International · Law · International norms

Global action plan for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases 2013-2030

Objectives:

The WHO Global Action Plan on NCDs operationalizes the commitments made in the Political Declaration of the High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases, recognizing the primary role and responsibility of governments in responding to the challenge of NCDs

Scope:

Endorsed by the World Health Assembly in 2013 through resolution WHA66.10, the Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases 2013-2020 (Global Action Plan on NCDs) operationalized the commitments made in the Political Declaration of the High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases in September 2011.

The Global Action Plan on NCDs focuses on 4 types of noncommunicable diseases (cardiovascular diseases, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes) and 4 “behavioural risk factors” (tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and harmful use of alcohol). It sets up a global monitoring framework consisting of 25 indicators and 9 voluntary global targets. To facilitate the achievement of these targets, the Global Action Plan on NCDs provides “a road map and a menu of policy options for all Member States and other stakeholders, to take coordinated and coherent action, at all levels, local to global” (page 8).

The scope of the Global Action Plan on NCDs is very broad. Its 6 objectives encompass broad health promotion goals such as strengthening health systems and strengthening national capacity in governance and research. Objective 3 is the closest to the scope of FULL: “to reduce modifiable risk factors for noncommunicable diseases and underlying social determinants through creation of health-promoting environments.”

One of the most relevant aspects of the Global Action Plan on NCDs is that Appendix 3 provides a menu of cost-effective policy options to assist Member States in implementing actions to achieve the voluntary global targets. It is foreseen that the policy options “be adapted at the regional and national levels, taking into account region specific situations and in accordance with national legislation and priorities and specific national circumstances” (page 10). It is clarified that the “list is not exhaustive but is intended to provide information and guidance on effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of interventions based on current evidence” (page 65). Some measures are highlighted as particularly effective and affordable for all countries. Some of the policy options listed are:

  • Implement the WHO Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health
  • Implement recommendations on the marketing of foods and non-alcoholic beverages to children
  • Reduce salt intake
  • Replace trans fats with unsaturated fats
  • Replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats
  • Implement public awareness programmes on diet and physical activity
  • Manage food taxes and subsidies to promote healthy diet

In 2019, the World Health Assembly decided to “extend the period of the action plans to 2030 in order to ensure their alignment with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” (Resolution WHA72(11), attached as supporting material).

In 2020, the WHO conducted a mid-term evaluation of the Global Action Plan on NCDs (attached as supporting material).