UN General Assembly adopts resolution on the prevention and control of noncommunicable disease

Dr. Ala Alwan, World Health Organization Assistant Director General for Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health had the following message for stakeholders in light of the UN General Assembly's unanimous adoption of a resolution to counter the neglected global epidemic of noncommunicable diseases:


Dear Friends,

As you may be aware, the UN General Assembly unanimously adopted a
resolution last night on the prevention and control of noncommunicable
diseases (NCDs), which seeks to halt the increasing trends in premature
deaths from NCDs worldwide, with a particular focus on developing

The resolution builds on objective 1 of the NCD Global Strategy Action
Plan 2008-2013, which calls on global development initiatives to take
into account the prevention and control of NCDs and raise the priority
accorded to NCD in development work at global and national levels.

The resolution calls on Member States and the international community
- convene a high-level meeting of the General Assembly in September
2011, with the participation of Heads of State and Government, on the
prevention and control of NCDs;
- include at the high-level plenary meeting to review the MDGs in
September 2010, discussions on the rising incidence and the
socio-economic impact of NCDs in developing countries; and
- request the UN Secretary-General to prepare a global status report on
NCDs, with a particular focus on the developmental challenges faced by
developing countries.

This initiative comes on the heels of the Ministerial Declaration
adopted at ECOSOC High-level Segment in July 2009, which calls for
urgent action to implement the NCD Global Strategy Action Plan endorsed
by the World Health Assembly in May 2008.

The "Doha Declaration on NCDs and Injuries" issued by the participants
of the ECOSOC/UNESCWA/WHO Western Asia Ministerial Meeting organized in
May 2009 under the leadership of the Prime-Minister of Qatar, underlines
the importance of raising the priority accorded to NCD in development
work at global and national levels.

In his address during the General Debate of the 64th session of the UN
General Assembly in September 2009, the Prime-Minister of Trinidad and
Tobago then called on the Assembly to convene a high-level meeting on
NCDs at the earliest opportunity.

This was followed by a statement on Commonwealth action to combat NCDs
issued at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in November 2009.

Introducing the draft resolution on behalf of the Caribbean Community
(CARICOM) in the UN General Assembly yesterday, the representative of
Trinidad and Tobago said that NCDs accounted for 60 per cent of all
deaths globally but had not received the level of attention,
coordination or funding that reflected their staggering mortality rate
and socio-economic impact in developing countries.

The representatives of Spain (on behalf of the EU) and the US welcomed
the adoption after the vote. Spain's representative, pledging EU's
action, said that many of the diseases under discussion were avoidable
and that activities should focus on reinforcing preventive measures. He
considered WHO to play a major role in developing and utilizing
standardized indicators.

The representative of the US said it was committed to reducing the
threat of NCDs through initiatives of the First Lady of the United
States, Michelle Obama, and support to actions by other countries in a
way that was complementary to the global strategies of the WHO.

As we push for solutions to the greatest public health burden, we are
eager for innovative thinking and approaches. I should like to thank
all Member States and international partners in helping to increase
action to address the leading cause of death in the world.

Tackling NCDs constitutes one of the major challenges for sustainable
development in the twenty-first century. I look forward to working with
you towards the next milestone.

With my best wishes,

Dr Ala Alwan
Assistant Director-General
Noncommunicable Diseases & Mental Health
World Health Organization
20 Avenue Appia, 1211 Geneva 27

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