In less than one year’s time, a momentous opportunity will present itself to put non-communicable diseases (NCDs) on the global health and development agenda.
The UN High Level Summit on Non-Communicable Diseases in September 2011 is a global platform from which the world can be moved from rhetoric to action. Since the UN Summit was announced on 13 May 2010, the four partners of the NCD Alliance—the International Diabetes Federation, World Heart Federation, the Union for International Cancer Control and the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (The Union)—have been hard at work putting together civil society plans and strategies for the Summit and the partnership structures to deliver strong outcomes.
The historical decision to hold a Summit is something the NCD Alliance had been campaigning for since 2009. Today, the NCD Alliance is launching its comprehensive NCD Alliance Plan for the United Nations Summit on Non-Communicable Diseases, which sets out a programme of work in the lead and immediate aftermath to the UN Summit.
“NCDs have been a silent killer for too long; the Alliance Plan signifies a strong and active global NCD community intent on making a difference. The UN Summit is our opportunity to fix the problem – we either use it or lose it,” said Professor Jean Claude Mbanya, International Diabetes Federation President. “We need a platform to discuss solutions to the growing danger posed by NCDs, and agree on future action to tackle the epidemic. This document clearly lays out the Alliance’s goals and deliverables for the Summit,” added Professor Pekka Puska, President of the World Heart Federation. NCDs (cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes) and their common risk factors of tobacco use, unhealthy diet and and physical inactivity, make the largest contribution to mortality both globally and in the majority of low- and middle- income countries.
The UN Summit process will bolster progress towards building NCDs into global development targets for the future. To ensure certain key 'asks' are achieved from the Summit, including globally agreed approaches to NCD treatment and care, allocating sufficient resources to deliver global NCD interventions, and full implementation of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the NCD Alliance is coordinating a programme of technical work. “Work is well underway to ensure the opportunity of the UN Summit is maximised for people living with cancer and other NCDs.
We will be using the NCD Alliance Plan to inform and mobilise the NCD community to achieve globally-agreed approaches to NCD treatment and care,” said Dr Eduardo Cazap, President of the Union for International Cancer Control. “NCDs account for over 60% of all global deaths; the UN Summit will bring great attention to this issue and hopefully lead to concrete outcomes to mark the turning point for NCDs,” said Dr S. Bertel Squire, President of The Union.
The NCD Alliance is committed to exerting the strongest possible influence on the UN Summit and through the Summit, to make countries more accountable for providing better NCD prevention and care infrastructure, and outcomes.