CIVIL SOCIETY STATEMENT
Time to Deliver in 2018: Bolder Commitments and Action Needed to Reverse the Tide of Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health Disorders
The NCD Alliance and over 200 civil society organisations (CSOs) welcome the Report of the WHO Independent High-Level Commission on Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs), Time To Deliver, launched on Friday 1 June in Geneva, Switzerland, ahead of crucial negotiations for the United Nations High-Level Meeting on NCDs (UN HLM) taking place in New York on 27 September.
The Commission’s report draws a line in the sand on the need for political leaders to accept that progress to date has been severely inadequate and out of step with the growing burden of NCDs and mental and neurological health. All evidence points to the same unpleasant reality: if the current pace of progress continues unabated, by 2030 the agreed Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target to reduce NCD mortality will remain a distant reality, failing millions of people and challenging the achievement of all other SDG targets and goals within and beyond health.
Millions more could suffer
The consequences of these projections are real and devastating. Millions more people and communities will have lost loved ones of all ages to avoidable death. Millions more will have witnessed the carnage of amputations and disability that these conditions cause when undiagnosed and untreated. Millions more will have struggled with the entrenched poverty and untold misery that are often the product of weak health and social protection systems.
The 40 million people who die every year due to NCDs and are repeatedly referenced in reports are not just numbers on a page. They are people, with families and stories, and a right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. But accidents of geography and poverty are still tragically cutting lives short.
As CSOs and people living with, aﬀected by, or at risk of NCDs, we are all too familiar with the realities on the ground and the consequences of political inertia to people, communities and the most vulnerable. Collectively, we have had enough of political inaction and the glacial progress on NCDs.
We are impatient for change, and we not only join the Commission in saying is it time for our governments to deliver, but that delivery on commitments is overdue and vital. If countries want to avoid sleepwalking into a sick future, the UN HLM must result in bold commitments and action.