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TWN Info Service on Health Issues (Jan12/04)
26 January 2012
Third World Network


Work on non-communicable diseases moves forward
Published in Published in SUNS #7295 dated 26 January 2012

Geneva, 24 Jan (K. M. Gopakumar) - The Executive Board of the World Health Organisation (WHO), which met on 12-23 January 2012, adopted a resolution to work further on non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

The resolution sets a process to follow up on the High-Level Meeting of the UN General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (High-Level Meeting) which was held on 19-20 September 2011 at the UN headquarters in New York.

The resolution was initially proposed by Australia, Barbados, Canada, Costa Rica, Kenya, Norway, Russian Federation, Switzerland and the United States. It was adopted after the Board accepted the amendments proposed by Estonia, on behalf of the European Union, Timor Leste and France.

It contains 10 preambular paragraphs and two operational paragraphs.

Operational paragraph 2 (1) requests the WHO Director-General "to continue in an inclusive and transparent manner, the process underway to develop, a comprehensive global framework, including a set of indicators, capable of application across regional and country settings and to submit a set of voluntary targets for the prevention and control of NCDs by the end of 2012."

According to the resolution, WHO should build on the outcomes of the consultation with Member States and organisations of the UN system which was held on 9 January 2012. This task in the operational paragraph 2(1) was originally mandated under paragraphs 61 and 62 of the Political Declaration of the High-Level Meeting.

(In paragraph 61, Member States "call upon WHO, with the full participation of Member States, informed by their national situations, through its existing structures, and in collaboration with United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, and other relevant regional and international organizations, as appropriate, building on continuing efforts to develop before the end of 2012, a comprehensive global monitoring framework, including a set of indicators, capable of application across regional and country settings, including through multi-sectoral approaches, to monitor trends and to assess progress made in the implementation of national strategies and plans on non-communicable diseases".

(Paragraph 62 calls "upon WHO, in collaboration with Member States through the governing bodies of WHO, and in collaboration with United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, and other relevant regional and international organizations, as appropriate, building on the work already under way, to prepare recommendations for a set of voluntary global targets for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, before the end of 2012.)

Eight sub-paragraphs of the operational paragraph 2 (1) provide detailed timelines for the process.

Sub-paragraph (a) sets a deadline of end of January 2012 for the Secretariat to provide additional information requested during the 9 January consultation. Sub-paragraph (b) mandates WHO to revise the draft framework and indicators and targets (framework) on the basis of a web-based hearing by the end of February 2012. Sub-paragraph ( c) provides for the holding of a Member States' consultation on the framework and indicators and targets prior to the 65th World Health Assembly (WHA), which will be held in May 2012.

Sub-paragraph (d) provides the mandate to the Secretariat to hold consultations with all interested stakeholders. Sub-paragraph (e) asks the Secretariat to submit a substantive progress report on the development of the framework to the upcoming WHA in May 2012. Sub-paragraph (f) mandates the regional consultations to provide further inputs into the framework/targets process as part of their broader discussions on implementation of the Political Declaration.

Sub-paragraph (g) asks the Secretariat to complete the work on the framework by the end of 2012 in consultation with Member States. Sub-paragraph (h) requests the Secretariat to submit the recommendations relating to paragraphs 61 and 62 of the Political Declaration to the 66th Session of the WHA in 2013, through the January 2013 session of the Executive Board.

Operational paragraph 2 (2) requests the Director-General to submit to the UN Secretary-General options for strengthening and facilitating multi-sectoral action for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases through effective and transparent partnership, while safeguarding public health from any potential conflict of interest as mandated under paragraph 64 of the Political Declaration.

(Paragraph 64 requests "the Secretary-General, in close collaboration with the Director-General of WHO, and in consultations with Member States, United Nations funds and programmes and other relevant international organizations, to submit by the end of 2012 to the General Assembly, at its sixty-seventh session, for consideration by Member States, options for strengthening and facilitating multi-sectoral action for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases through effective partnership".)

Operational paragraph 2 (3) requests the Director-General to submit a progress report and timeline for the process mentioned in paragraph 2 (2) to the upcoming WHA in May 2012.

Further, operational paragraph 2 (4) requests the Director-General to develop WHO's action plan for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases for 2013-2020 through a consultative manner.

The same paragraph also states that the process should take into account the outcomes of the High-Level Meeting, the Moscow Declaration on Health Lifestyles and Non-communicable Disease Control, the Rio Declaration on Social Determinants of Health and building on and being consistent with WHO strategies and tools on tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity.

Operational paragraph 2 (5) requests the Director-General to build on work from the 2008-2013 action plan, which inter alia called for WHO to provide support to countries in enhancing access to essential medicines, to facilitate engagement by governments, civil society and private sector in accordance with the Political Declaration of the High-Level Meeting. However, the engagement of civil society and private sector is qualified with the words "as appropriate". Further, private sector engagement is only with appropriate safeguards against conflicts of interest.

Operational paragraph 2 (6) requests the Director-General to submit the WHO action plan for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases for 2013 to 2020 to the 65th WHA session in 2013 for possible adoption.

Operational paragraph 1 (1) urges Member States to implement the Political Declaration of the High-Level Meeting. Operational paragraph 1 (2) urges to draw up political strategies, programmes and interventions and tools recommended by WHO to promote, establish, support and strengthen multi-sectoral national policies and plans for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases as mentioned in Paragraph 45 of the Political Declaration.

(Paragraph 45 of the Political Declaration deals with strengthening of national policies and health systems for the prevention and control of NCDs. Paragraph 45 commits UN Members to "Promote, establish or support and strengthen, by 2013, as appropriate, multi-sectoral national policies and plans for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases, taking into account, as appropriate, the 2008-2013 WHO Action Plan for the Global Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases, and the objectives contained therein and take steps to implement such policies and plans".)

Operational paragraph 1 (3) urges Member States to strengthen their commitment to implement non-communicable disease programmes in accordance with national priorities, including increased efforts on prevention, diagnostics and treatment, and to take steps to accelerate health-related donor harmonization and adherence to the aid effectiveness principle.

Operational paragraph 1 (4) urges Member States to participate fully in the WHO-led process of developing the framework mentioned above. It also urges Member States to consider incorporating elements of the framework into national planning exercises at the earliest opportunity in accordance with national priorities.

The issues came up for discussion under the mandate of WHA Resolution 64.11 which specifically requested the Director-General "to report to the Sixty-fifth World Health Assembly, through the Executive Board, on the outcomes of the first Global Ministerial Conference on Healthy Lifestyles and Non-communicable Disease Control and the high-level meeting".

Further, it requests the Director-General to develop, together with relevant United Nations agencies and entities, an implementation and follow-up plan for the outcomes, including its financial implications, for submission to the Sixty-sixth World Health Assembly, through the Executive Board.

However, reference to WHA 64.11 is missing from the Executive Board (EB) resolution. Hence, it is not clear how far the new process set in the EB resolution is to inform the mandate provided under WHA 64.11, i.e., an implementation and follow-up plan for the outcomes, including its financial implications, for submission to the Sixty-sixth World Health Assembly, through the Executive Board.

Several Member States who spoke on the agenda highlighted the importance of access to medicines and the need to maintain transparency and safeguards against conflicts of interest while dealing with the private sector.

 


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