Over 50 leading experts from the global health community have come together to write in The Lancet calling on Political Declaration negotiators to address 8 key areas to ensure a more bold outcome.
In the letter “The how: a message for the UN high-level meeting on NCDs” experts, including academics, leaders of the key NCDs organisations, and officials from Ministries of Health and the United Nations, are concerned that ambitious NCD targets will only be achieved if countries commit to a series of actions including:
- Heads of Government leadership for multisector action and accountability on the social determinants of NCDs;
- Commitments to taxing sugar (not just sugar-sweetened beverages, but also sugary snacks), tobacco and alcohol;
- Commitments to remove subsidies for processed foods, alcohol and fossil-fuels as well as divesting from tobacco, alcohol and fossil-fuels;
- Effective regulation to improve food production and formulation, restrict harmful marketing (particularly to children), mandate better labelling and set price incentives for healthier consumption.
The letter by Friends of the UN HLM on NCDs also calls on negotiators for NCDs responses that engage people living with NCDs in meaningful ways, that uphold principles of equity, human rights and gender equality and that are butressed by more effective and independent accountability mechanisms.
Despite various areas requiring strengthening, the zero draft contains some strong elements based on the report of the WHO Independent High-Level Commission on NCDs, including the involvement of civil society and people living with NCDs, the integration of mental health in the NCD response, links to UHC, and the need for follow up and accountability.
The letter reinforces NCDA’s recommendations for ensuring that the UN HLM counts for all people, which is the result of extensive analysis of the zero draft and consultation with civil society leading to the incorporation of over 140 comments from network members into a comprehensive set of comments and suggestions on the proposed language, gaps, and revisions for the Political Declaration on NCDs.