Heads of Government hoping to maintain CARICOM’s leading role in the global fight against Non-Communicable Diseases

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The Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community are striving for high-profile representation to the upcoming Third United Nations High-Level Meeting (HLM3) on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) on 27 September 2018.  They hope to continue building on CARICOM’s leading role in setting the global agenda on the fight against NCDs.

The Meeting,  under the theme Scaling up multi-stakeholder and multi-sectoral responses to the prevention and control of NCDs in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, will be hosted at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City.

CARICOM Heads, during their just-ended Thirty-Ninth Regular Meeting in Jamaica, reflected on CARICOM’s pioneering role in addressing the then immerging priority on NCDs. In late 2007, the Heads of CARICOM convened the first-ever summit to address the issue. Together, they forged a 14-point declaration which committed them to introduce measures to curb the epidemic of non-communicable diseases plaguing the region.

The CARICOM States then successfully placed their concerns about global NCDs proliferation before the United Nations Development Agenda. This sparked the First UN High-Level Meeting on the Prevention and Control of NCDs in 2011.

At the HGC, the CARICOM leaders endorsed six priorities which the region will advocate during the HLM3 while negotiating the Outcome Document of the NCDs conference. These priorities are:

  1. Establishing and maintaining a smoke-free status for the Region
  2. Implementing policies geared to preventing childhood obesity
  3. Including for health-promoting school environments and Front of Package (FOP) labelling
  4. Promoting the elimination of cancer of the cervix
  5. Support for the mitigation of post-disaster vulnerabilities related to NCDs in particular: nutrition, treatment and care, increasing international financing and technical support and
  6. Strengthening accountability through national coordinating mechanisms.

The Heads commended the contributions of civil society organisations for their assistance in the regional efforts to counter the proliferation of NCDs.

They also expressed their gratitude to the Pan-American Health Organisation World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) for the support it provided to CARICOM in preparation for the HLM3.

by Nikita Blair

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