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Financing dialogue hears about civil society advocacy for mobilising resources

Participants at a session hosted by the NCD Alliance at this week’s WHO dialogue on financing for NCDs discussed lessons learned about various examples of civil society advocacy for resource mobilisation in Denmark, Mali, Mexico, and at the global level for tobacco taxation.

Lessons learned from these case studies included:

  • The need for a clear plan with set priorities and asks in an attractive package in order to unlock financing;
  • Tailored messages and narratives that include the voices of people living with, at risk of, or affected by NCDs; and
  • Mobilising public support behind resource mobilisation strategies for NCDs.

The session, entitled Advocacy for resource mobilization for NCDs: The role of civil society for holding stakeholders accountable, explored the roles of civil society in resource mobilisation for NCDs. These roles include advocacy on improving data and increasing resource allocation to NCDs within universal health coverage schemes, accountability, and the role of civil society as supportive and catalytic to governments.

Speakers also highlighted the importance of establishing broad coalitions and engaging non-health sectors – including environment, urban planning, and transparency organisations – when advocating for fiscal and regulatory measures, and the need for on-going advocacy.

The NCDA session was part of the WHO Global Dialogue on Partnerships for Sustainable Financing for NCD Prevention and Control, held 9-11 April in Copenhagen, Denmark. The Dialogue brought together 300 participants from NCD civil society, academia, private sector, UN agencies and ministries of health and finance to discuss existing and potential sources of finance and development cooperation to close the resource gap in the NCD response.

Over the course of two and a half days, a mix of plenary and concurrent workshop sessions explored the current state of financing for NCD prevention and control, cost-effective interventions to close the resource gap, building the investment case for NCDs, the role of partnerships and the various actors in partnerships, and various aspects of the NCD response such as digital health solutions and the health workforce.

Many speakers and participants also highlighted the need to establish clear conflict of interest policies and mechanisms to protect polices from vested commercial and industry interference prior to entering any partnership. While the private sector is a key actor in the NCD response and a necessary partner in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), it is important to recognise that the private sector is not a homogeneous group and cannot all be treated alike, noted speakers.

Additionally, The Lancet Taskforce on NCDs and Economics launched a series of five papers that links NCDs to at least eight other SDGs and demonstrates the connection between economic growth and the NCD response.

The five papers demonstrate:

  • How poverty drives and is driven by NCDs, but that financial protection from high medical costs and catastrophic health expenditure can break this cycle;
  • Price policies and taxation are effective means to reduce NCD risk factors, are pro-poor, and can reduce inequalities; and
  • Investment in NCD prevention and control results in increased economic growth.

The Taskforce papers are a key resource on understanding the financial and economic implications of NCDs, and are instrumental in building the investment case for NCDs.

The outcomes of the Global Dialogue will likely feed into the preparations for the third United Nations High-Level Meeting on NCDs, to be held on 27 September at UN Headquarters in New York.