a civil society alliance for combatting chronic disease in the caribbean

Healthy Caribbean Coalition - A UN Summit on Non-Communicable Diseases

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NCD Alliance Q & A


What is a UN Summit?

The UN General Assembly, the principal decision-making body of the UN which represent all UN member states, has decided to hold a UN 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.

What is the focus of the Summit?

In May 2010, UN member states passed UN resolution 64/265, which states that the Summit 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.’

Who is it being organised by?

The UN Summit on NCDs (UNS) will be organized under the direction of the UN General Assembly, with the support of the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) and the World Health Organization (WHO). The logistics will be organized by the UN Department for General Assembly and Conference Management (DGACM).

When and where will it take place?

The meeting will take place at UN Headquarters in New York. The dates and length are still to be determined, although the meeting is expected to take place within the period of 18-20 September 2011 before the opening of the main UN General Assembly Session on 21st September 2011.

Is it a Summit or a High-Level Meeting?

The official name for the meeting specified in UN Resolution 64/265 is a ‘High-Level Meeting with the participation of Heads of State and Government.’ Although this term is similar and nearly interchangeable with the term ‘Summit’, a Summit implies the attendance of Heads of State. Therefore, the NCD Alliance recommends usage of the term ‘UN Summit on NCDs (UNS)’ for referring to the meeting.

Why is it important?

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.

What do we need to do to ensure the Summit is a turning point for NCDs?

Ensuring that major change results from the UNS requires concerted effort by all sectors in the lead-up to the event in order to agree specific measurable outcomes and results. Civil society has a critical role to play in shaping the agenda and in delivering concrete outcomes in partnership with governments and communities.

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