Copenhagen, Denmark, 9 April 2018 – Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) are responsible for 40 million deaths globally every year. Tackling NCDs is a global priority, but despite this, investment is still lacking and action is needed to reach the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal target 3.4 of reducing premature deaths from NCDs by one third by 2030. In response, Denmark is co-hosting the WHO Global Dialogue in Copenhagen from 9 to 11 April 2018.
“The scale of the NCD crisis is immense, as is the need for accelerated and strengthened action across multiple sectors and stakeholders globally,” said Dr Svetlana Axelrod, WHO’s Assistant Director-General for NCDs and Mental Health. “Only by working together in new partnerships and investing the right levels of resources will we be able to protect people from NCDs and provide the care they need.”
At the Dialogue in Copenhagen, delegates from WHO Member States, development agencies, United Nations agencies and nongovernmental organizations, academia, philanthropic organizations and business associations will explore new ways to address the critical gap in financing for national NCD responses.
“Ultimately, it is governments’ responsibility to secure resources for health, but all stakeholders, including the private sector, can play a major role in moving the NCD agenda forward,” Dr Axelrod added.
NCDs are hindering economic development
Premature mortality from NCDs – such as cardiovascular disease leading to heart attacks and strokes, cancers, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases – constitutes a major global health and development challenge, as these diseases often kill people at a time when they are most productive in the workforce. While NCDs affect both rich and poor countries, their burden is rising disproportionately among lower-income countries, with an immense impact on economic growth.
“Business as usual will not work any longer regarding the NCDs. The global burden and challenge of NCDs is of such scale and magnitude that it requires thinking out of the box and new partnerships and financing mechanisms,” says Denmark’s Minister for Development Cooperation, Ulla Tørnæs.
“Partnerships hold the key to a healthier future and to the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals,” she adds. “We need to encourage innovative and bold partnerships between Member States and non-state actors. We are looking forward to exploring and showcasing solutions through multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder engagement and Denmark is happy to be leading this important discussion on how to close the financing gap.”
The Dialogue will focus on how international cooperation can mobilize domestic and external financing streams, as well as on aligning private sector financing in support of national responses to chronic diseases – with due respect to conflicts of interest.
Global partnerships for global solutions
The Global Dialogue will take stock of the progress made since 2011 in funding national NCD responses. It will also showcase examples of best practices on how to align public and private interests in order to accelerate action on NCD prevention and control. At a youth innovation lab at the Dialogue, 20 talented young people from 16 countries will work together to generate innovative ideas and solutions that can help close the financing gap for NCDs.
The Dialogue is the first global multistakeholder meeting to discuss the current NCD financing landscape and demonstrate the synergies between financing NCD responses and broader efforts to strengthen health systems for universal health coverage and health for all.
The WHO Global Dialogue is part of the informal process leading up to the United Nations General Assembly Third High-Level Meeting on the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases in September 2018. It is co-organized by the World Health Organization and the Government of Denmark and supported by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Diabetes Foundation, the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations, the World Economic Forum and the NCD Alliance.