NCDs and the three pillars of sustainable development
Sustainable development: “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
Improving the health of populations, including preventing and controlling NCDs, is integral to ensuring progress across the three pillars of economic growth, social equity, and environmental protection—with the ultimate goal of achieving sustainable development.
Numerous UN declarations, resolutions, and international agreements demonstrate that governments recognise the interconnections between health, NCDs, and sustainable development.
The 2002 Johannesburg Declaration on Sustainable Development indicates early recognition of this relationship, and more recently, the 2012 UN Political Declaration on the Prevention and Control of NCDs acknowledges that the global burden of NCDs “undermines social and economic development throughout the world.” Despite political recognition, however, the global response to the NCD epidemic has been slow, and the epidemic continues to grow, hindering progress on sustainable development.
The impact of the NCD epidemic on economic growth indicates that health is an important factor in economic development and affirms a more holistic approach to development. National, regional, and global wellbeing increasingly depends on a development process that values healthy social and environmental systems along with economic growth in the drive to achieve sustainable development.
Addressing NCDs is critical for economic growth and to alleviate poverty
NCDs hamper economic growth at the global and national level by adversely affecting workers productivity and diverting resources from productive purposes to treating disease. NCDs are estimated to cause cumulative global economic losses of $47 trillion USD by 2030, or about 75% of the 2010 global GDP.
Reducing NCDs is a prerequisite to addressing social and economic inequity and accelerating sustainable development
NCDs and sustainable development depend on addressing inequities that hold people and societies in poverty and hinder economic improvements.
Social determinants, such as education and income, influence vulnerability to NCDs and exposure to their modifiable risk factors.
People of lower education and economic status are increasingly exposed to NCD risks and are disproportionately affected by NCDs.
Addressing the social determinants of NCDs and health more broadly will augment progress towards poverty eradication and foster a more equitable society that supports sustainable development.
Unsustainable environmental systems increase NCD risks
Unsustainable environmental systems exacerbate NCD risks and directly contribute to the growing NCD burden.