Commonwealth Priorities Captured in Political Declaration of UN
NEW YORK, Sept. 21, 2011 /CNW/ - The Commonwealth on Wednesday welcomed
a political declaration agreed at the United Nations, to galvanise
global action against the burden and debilitating impact of
Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs).
The Declaration captured key Commonwealth priorities as identified by
Health Ministers at their meeting in May 2011, under the theme "NCDs: A
Priority for the Commonwealth".
The High-Level Meeting itself was a response to a call by Commonwealth
Heads of Government, who at their 2009 meeting in Port of Spain,
Trinidad and Tobago, called for a UN NCDs summit.
"The Commonwealth welcomes this Declaration, a pledge and commitment to
deal with one of the biggest challenges its members face, especially
small and vulnerable states," Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General
Ransford Smith said on 21 September 2011.
"NCDs are having a devastating impact on the health of Commonwealth
citizens. The Commonwealth has long advocated for better, effective,
and efficient coordination of global actions on the matter," Mr Smith
World leaders agreed the Declaration in New York 20 September 2011 at
the 66th United Nations General Assembly.
The Commonwealth presented a statement on the prevention and control of
NCDs in which it emphasised the double burden of non-communicable and
communicable diseases across the Commonwealth.
It highlighted the importance of considering youth and gender when
developing targeted interventions for the prevention and control of
NCD's across the Commonwealth.
"As we work to enhance the Commonwealth theme, 'Women as Agents of
Change', we need to recall that women are disproportionately burdened
by NCDs and this has significant social-economic implications on them
and their families," said Dr Sylvia Anie, the Commonwealth
Secretariat's Director for Social Transformation, which covers gender,
health and education programmes.
Dr Anie presented the Commonwealth's statement at a Round Table held
during the General Assembly.
NCDs, which include cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancers and
chronic respiratory diseases currently claim 35 million lives every
year and this figure is projected to increase to 53 million deaths by
2030. Of the estimated 19.5 million deaths in the Commonwealth in 2008,
9.3 million, or 47 per cent, were due to NCDs (compared to 44 per cent
from communicable diseases, maternal, perinatal and nutritional
Mr Smith said the Commonwealth wanted to see concerted action on the
risk factors that fuel these diseases, such as harmful alcohol
consumption, unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity, and tobacco
The Commonwealth has played a leading role in developing advocacy
strategies to support policies and programmes, disseminating knowledge
about best practises, and institutional strengthening of member
countries to address NCDs. It has also consistently lobbied for
political action on NCDs, which make the largest contribution to
mortality in the majority of developing countries and economies in
On Tuesday, 20 September, the Commonwealth Secretariat co-hosted a side
event on gender-responsive approaches to NCDs.
The event was organised in partnership with the governments of Trinidad
and Tobago, Samoa, Mexico, and Nicaragua; the Pan American Health
Organization; the NCD Alliance; and the Partnership for Maternal,
Newborn and Child Health.
Notes for media
Visit http://bcove.me/qso5fbv6 to watch 'Stop the World's Biggest Killer'. A video about
Non-Communicable Diseases by the Commonwealth Secretariat.
SOURCE The Commonwealth Secretariat
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