More than 200 civil society representatives from six continents adopted the "Sharjah Declaration on NCDs: Civil Society United Towards 2030" yesterday, marking the end of the first-ever Global NCD Alliance Forum, held in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
"No one sector alone will reverse the NCD epidemic, but working together we have the tremendous opportunity to chart a new course toward health and sustainable human development for a more equitable and healthier future for all", states de Declaration.
Adopted at the closing ceremony, the Sharjah Declaration is a global expression of NCD civil society's commitment to engage in advocacy and accountability to advance the NCD response. It signals an important shift in focus to translate global commitments into national action.
"We are united by a vision of a future where all people affected by or living with NCDs live full and healthy lives, free from stigma and discrimination, and preventable disability and death", said José Luis Castro, Chair of the NCD Alliance and Executive Director of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union).
The NCD Alliance is honoured to have hosted the inaugural Global NCD Alliance Forum in Sharjah, together with Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP) as the local host organisation. None of this would have been possible without the commitment and leadership of Her Highness Sheika Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al-Quassimi, Wife of the Ruler of Sharjah, Founder and Patron of the Friends of Cancer Patients Charity (FoCP), International Ambassador of the World Cancer Declaration for Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and International Ambassador for Childhood Cancer for UICC, is the Global NCD Alliance Forum's Ambassador as part of her commitment to the fight against cancer and NCDs at the global level, as well as within the UAE.
At the closing ceremony, Her Highness Sheika Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al-Quassimi reinforced her long-term commitment to NCDs by announcing the next Global NCD Alliance Forum will be held in 2017 in Sharjah. the 2017 Forum will be timely, taking place a year ahead of the next UN High-Level Review on NCDs in 2018.
With 45 national and regional alliances at this year's Forum, the demand for and effectiveness of a unified approach to NCD advocacy has never been stronger. The Global NCD Alliance Forum brought together representatives from these alliances to discuss and agree on ways forward to strengthen the civil society response to NCDs in the context of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Discussions at the Forum highlighted that civil society alliances play a crucial role in advocating for NCD prevention, improvements in care and health systems coverage, and patient empowerment. By working together and pooling leadership, technical expertise, resources and networks around a common agenda, these alliances are maitaining momentum on NCDs.
"Two months ago world leaders formally adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development at the United Nations in New York. These 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets will drive efforts to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and injustice, improve health and wellbeing, and protect our planet over the next fifteen years.
"For the first time, NCDs are included in global development goals as a priority for all countries, recognising that investing in efforts to reduce the global NCD burden will not only improve health outcomes but is also essential to the achievement of today's most pressing development priorities", highlighted Katie Dain, NCD Alliance Executive Director.