September 2013: Highlights from the UN

This September, world leaders, policymakers, and civil society advocates convened at UN Headquarters in New York City for the high-level week around the opening of the 68th Session of the UN General Assembly.

The NCD Alliance co-hosted several high-profile events during the week, drawing on our campaign to put non-commuicable diseases (NCDs) on the global development agenda. Click here to learn more about our vision for health in the post-2015 development agenda.

Focus on NCDs in the official UN debates

Governments kept their statements primarily focused on the current MDGs and the general outline, modalities, and overarching priorities for the post-2015 development agenda during the General and Special Event debates. Still, we were pleased to hear several countries specifically reference the importance of attention to NCDs now and in the post-2015 development framework in their remarks:

All Member State interventions at the UN General Debate can be found here. Videos and transcripts of statements made at the Special Event on MDGs can be found here

Summaries of NCD Alliance events

Monday, 23 September: NCDs & Disability: Creating Synergies, Reducing Inequalities, Advancing Development

On the occasion of the UN High-level Meeting on Disability and Development (HLMDD), the NCD Alliance co-hosted a side event NCDs & Disability: Creating synergies, reducing inequalities, advancing development together with the CARICOM Community, the Permanent Missions of Costa Rica, Ecuador and New Zealand, and PAHO/WHO.

The side event featured several high-level speakers including the Prime Minister of St. Kitts & Nevis, Honorable Dr. Denzil L. Douglas and PAHO Director Dr. Carissa Etienne. Moderated by Sir George Alleyne, the event aimed to raise awareness of the relationship between NCDs and disability, and their social and economic impact and shared barriers to equity, particularly in low and middle income countries. With discussions taking place at a time when the UN is focusing on the roadmap to the future development agenda, Dr. Douglas called upon bold actions to ensure that NCDs and disabilities are included in the post-2015 framework.

The event served as the official launch our new policy brief, Sustainable Equitable Development: Addressing Non-Communicable Diseases and Disability Throughout the Lifecourse, produced in collaboration with Handicap International, HelpAge International, and Alzheimer’s Disease International.

Monday, 23 September: Healthy Planet, Healthy People: Building Synergies for Sustainable Development












On the occasion of the UN Special Event on the MDGs on Wednesday 25 September, the United States Government and the CARICOM Community, with the NCD Alliance and the NCD Roundtable, co-hosted a side event entitled Healthy Planet, Healthy People: Building Synergies for Sustainable Development. Dr Richard Horton, Editor of The Lancet, moderated a lively panel discussion on the lessons learnt from the MDG era for health, the importance of including NCDs as a central part of the post-2015 framework, and the challenges of integrating health across all dimensions of sustainable development.

The multisectoral panel included US Ambassador Jimmy Kolker, WHO Assistant Director-General Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, Chancellor of the University of the West Indies Sir George Alleyne, Founder of the Pakistan-based NGO Heartfile Dr Sania Nishtar, Vice-President of Access to Sport at Nike Ms Lisa MacCallum, and member of the global health team at Bloomberg Philanthropies Dr. Sarah England.

Participants discussed different approaches to bringing all relevant sectors together around a joint response to the NCD epidemic, including the need for a more pragmatic approach to governance, capacity-building for national advocacy and a stronger epistemic community, as well as the urgent need to bring affected communities and patients to the table.

Thursday 26th September: NGO Strategy Meeting: Health in the Post-2015 Development Agenda

The NCD Alliance, the UN Foundation, and the International HIV/AIDS Alliance convened a meeting for health NGOs to take stock of the post-2015 discussions thus far, share priorities, and identify areas for collaborative advocacy going forward. Participants discussed shared principles for health in post-2015 and identified areas of collaboration for the coming weeks and months.

UN Photo/Mark Garten