP-CDN). Some key recommendations emerged from this roundtable, many of which are reflected in the Outcome Document:

  • Ensure strong leadership and commitment on NCDs at the highest political level;
  • Foster policy coherence across government sectors, including health, agriculture, trade, environment;
  • Mobilise a broad coalition of stakeholders to support the NCD response, including people living with or at risk of NCDs;
  • Increase public investment in NCDs at national and international levels;
  • Integrate NCDs into development planning processes, and existing platforms for service delivery.

Click here to read the full statement made by Dr Sandeep Kishore.

Roundtable 2 focused on "Fostering and strengthening national, regional and international partnerships and cooperation in support of efforts to address non-communicable diseases", and featured civil society panellists Dr Sania Nishtar, Founder and President of the NGO thinktank, Heartfile; Mr Mario Ottiglio representing the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA). Some key recommendations from this roundtable were:

  • Position and promote NCDs as a priority for the post-2015 development agenda;
  • Establish stronger regulatory frameworks to prevent NCDs, particularly obesity;
  • Provide technical expertise in establishing multisectoral partnerships, to ensure better results;
  • Strengthen the investment case for NCDs, and focus on harnessing domestic resources via tobacco taxation and other proven financing mechanisms;
  • Strengthen the role of civil society in low- and middle-income countries, including national NCD alliances.

The closing plenary of the UN Review at 6pm included short summaries of the Roundtables by the Chairs, and closing remarks by a representative of the President of the General Assembly. The Outcome Document was emphasised as an important political tool in accelerating the response to NCDs worldwide. 

Outcome Document

Member States unanimously adopted a concise, action-oriented Outcome Document at the UN Review. This Outcome Document includes specific, time-bound commitments that will effectively guide the next phase of the global and national NCD response.

To access the Outcome Document, click here.

To read the NCD Alliance statement on the Outcome Document, click here.

Side events at the UN Review

A number of side events took place in the margins of the UN NCD Review, including several led by the NCD Alliance:

NCD Alliance Civil Society Briefing on the UN NCD Review

Over 90 Civil Society Representatives gathered the day before the Review to take stock on progress achieved since 2011, discuss priorities for the 2-day UN NCD Review and priorities moving forward.

NCD Alliance / Forum of International Respiratory Societies: "Shared Drivers, Shared Solutions: NCDs, Lung Health, and Sustainable Development"

This joint event explored the link between NCDs, in particular respiratory diseases, and sustainable development and focused on the importance of establishing NCDs firmly in the conversations on the future sustainable development agenda

NCD Alliance and the Government of Sweden and the Permanent Mission of CARICOM Member States to the UN: "NCDs and the Post-2015 Era: Delivering Action, Accountability and Results" 

The session was moderated by Dr Sania Nishtar, and speakers included Dr Margaret Chan, WHO Director General; Dr Anders Nordstrom, Ambassador for Global Health, Sweden Ministry for Foreign Affairs; Dr Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Dr James Hospedales, Executive Director, CARPHA; and Sir George Alleyne, Director Emeritus Pan American Health Organization.

The discussion in the packed room focused on the importance of approaching and framing health and NCDs as sustainable human development issues that require action beyond the health sector, the implications of the global NCD epidemic for post-2015 and development cooperation, and the enabling environment required to deliver results, including strong regulatory frameworks, partnerships, accountability, a strong people’s movement for NCDs. The NCD Alliance and Lancet new NCD Countdown 2025 initiative was promoted as a useful instrument to facilitate accountability.

UN Civil Society Hearing on NCDs

In preparation for the UN NCD Review, the President of the General Assembly H.E. John W Ashe hosted an informal interactive hearing for civil society on 19 June 2014 to discuss the successes and gaps in progress since 2011, and to identify priorities for NCDs going forward. 

Approximately 150 civil society representatives and 37 Member States attended the hearing, which included an opening session chaired by H.E. John Ashe and remarks from Ambassador Sally Cowal, American Cancer Society, on behalf of civil society. This was followed by two roundtable panel discussions on enhancing international cooperation, and mobilizing whole-of-society efforts around NCDs, respectively.

Statements by panellists and attendees can be accessed here

An archived video of the event can be viewed here (Part 1) and here (Part 2).

NCD Alliance Consultation on the UN Review

In preparation for the Review the NCD Alliance conducted an online consultation in preparation for the UN Review. 67 responses were received, from a range of sectors, and representing all WHO Regions and income groups. The consultation covered progress made since 2011, priorities moving forward, and outcomes for the UN Review on NCDs, with results presented at the PAHO Regional Consultation and the Interactive Civil Society Hearing. Key points include the following:

  • NCDs are beginning to receive the necessary recognition at the global level, but this is not yet translated into implementation and action at national and community levels.
  • Top barriers to national progress were weak capacity to operationalise a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach to NCDs, shortage of multilateral, bilateral and domestic resources for NCDs, and weak capacity of countries to respond to the NCD epidemic.
  • Going forward, shared priorities include mobilisation of resources, clear targets for action, and placement of NCDs as a priority in the post-2015 development agenda.

Click here to download the full consultation report

NCD Alliance
as a source

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