FAQ: Learn More about the UN Summit on NCDs


How can I attend? (updated 12th August)
As of 30 August it is no longer possible for civil society and private sector organizations to register for the High-level Meeting. The UN released details on registration in early March for the UN Summit and the June UN Summit Civil Society Hearings. The registration deadline was April 15th. The latest NCD Alliance update on registration can be found here and by visiting the UN registration website.A full list of registered attendees can be found on the UN General Assembly President’s website at http://www.un.org/en/ga/president/65/issues/ncdiseases.shtml

The NCD Alliance will post any updates as we receive them.

Where can I find the latest information on Negotiations on the Summit Outcomes Document?
Visit the NCD Alliance's Take Action page.

What is the UN Summit?
The UN General Assembly, the principal decision-making body of the UN which represent all UN member states, has decided to hold a UN Summit on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in order to bring global attention to these diseases and agree on a plan of action to address them.

What is the focus of the Summit?
In May 2010, UN member states passed UN resolution 64/265, which states that the Summit will focus on the ‘four most prominent non-communicable diseases, namely, cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes’, and the ‘common risk factors of tobacco use, alcohol abuse, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and environmental carcinogens.’

Who is it being organised by?
The UN Summit on NCDs (UNS) will be organized under the direction of the UN General Assembly, with the support of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The logistics will be organized by the UN Department for General Assembly and Conference Management (DGACM).

When and where will it take place?
The meeting will take place at UN Headquarters in New York on 19-20th September 2011 before the opening of the main UN General Assembly Session on 21st September.

Is it a Summit or a High-Level Meeting?
The official name for the meeting specified in UN Resolution 64/265 is a ‘High-Level Meeting with the participation of Heads of State and Government.’ Although this term is similar and nearly interchangeable with the term ‘Summit’, a Summit implies the attendance of Heads of State. Therefore, the NCD Alliance recommends usage of the term ‘UN High-Level Summit on NCDs (UNS)’ for referring to the meeting.

Will Heads of State attend?
Yes. Attendence is often not announced until the last minute for security reasons. However, several Heads of State have already confirmed their attendance. A list can be found at: http://www.ncdalliance.org/hos

Why is it important?
The Summit is the biggest and best opportunity to put NCDs on the global agenda. It has the potential to secure commitment from Heads of Government for a coordinated global response to NCDs, substantially increase financial resources for NCDs and save millions from premature death and debilitating health complications. It also has the potential to lead to measurable targets and commitments from governments to take action on NCDs for which they can be monitored and held accountable through regular reporting.

What do we need to do to ensure the Summit is a turning point for NCDs?
Ensuring that major change results from the UNS requires concerted effort by all sectors in the lead-up to the event in order to agree specific measurable outcomes and results. Civil society has a critical role to play in shaping the agenda and in delivering concrete outcomes in partnership with governments and communities.

Download the NCD Alliance Proposed Outcomes Document for the UN High-Level Summit and The NCD Alliance / Lancet Summary of Priority Cost-Effective Interventions for the UN High-Level Summit for more information on the outcomes the NCD Alliance is advocating for from the Summit.

The Alliance has also released a condensed Pocketbook Version of its Proposed Outcomes Document containing its 10 Priority Outcomes for the Summit which can be found here.

The NCD Alliance Proposed Outcomes Document is also available in the following languages:

Download the Proposed Outcomes Document (French) >

Download the Proposed Outcomes Document (Spanish) >

Download the Proposed Outcomes Document (Arabic) >

Download the Proposed Outcomes Document (Russian) >

Download the Proposed Outcomes Document (Chinese) >


When was the decision made to hold the Summit?
On 13th May 2010, the UN General Assembly unanimously passed a resolution on the prevention and control of NCDs, calling for a UN Summit on NCDs to be held in September 2011. In total, 130 states cosponsored the resolution, signalling that the world has recognized the urgency and priority of addressing the growing threat posed by NCDs.

Who made the decision to hold a Summit?
The NCD Alliance officially launched the campaign requesting UN member states to hold a Summit on NCDs in May 2009 at an event summarized in the following report: Health and Development: Held back by Non-Communicable diseasesOver the following 12 months, the NCD Alliance worked with a wide range of partners around the world to build support for the Summit by UN Member States. The offical resolution calling for the UNS was tabled by the Caribbean Group of States (CARICOM), a grouping of 15 countries from the Caribbean. CARICOM secured support for the UNS over a period of several months leading up to the May 2010 vote and was successul in securing unanimous support.


What is the format of the Summit?
On 23 December 2010, the UN General Assembly adopted a Modalities Resolution outlining the details and agenda for the UN Summit. The following details were agreed by member states:

• UN Summit will be a two day meeting taking place on 19-20th September 2011 (at the UN in New York);
• Adoption of a concise action-oriented outcome document by Member States at the close of the Summit;
• UN Member States should be represented at the Summit by Heads of State or Heads of Government;
• UN Member States should include civil society in their national delegations to the Summit;
• Three thematic roundtables will be held during the UN Summit covering:
Incidence and impact;
National capacity policy, prevention and control;
International cooperation and coordination
• The President of the General Assembly to organize interactive civil society consultations prior to June 2011 which will input into the Summit Outcomes Document;
• A representative of civil society will address the Summit during the opening session;

Who will attend the meeting?
The meeting will be attended by Heads of State, Ministers and other government representatives, civil society, the private sector, academia, and other stakeholders.

Who are the key member states driving preparations for the Summit?
Luxembourg and Jamaica have been appointed as the meetings co-facilitators and will lead consultations with UN member states and oversee the process of drafting an outcomes document to be agreed by member states in the months leading up to the UN Summit. Switzerland, who is President of the UN General Assembly’s current 65th Session until September 2011, will have a key role in UNS preparations. The President of the 66th General Assembly, who will assume office in September 2011, is also expected to have an important role, although key details and decisions concerning the UNS (including negotiation of the draft Outcomes Statement) will have been finalized before they take office.

CARICOM states will also be key influencers as the grouping that led the campaign for the UNS within the UN. In addition, Russia will hold a Ministerial Conference on NCDs on 28-29 April 2011 and will be another key member state.

What is the role of the World Health Organization?
The World Health Organization (WHO) is expected to support Member States, UN Regional Commissions, other UN Offices, Funds and Programmes, the World Bank and other relevant stakeholders in holding consultations as part of the preparatory process for the Summit. For further information on the role of the WHO, please refer to the information note WHO has produced for the UNS at http://www.who.int/nmh/events/2011/ncd_summit/en/index.html.


Download the NCD Alliance Proposed Outcomes Document for the UN High-Level Summit and the NCD Alliance / Lancet Summary of Priority Cost-Effective Interventions for the UN High-Level Summit

What is an Outcomes Document?

UN High-Level Summits often conclude with agreement by UN member states to take a series of actions to address a particular global problem. These can take the form of Chairs Statements, Declarations or Outcomes Documents. For the UNS in September 2011, UN member states have committed to agreeing to an ‘action orientated outcomes document’ (the strongest possible agreement) which will include national and global targets on the global NCD pandemic that governments will commit to achieving.

Why is it important?

While not binding under international law, an outcomes document is considered one of the most powerful tools within the UN for international cooperation and action. If commitments within an outcomes document are backed up by accountability and monitoring mechanisms, regular progress reviews, and the necessary resources (international and domestic), an outcomes document can be a powerful global political tool that produces significant progress on the issues under consideration, as demonstrated by past outcomes documents on HIV/AIDS and other development priorities.

What is the NCD Alliance Proposed Outcomes Document?

The NCD Alliance Proposed Outcomes Document contains the target and goals that we are asking UN member states to commit to achieving at the conclusion of the UNS. The culmination of 5 months of consultations with leading experts, patients and NCD organizations, the NCD Alliance Outcomes Document is landmark milestone in the global fights against NCDs that contains 34 priority global NCD targets under 8 categories: leadership, prevention, diagnostics and treatment, health systems, resources, research, human rights / vulnerability and monitoring / follow up.

Why has the NCD Alliance completed a Proposed Outcomes Document?

The NCD Alliance is the only global organization that has over 900 member associations across the world that focus exclusively on cancer, cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes, and over 1500 organizations in its extended network. As a result, the NCD Alliance has an important stake in ensuring the UN Summit produces concrete change and has legitimacy to issue such a statement as a global voice of those living with or affected by NCDs. Our aim with this document is to ensure that government commitments are converted into action which can be measured and monitored and reverse the NCD epidemic which kills 35 million people every year.


1. Between now and the UNS, country missions to the UN in New York will negotiate the UNS Outcome Document which will be adopted in September. Build relationships with like-minded NGOs and use the NCD Alliance Outcomes Document as the basis for your discussions and engagement. You may also wish to expand or adapt NCD Alliance targets at national level. Civil society has a vital role to play in shaping the outcomes of the UNS and the NCD Alliance Proposed Outcomes Document will serve as a core reference document for civil society engagement.

2. Send the NCD Alliance Proposed Outcomes Document to your Head of State and request their attendance at the UNS. Their attendance is essential to ensure the meeting achieves the highest level of political support and attracts the world’s attention.

3. Urge your government to include representatives of civil society in their delegations to the UNS. You can contact other organizations in your country to develop a common strategy for this advocacy effort.

4. Influence your government’s participation at the UNS by shaping their statements prior to the meeting. It is vital that the unique perspectives and experience of the civil society sector are included in these preparations and deliberations.


Regular updates will be posted on the NCD Alliance website at www.ncdalliance.org.

Visit the UN General Assembly President’s website for the Summit at http://www.un.org/en/ga/president/65/issues/ncdiseases.shtml

Visit the World Health Organization website for the Summit at http://www.who.int/nmh/events/un_ncd_summit2011/en/index.html

Further information can be found in The NCD Alliance Plan for the United Nations Summit on Non-Communicable Diseases.

Interested NGOs are invited to join the NCD Alliance Common Interest Group which will provide regular updates on the UN Summit and hold teleconferences briefings. Please e-mail [email protected] if you are interested in joining this group.