Progress in UN system's fight against non-communicable diseases

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Representatives from 7 UN organizations, including the IAEA, met in Vienna from 11-12 December 2012 to discuss ways to implement a global plan of action to mitigate the debilitating effects of non-communicable diseases. (Photo: R. Quevenco/IAEA)

Representatives from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and several UN agencies have drafted an Action Plan to bring forward the global agenda for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). The Task Force also decided to continue with individual or joint initiatives among UN agencies and discussed models for funding and further coordination.

The group was meeting 15 months after a high-level UN political declaration on NCDs made in New York in September 2011. 

IAEA Deputy Director General and Head of the Department of Technical Cooperation, Kwaku Aning, told the Task Force meeting “The decision to host this meeting in Vienna is significant for several reasons. It recognizes the contribution of the IAEA to the prevention and control of NCDs, in particular in cancer control. It also demonstrates that the path taken by the WHO and the IAEA in 2009 in joining forces to fight cancer efficiently can be brought to the next level by joining the forces of all the relevant UN agencies, funds and programmes to effectively address non-communicable diseases.”

Non-communicable diseases cover cardiovascular diseases, chronic respiratory diseases, cancer and diabetes. The four major risk factors for NCDs are tobacco use, diet, lack of physical activity and use of alcohol. 

A core principle of the Political Declaration is that the health sector cannot combat the effects of NCDs by itself; it requires the cooperation and strategic collaboration with other sectors to do an effective job.

The main purpose of the Fourth Task Force Meeting on NCDs was to create a work plan and explore areas of collaboration among UN agencies. It further sought to develop common strategies for the UN family to work together to scale up and intensify collaboration to effectively combat NCDs.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’42″

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