NCDs- What's Happened in One Year

NCDs- What's Happened In One Year

Thu 20 Sep 2012

Story by The Food Revolution Team

It’s hard to believe that is has already been one whole year since world leaders, policymakers and civil society gathered in New York for the UN High-Level Summit on Non Communicable Diseases (NCDs).

At this High-Level meeting the Political Declaration on the Prevention and Control of NCDs was unanimously adopted by the 34 heads of state present who agreed that the global burden and threats of NCDs constitute one of the major challenges for development in the twenty-first century, undermining social and economic development throughout the world.

Following this, at the 65th World Health Assembly (WHA) earlier in May this year, the historic target to reduce preventable NCD mortality by 25% by 2025 was set. Achieving this target will initiate major improvements in prevention, treatment and care of NCDs.
In addition to this overarching target, Member States also committed a consensus on additional targets relating to four main risk factors for NCDs; unhealthy diet and physical inactivity, harmful use of alcohol and tobacco use and further targets relating to obesity, fat intake, alcohol and cholesterol are also being considered.

In this past year, many more steps have been taken to tackle NCDs across UN agencies, and countries are being encouraged to develop national NCD plans to take ownership of the problem, monitoring progress and cooperate on an international level. Governments worldwide are also participating in World Health Organisation (WHO) consultations to strengthen health systems and primary healthcare for NCDs.

Major National NCD Plans to improve prevention, treatment and care which have been launched so far include:

• The heads of World Health Organisation and United Nations Development Program instructed all WHO/UNDP country offices to include NCDs in national development strategies:

• Denmark, France, Hungary, Finland, Peru and New York City have all implemented taxes on unhealthy foods (e.g. foods with a high saturated fat, salt and sugar content)

• South Africa has already set targets committed to reducing obesity and overweight by 10%, and increasing number of people controlled for diabetes by 30%, by 2020.

• Fiji doubled funding for NCD prevention in 2012, are increasing taxes on cigarettes and alcohol, and aim to decrease taxes on fruits and vegetables.

• Rwanda + Uganda are carrying out national NCD surveys to monitor and assess the scale of the problem and establish what interventions are needed.

• In China 15 government ministries drafted and adopted the 2012-2015 multisectoral NCD Working Plan and India has launched a 5 year national plan to reduce NCDs.

• Whole-of-government mechanisms to coordinate action on NCDs have been established in countries including Jordan, Malaysia, Norway, Suriname and Uganda.

• And major international financial commitments have been made by countries including Australia, Russia and South Korea to help address NCDs and implement action to prevent them.

There is still much to be done, and the global action plan and monitoring framework, along with more goals and targets, are still being developed and decided on before the end of the year. These will then be sent to the WHO Executive Board for discussion at their meeting in January before a final draft is submitted to the 66th WHA in May 2013 for adoption.

Let’s hope that within these there will be clear, ambitious and realistic global targets, supported by action plans for reducing overweight and obesity and tackling unhealthy diet.

The Food Revolution Team

Find out more about the progress made in the global fight against NCDs

Photo Credit: WHO/Pierre Albouy


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