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World Leaders Unanimously Approve NCD Political Declaration

World leaders attending the first-ever U.N. High-level Meeting on Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) kicked off the summit on Monday by “unanimously approving a ‘political declaration’ meant to stem a rising tide of [NCDs], now the world’s leading killer,” CNN reports (Ariosto, 9/19). The declaration “call[s] for a multi-pronged campaign by governments, industry and civil society to set up by 2013 the plans needed to curb the risk factors behind the four groups of NCDs — cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes,” according to the U.N. News Centre.

The document “highlights the need for universal national health coverage and strengthened international cooperation to provide technical assistance and capacity-building to developing countries” and “calls on WHO … to set up a comprehensive global monitoring framework and prepare recommendations for voluntary global targets before the end of 2012,” the U.N. News Centre writes (9/19). In addition, the declaration recommends local, national and regional programs to “promot[e] healthier diets, tobacco-free workplaces, access to cancer screening programs and breastfeeding for about six months from birth, as well as encourag[e] alliances to discover new medicines,” according to Reuters.

Though the declaration does not set specific targets to reduce the impact of NCDs, “[m]embers of the health community said the effort was an important start nonetheless,” the news agency reports (Krauskopf/Sherman, 9/19). CNN reports the document “is expected to be adopted in full after a second day of discussion Tuesday. But it will then depend on cooperation from companies that produce food, alcohol and tobacco products to implement broad-sweeping policy shifts to achieve lasting changes that U.N. members say they are hoping for” (9/19).

Live webcasts of Tuesday’s sessions can be viewed on Channel 3 of the U.N. Webcast page by clicking here.