International · Law · International norms

Political Declaration of the High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases

Objectives:

To shed light on the global burden and threat of non-communicable diseases as one of the major challenges for development in the twenty-first century

Scope:

The Political Declaration was adopted following the organization of the first high-level meeting of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in 2011.

The Political Declaration acknowledges that the burden of NCDs is a “challenge of epidemic proportions” that has profound socio-economic effects.  Moreover, it “[r]recognize[s] that the most prominent non-communicable diseases are linked to common risk factors, namely tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, an unhealthy diet and lack of physical activity” (para 20), and “that the conditions in which people live and their lifestyles influence their health and quality of life and that poverty, uneven distribution of wealth, lack of education, rapid urbanization, population ageing and the economic social, gender, political, behavioural and environmental determinants of health are among the contributing factors to the rising incidence and prevalence of noncommunicable diseases” (para 21).

In the Political Declaration the international community commits to “[a]dvance the implementation of multisectoral, cost-effective, population-wide interventions in order to reduce the impact of the common non-communicable disease risk factors” (para 43), and to that end, inter alia:

  • “Develop, strengthen and implement, as appropriate, multisectoral public policies and action plans to promote health education and health literacy, including through evidence-based education and information strategies and programmes in and out of schools and through public awareness campaigns” (para 43(b))
  • “Advance the implementation of the Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health, including, where appropriate, through the introduction of policies and actions aimed at promoting healthy diets and increasing physical activity in the entire population” (para 43(d))
  • “Promote the implementation of the World Health Organization Set of Recommendations on the Marketing of Foods and Non-alcoholic Beverages to Children” (para 43(f))
  • “Promote the development and initiate the implementation, as appropriate, of cost-effective interventions to reduce salt, sugar and saturated fats and eliminate industrially produced trans-fats in foods, including through discouraging the production and marketing of foods that contribute to unhealthy diet” (para 43(g))