Key UN and WHO Documents Ι Resources Ι Links
Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) – comprising mainly cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes – are the leading cause of death worldwide. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates 38 million people die from NCDs each year, nearly 16 million of them prematurely. Eighty-two per cent of premature deaths occur in developing countries, where the burden of NCDs is increasing rapidly. A large proportion of NCDs are preventable, sharing modifiable risk factors including tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and the harmful use of alcohol.
In 2011, the landmark United Nations General Assembly High-Level Meeting on the Prevention and Control of NCDs brought global recognition of NCDs as ‘one of the major challenges for development in the twenty-first century', and a ‘threat to the economies' of many States. In the Political Declaration adopted at the Meeting, States committed to advance implementation of population-wide interventions to reduce exposure to NCD risk factors, strengthen health systems, promote the treatment and care of people with NCDs, and strengthen international cooperation to meet shared challenges. They underlined that multisectoral action is essential; that responding to NCDs requires a whole-of-government and whole-of-society effort. These commitments have shaped the development of a framework for global and national responses.
Established elements of the global NCD framework now include:
On 10-11 July 2014, the UN General Assembly held a second High-level meeting to comprehensively review progress made in implementing the commitments of the Political Declaration, identify gaps in action, and build consensus on scaling up responses to prevent and control NCDs at the national level, where progress has been recognised as ‘insufficient and highly uneven’.
In the review Outcomes document, States reaffirmed the Political Declaration, which has ‘catalysed action and retains great potential for engendering sustainable improved health and human development outcomes’. They also reaffirmed the primary role and responsibility of Governments in responding to the challenge of NCDs and the need for multisectoral approaches to health. States committed to address NCDs as matter of priority in national development plans and give due consideration to addressing NCDs in the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda. They decided to hold another high-level comprehensive review in 2018.
Key WHO and UN Documents:
- World Health Organization, Non-Communicable Disease Country Profiles (2014)
- Tania Voon, Andrew D. Mitchell, Jonathan Liberman (eds) Regulating Tobacco, Alcohol and Unhealthy Foods: The Legal Issues, Routledge (2014)
- Jonathan Liberman, Making Effective Use of the Law in the Global Governance of NCD Prevention, in Tania Voon, Andrew D. Mitchell, Jonathan Liberman (eds) Regulating Tobacco, Alcohol and Unhealthy Foods: The Legal Issues Routledge, (2014)
- Alexandra Jones, Building legal capacity into an accelerated NCD response, McCabe Centre Blog (2014)
- Neil Pearce, Shah Ebrahim et al, 'The road to 25 x 25, how can the five target strategy reach its goal?' Lancet Global Health (2014)
- Intergovernmental Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, Outcome Document (2014)
- Lancet series on Non-Communicable Diseases (2013)
- David Bloom et al. The global economic burden of noncommunicable diseases (2012)
- George Alleyne, Agnes Binagwaho et al, Embedding noncommunicable diseases in the post-2015 development agenda, Lancet (2013)
- UN System Task Team on the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda, Realizing the Future We Want For All: Report to the Secretary-General (2012)