a civil society alliance for combatting chronic disease in the caribbean

Healthy Caribbean Coalition - Press Release - 16 December 2010 - United Nations High-Level Summit on prevention and control of Non-Communicable Diseases – September 2011

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The UN General Assembly, the principal decision-making body of the UN which represent all UN member states, triggered by the Heads of Government of CARICOM, has decided to hold a UN High Level Summit on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in order to bring global attention to these diseases and agree on a plan of action to address them.

This United Nations Summit (UNHLS) will focus on the ‘four most prominent non-communicable diseases, namely, cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes’, and the ‘common risk factors of tobacco use, alcohol abuse, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and environmental carcinogens.’

The Summit is the biggest and best opportunity to put NCDs on the global agenda. It has the potential to secure commitment from Heads of Government for a coordinated global response to NCDs, substantially increase financial resources for NCDs and save millions from premature death and debilitating health complications. It also has the potential to lead to measurable targets and commitments from governments to take action on NCDs for which they can be monitored and held accountable through regular reporting.

The Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC) as a major umbrella body representing many non governmental organisations and civil society bodies throughout the Caribbean, is mobilising support for the High Level Summit in an effort to get maximum participation by Heads of State, Ministers and other government representatives, civil society, the private sector, academia, and other stakeholders, with a view to obtaining the best possible outcome from the Summit for the people of the Region.

Chairman of HCC, Professor Trevor Hassell, commented that “in order to achieve major positive and significant measurable specific results and outcomes from the United Nations Summit, all sectors need to be involved in a concerted effort in the lead-up to the event”. Prof. Hassell went on to say that “civil society has a critical role to play in shaping the agenda and in delivering concrete outcomes in partnership with governments and communities”.

The Healthy Caribbean Coalition shares a widely held international perspective that outcomes of the Summit should include that:

  • Governments are held accountable and are measured on the extent to which they establish and implement national NCD plans
  • Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) be fully implemented
  • global commitment to prevent the preventable be made
  • Globally agreed approaches to NCD treatment and care are determined
  • Resources are made available to deliver NCD interventions
  • NCDs are included in the Millennium Development Successor Goals.

For further information on the work of the HCC and the United Nations High Level Summit on Chronic Diseases, please visit our website www.healthycaribbean.org or contact a member of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition.