Take Action on NCDs: Action Alerts

Action Alert - Tuesday, 25 October

We are writing to request your urgent action on two important meetings:

• Next week’s G20 Heads of State Summit
• Next year’s Rio + 20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development.

The G20 Summit

Leaders of G20 Nations will meet in Cannes, France on 3-4 November. France (the current G20 Chair) and countries such as Germany and South Africa have made a strong call for the G20 to adopt a financial transaction tax which could raise billions in funding for global health including the prevention and control of NCDs.

If you are from a G20 country, please write to your Head of State and key Ministers and ask them to support these efforts to renew funding for global health and development. A template letter is attached (http://bit.ly/uGy45F) for you to amend and send. Don’t forget to disseminate this letter through your networks, and use media and social media to raise awareness.

List of G20 Countries: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States and the European Union.

The Financial Transaction Tax: G20 page (http://bit.ly/vQnYFM) and MSF News Release (http://bit.ly/pKFOsl)

Rio + 20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development

From 4-6 June 2012, the UN is holding the biggest development meeting of the year, the Rio +20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development. The previous UN conference on sustainable development, which took place in 2002 in South Africa, was attended by over 21,000 people, including 9,000 government delegates, 8,000 NGOs and 4,000 members of the press. Rio is therefore a key opportunity for follow up action to the UN High-Level Meeting on NCDs.

The official Rio+20 website (http://bit.ly/hYAl4i) has created a web page for submissions to the compilation document, which will serve as a basis for the Zero Draft document [which will in turn form the basis of the Rio Final Declaration].

The deadline for submissions is only one week away: 1 November 2011. Please make a submission on your priorities, with emphasis on the links between development and NCDs and the need to cross-sectoral action on NCDs.

Submission Page: http://bit.ly/qWzVFL

Action Alert, 11 October 2011

Four weeks ago, UN Member States made a historic commitment to take urgent action to address the global NCD crisis. Civil society has sent a clear message to governments around the world in the weeks following the HLM - it can’t be business as usual for NCDs. We expect action and accountability.

We would like to share a brief outline of key next steps and the central role that members of the NCD Alliance Network have in holding governments accountable.

1. Ensure support for the Political Declaration: Ensure that your government lives up to the commitments it made at the HLM by sending the Political Declaration to your Head of State and Minister for Health, Foreign Affairs, International Development, Finance, Trade and Agriculture. Build support for the Declaration among civil society networks and the media.

• Final HLM Political Declaration: click here for English and here for translations
• NCD Alliance Summary Analysis: click here
• Comparative analysis to our original Proposed Outcomes Document:

Download the above documents here

2. Hold Governments Accountable: Below is a link to the NCDA summary of over 75 member state commitments made at the HLM . Share any information with the Alliance and national networks on additional commitments made pre- or post HLM, and tell us if governments are keeping those commitments. We will be developing further tools to facilitate monitoring and accountability to the Declaration shortly.

• Summary of government commitments made at the UN HLM: attached
• Suggested post HLM key advocacy messages: click here
• List of over 7000 media articles on NCDs released around the HLM: click here

Download the above documents here

3. The Road Ahead: The NCD Alliance’s overall goal will be the continued growth of a united NCD movement to ensure that NCDs become an urgent priority for all governments. The UN Summit was an important milestone, but there are many more goals to be achieved. The NCD Alliance is preparing a comprehensive strategic review in which we invite your input to help shape our future strategy and outreach.

Thank you for your continued leadership in the fight against NCDs.

Action Alert, 31st August, 2011

Tomorrow, our collective efforts to reverse the global NCD epidemic will be in the hands of UN Member States as they meet in New York for the final round of negotiations on the draft Political Declaration for the NCD Summit.

Please find attached our updated key issues paper outlining language for inclusion in the final Declaration. Take action immediately and use your networks to get this language to representatives in your government and UN Missions. Please also visit the World Lung Foundation’s www.15000aday.org to send a letter to your country’s Ambassador in New York – a draft letter is ready for you to amend and send. It will take a couple of minutes and is guaranteed to reach your country’s UN Mission in time to make a difference.

We have fought to ensure the Summit fulfills its promise to move beyond platitudes to include commitments at the highest level, as requested by the UN Secretary General. Our demands have been modest – we have asked Member States, among other things, to commit to targets so that progress can be measured; to a UN wide partnership so that work can be followed up at the highest level of the UN with all key sectors involved; and to a high-level review so that governments can meet in 2014 to assess progress and renew commitments.

We know that there is still time to influence the final Declaration. Recent media coverage (http://www.ncdalliance.org/media) has had a major impact and key Member States have pledged to address many of the key issues we have collectively raised. Please act now to ensure we get the strongest Declaration possible!

Media Release - Thursday, August 18th

Geneva - International progress on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and chronic respiratory disease, is at grave risk, because of recent efforts by some member states to postpone and weaken United Nations negotiations, an alliance of civil society organisations warned today.

In a letter addressed to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon addressed to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the NCD Alliance, a coalition of over 2,000 organisations from over 170 countries focusing on NCDs, attacked the state of negotiations towards the first-ever UN High-Level Meeting on the Prevention and Control of NCDs, scheduled for 19–20 September in New York. Referring to the Political Declaration, which will be the outcome of the meeting, the Alliance said: “The situation is urgent. Yet, it is reported that sound proposals for the draft Declaration to include time-bound commitments and targets are being systematically deleted, diluted and downgraded.”

Of particular concern are the actions of the US, Canada and the European Union to block proposals for the inclusion of an overarching goal: to cut preventable deaths from NCDs by 25% by 2025. NCDs are the leading cause of death worldwide each year, causing 36 million deaths in 2008 and accounting for 63 per cent of all global deaths. Over the next 20 years, the NCD epidemic is projected to accelerate exponentially. By 2030, NCD deaths are projected to rise to 52 million.

A significant and growing social and economic threat, the epidemic threatens to devastate families, overwhelm health systems and slow global economic growth. And yet, the NCD Alliance says, they could be effectively addressed through the reduction of risk factors – principally tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol – early detection and timely treatments.

“We have a unique and historic opportunity to change the course of the NCD crisis and stop millions of people around the world suffering unnecessary pain and hardship”, said Ann Keeling, Chair of the NCD Alliance. “To do that, we need governments to agree and act on a common goal.”

The NCD Alliance calls on all member states to grasp the opportunity of the High-Level Meeting and agree to:

• An overarching goal to reduce preventable deaths from NCDs: 25% by 2025
• A clear timeline for tackling the epidemic of the four major NCDs – cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic respiratory disease
• A set of specific, evidence-based targets and global indicators
• A high-level collaborative initiative of governments and UN agencies with civil society to stimulate and assess progress.

Contact details:

Judith Watt, NCD Alliance: info@ncdalliance.org, +44 7867 543 674
Dafni Kokkidi, Weber Shandwick: dkokkidi@webershandwick.com, +44 7872 060 390

NCD Summit Action Alert - Sunday, 7 August

Negotiations in New York carried on until late on Friday evening and were then postponed until Thursday 1 September because member states were unable to reach consensus. We are extremely concerned that these delays will weaken the Political Declaration (previously called the Outcomes Document). We understand the co-facilitators will present member states with proposals as to how the outstanding issues could be resolved. We don’t know yet whether this will happen before or on 1 September. We do not expect the draft as it stands to be made public.

To date we have been both positive and supportive, engaging actively to give every possible assistance to the negotiating process. We now have three weeks and three days to tell member states loud and clear that we expect them to respect the right to health of the people they represent. They need to hear that we are angry at these delays and expect them to get serious and reach consensus on time-bound commitments to action.

We are currently seeking more information on the sticking points in the negotiations. For the latest update from New York, and to help step up the global campaign, please join in the next Common Interest Group call at 15.30 Geneva time on Tuesday 9 August. We need to work together now to make sure the NGO voice is heard.

If you are not already registered for this webinar call, please email Michaela Wurm as soon as possible on mwurm@ncdalliance.org. You will be sent a link to join the call over the internet. If you cannot join us we will send out notes after the call.

Get the word out now to colleagues and together let’s ensure the Summit really is the turning point for NCDs.
NCD Alliance

NCD Summit Action Alert - Wednesday, 27 July
Below are key messages you can use as you talk to your government officials to ensure the Summit delivers an “action-oriented outcomes document” including:

· Time-bound commitments
· Global targets and indicators by 2012
· A global NCD partnership by 2012 to follow up on Summit commitments
· National NCD plans and a global monitoring and evaluation framework by 2013
· National tobacco tax strategies developed by 2013
· Regular reporting to the UN General Assembly
· A high-level and comprehensive review of progress in 2014

The Timeline: Negotiations recommence today and will continue until Friday. Although the co-facilitators are still urging member states to complete negotiations this week, it is more likely that they will continue into next week.

Status of Outcomes Document: At this time it will be difficult to add new language and Member States will be streamlining the existing language. The main task for civil society is to advocate for clear time-bound commitments to be included and for strong language to be retained in the final text.

Key Issues - Immediate Action Points:

1 Time-bound commitments in the outcomes document now: We understand that there was lengthy discussion in last Friday’s negotiations on the issue of targets and indicators. NCDA has slightly modified our ‘Goal and Priority Targets’ as a result – the attached documents include a message to Member States on the vital need for bold and specific targets to be included and a table of the priority targets.
Action: Please convey this document to your contacts in government and in Missions as soon as possible. If you’ve already done this, please go back to them to ask them to focus on the following issues.

2 A set of global targets and indicators by 2012 that can be adapted for regional and national purposes: There is strong resistance from some Member States to including any targets in the document at this stage – this is added reason why we should continue to push for this. We need civil society experts to be a part of the process of determining the detail and we need this process to be transparent and up and running as soon as possible after the Summit. All countries have a stake in getting this right.
Action: Ask your government contacts precisely what they expect to happen around the setting of targets both global and national, explain that significant work has already been done by WHO that needs to be built on and agreed within a specific time-frame.

3 A global NCD partnership by 2012 to follow up Summit commitments: The G77 has proposed this be established by the UN Secretary General and we need to voice strong support for it – to include Member States, relevant UN agencies, international financial institutions, civil society, private sector*, foundations, research and academic institutions
Action: Find out what your government’s position is on the establishment of such a partnership by the Secretary-General and let us know. If they are in support, what type of model of partnership do they have in mind? This is a vital outcome from civil society’s perspective. WHO’s coordinating role will be important but we need to engage the whole UN system and all other relevant partners.

4 National NCD plans and a multi-sectoral monitoring and evaluation framework established and strengthened by 2013: Several parties to the negotiations (G77, US, New Zealand, Norway) have proposed language on establishing and strengthening national NCD plans and policies. We need the Summit to agree that (costed) national plans are essential and they must be developed within the context of a global, monitoring and evaluation framework. Both of these commitments must be time-bound – 2013 should be the deadline.
Action: Urge your country to support a strongly-worded commitment to national NCD plans in line with a global monitoring and evaluation framework as the essential foundation for progress.

5 National tobacco tax strategies developed by 2013: There are a number of references to using fiscal policies to prevent NCDs, not just for tobacco but also for alcohol and unhealthy food and drink products. There is specific mention of tobacco taxation being an underused source of governmental revenue. It is very important for this language to stay in the document and for every Member State to recognize the importance of this measure, both for public health and fiscal purposes.
Action: Provide your government contacts with the attached briefing note on tobacco taxation and urge them to support inclusion of language on tax strategy.

6 Regular reporting to the UN General Assembly (UNGA): We want the UNGA to devote time to this issue on a regular basis and for countries to demonstrate their commitment by contributing meaningful national reports.
Action: Urge your country to agree to support text calling for regular reporting by the Secretary-General to the UNGA, wherever possible building on existing reporting mechanisms so as not to burden countries with unnecessary work.

7 A high-level and comprehensive review in 2014: An ‘extensive review’ and a ‘comprehensive assessment’ have been proposed for 2014. The NCD Alliance wants to see another high-level meeting placed in the General Assembly’s diary for 2014. By this time – if the above commitments are agreed – we will should see:

· A report by the NCD partnership on progress across the whole range of issues raised in the outcomes document

· A report on a newly established monitoring and evaluation framework that has clear targets and indicators agreed at global, regional and national levels

· Input from all member states in the form of national reports on their national plans
Action: In all of your contact with your government, make sure they know that 2014 should see another high-level meeting and get their backing for this.
* where appropriate

NCD Summit Action Alert - Thursday, 21 July

“It is not that there is not enough data, not enough information and not enough knowledge as a basis for addressing the prevention and control of NCD. The problem has been how to raise the issue to a high enough level in the political agenda and maintain it there, as without that there will be no material progress.” Sir George Alleyne

Advocates and those affected by NCDs are working hard to ensure governments produce an Outcomes Document that moves beyond rhetoric, includes concrete commitments, and produces the highest level of political commitment, as called for by a leader in the NCD movement, Sir George Alleyne.

The Timeline: After some intense negotiations on Tuesday afternoon, member states will resume negotiations today and continue tomorrow morning. The co-facilitators are still hoping to conclude negotiations by Friday, 29 July, even though some member states are expecting to continue into August. In any case, there is still time to influence your country’s position on critical issues.

Key Developments in This Week’s Negotiations:
1. Targets: NCDA has heard that the United States proposed a time-bound target in negotiations yesterday for countries to establish national policies and plans for NCDs by 2013. Norway has proposed a target on salt reduction.
Action: Please promote the US and Norway targets as leadership examples to your government and send the attached targets list to your government (see below). NCDA is advocating an overarching goal of reducing preventable deaths from NCDs: a 25% reduction by 2025.

2. The Paris Declaration: The G77 and New Zealand have called for integration of NCDs into the development agenda through implementation of the Paris Declaration and donor alignment with national priorities.
Action: The NCD Alliance has heard that Canada is opposing reference to the Paris Declaration – please ask your governments to honour their commitment to the Paris Declaration.

3. Financing: The G77 are calling for increased resources through domestic, bilateral and multilateral channels. And Norway is proposing language on tobacco taxation as an underused source of governmental revenue in many countries.
Action: Please call on the EU and other donor countries such as Canada and US to stop opposing this language.

4. Follow-up: Please ask your government to support the G77’s proposal to hold 'an extensive review in 2014' to ensure commitments are followed through and progress is measured.

Attachments:
a) Priority targets. A table with the priority targets that NCDA is asking member states to back, organized according to our key priorities for the UN Summit. We have added a cover note addressed to member states. Please convey this document to your contacts in government and in Missions. In formulating these targets, we have taken into account some of the moves made by member states during the negotiations and also some of the targets recently proposed by WHO (Proposals on NCD targets from a WHO Technical Working Group).

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NCD Summit Action Alert - Friday, 15 July

Member States have released an updated version of the Outcomes Document based on the first reading of the Zero Draft last week. It contains a great deal of new language – much of it proposed by the G77 group and much of it very positive from NCDA’s perspective.

Negotiations re-commenced on Wednesday for the second reading and continued yesterday and today. We have updated our priority language in the attached document to use as basis for further lobbying and advocacy at national level and with New York Missions.

We realise this is a long and complex document but want the wider NCDA networks to have the opportunity to see it. We will be sending out a priority list of amendments we are seeking on Monday.

Several critical developments since our last Action Alert require your urgent action:

• We need governments to get actively engaged with preparations for the NCD Summit: The Outcomes Document is undergoing rapid changes and the time between versions is very short. It’s critical that your government hears your message loud and clear - now is the time to contact senior officials in your Ministries of Health and Foreign Affairs.

• We want Member States to have the time they need to achieve a good result: Let us know if your government considers they have sufficient time for the negotiations to produce a strong Outcomes Document.

• We need concrete targets in the final Outcomes Document: Please ask your governments to support the inclusion of strong targets and cost-effective interventions in the document. Please ask them to support current targets proposed by G77 and Norway, while emphasizing that many critical targets are still required.

• We need a date for an extensive review of progress: Please ask your governments to support the G77’s proposal to hold a follow-up High-Level Meeting in 2014 to ensure commitments are followed through and progress is measured.

Please share news on your government’s position and continue to advocate for your Head of State/Government to attend. This message and our updated suggested language can be found at www.ncdalliance.org/takeaction

Update on 11 July Action Alert: We recently requested your support to ensure donor countries reverse their policy of removing all references in the outcomes document to financing and technical assistance and the NCD epidemic. If you reside in a donor country, please ask your government to stand up for the poor and show leadership by keeping their Paris Declaration commitments to align with country led development priorities. If you reside in a G77 country, please ask your government to remind donors about the Paris Declaration and the global nature of the NCD epidemic.

With thanks,

The NCD Alliance

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Action Alert, Monday, 11 July

Member states completed a first reading of the Zero Draft Outcomes Document on Friday evening and today, Monday 11 July, countries and groups like the G77 are consolidating their positions before negotiations re-commence – likely Wednesday. A few important issues are emerging from discussions so far – some positive and some giving cause for concern:

1.Financing and technical assistance: Already some donor countries appear to be proposing the removal of language referencing international financing and technical assistance for NCDs, despite the fact that UN member States from Africa, South-East Asia and the Western Pacific have strongly called for such language in their UN Summit Regional Consultations. We need immediate and strong advocacy on this issue in both donor and developing countries.

2.Removal of the word epidemic: Some member states are proposing removal of all references to use of the word ‘epidemic’ to refer to NCDs. However, WHO and many member states have previously endorsed the use of the word epidemic (see below). In addition, the use of the word ‘epidemic’ was used in the UN Secretary-General’s Report on NCDs. The significance of this systematic questioning of ‘epidemic’ is not yet entirely clear. NCDA strongly urges defending the term.

3.Concern over absence of goals and targets: The NCD Alliance remains deeply concerned over the absence of language on accountability and a follow-up mechanism as well as the absence of specific and time-bound targets.

Now is the time to reach out to your governments and demand that they take action on the three points above. It is imperative that this document recognize the seriousness and severity of the global NCD burden, provide for adequate resources to prevent and control NCDs, lay out specific targets to measure the burden, and outline specific follow-up actions. Without such language, our efforts to address NCDs could face significant delay.

Previous language agreed to by UN Regions must be taken into account by the G8 and other donor countries and is outlined below along with reminders of NCDA language on these key issues.

Now to the good news…your advocacy is having an impact! Strong language (very close to NCDA proposed text) has been proposed by some member states including on the need for cost effective NCD interventions such as accelerated implementation of the FCTC, use of tobacco and alcohol tax as a strategy, and achieving substantial reductions in trans-fats and salt.

Thank you for your continued engagement- we are making a difference!

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Action Alert, Friday, 8 July

Negotiations on the Zero Draft of the Outcomes Document re-commence today. After a full day of meetings on Tuesday 5 July, negotiations were postponed on Wednesday and Thursday afternoons to allow time for negotiating groups, particularly the G77, to agree their positions.

The bullet points below provide some insight into the discussions on Tuesday and are based on informal feedback from member states. It is important to note that this is only the ‘first reading’ of the zero draft and that these points were made in relation to the preambular paragraphs only. Discussion has not yet started on the operative paragraphs (the commitments from para. 34 onwards). Depending on the progress they make this morning in New York, it is possible that they will get to (or even through) the operative paragraphs this afternoon. If they don’t get all the way through to the end, they are likely to continue on Monday. Once they have completed the ‘first reading’, they will break for two days to take advice from their capital cities and to consolidate their country position.

Now is our opportunity to press for stronger language on our key priorities. Please see below (Action Alert, 6 July) for links to NCD Alliance proposed language and resources. Please take immediate steps to ascertain your country’s position and let us know what you find out. We are building up intelligence from a number of sources and we can provide you with any intelligence we may have for your country if you contact us: info@ncdalliance.org.

We will continue to send Action Alerts to everyone on this mailing list every few days. Please forward it to your networks and let us know if there people you want to add to this list. If you prefer not to receive these emails, please let us know.

As you read the bullet points below, you will see that there is strong support from some member states for making the Summit really count. Let’s do all we can to support them.

Key points from informal meetings and negotiations on 5 July:

· Call to bring the link between NCDs and all (not just health-related) MDGs to the forefront of the document to underscore NCDs as a development issue

· Some donor countries are questioning the use of the word “epidemic” in reference to NCDs

· HIV/AIDS Outcomes language will likely be proposed at some point

· Debate over using the phrase “health in all policies”

· Calls for strengthening language on linkages between NCDs and education & NCDs and maternal health

· EU calls for the inclusion of environmental risk factors

· Calls for time-bound targets and measurable goals to be included

· Support for more focus on women and NCDs, people with disabilities, inclusion of language on environmental and air pollution, obesity, strengthening of monitoring and evaluation on a national level, and wording on mental and oral health

· Proposal to include reference to UN Civil Society Hearing Report supported by several member states

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Additional Key Questions

What are the key issues in the current Zero Draft to discuss with your government?
The Zero Draft includes language in critical areas, including language highlighting NCDs as a development and poverty issue, whole of government approaches and inter-sectoral action, neglected populations such as women, children and indigenous populations, access to high quality and affordable medicines and technologies, cost-effective population wide interventions for NCDs, and the need for increased national and international resources for NCDs.

The Zero Draft has weak or no language in areas including the need for inclusion of NCDs in future development goals, concrete time bound targets for measuring progress, increased measures by member states to ensure full implementation of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, an accountability mechanism to monitor Summit agreements, and agreement to hold a high-level review in 2015 to review progress from the September 2011 Summit.

What is an Outcomes Document?
UN High-Level Summits often conclude with agreement by UN member states to take a series of actions to address a particular global problem. These can take the form of Chairs Statements, Declarations or Outcomes Documents. For the Summit on NCDs in September 2011, UN member states have committed to agreeing to an outcomes document, the strongest possible agreement.

Why is it important?
While not binding under international law, an outcomes document is considered one of the most powerful tools within the UN for international cooperation and action. If commitments within an outcomes document are backed up by accountability and monitoring mechanisms, regular progress reviews, and the necessary resources (international and domestic), an outcomes document can be a powerful global political tool that produces significant progress on the issues under consideration, as demonstrated by past outcomes documents on HIV/AIDS and other development priorities.

NCD Alliance Priority Language:

Priority Language for Outcomes Document (Word)

Priority Language for Outcomes Document (PDF)

Note: Please contact gpaton@ncdalliance to request a copy of the NCD Alliance's 'Suggested Language for Outcomes Document', which is an expanded version of the Priority Language and includes suggested language for all Zero Draft Language.

Additional Resources

http://www.ncdalliance.org/advocacyresources

Brief: European Union Key Issues