Speaking in Geneva on 15 May, IDF President Jean Claude Mbanya made the keynote address at the opening session of the Commonwealth Health Minister’s Meeting. In his speech, titled “NCDs and the Commonwealth: Changing the Future”, the IDF President recalled the growing global dimensions of the epidemic of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which now kills 36 million people every year.
Professor Mbanya reminded attendees that “no country has these diseases under control”. The IDF President introduced the NCD Alliance’s Proposed Outcomes Document and detailed five priority areas for action at the forthcoming UN High Level Summit on NCDs to be held in New York in September.
Looking beyond the Summit, Professor Mbanya warned Commonwealth Health Ministers that September is only “the first step to a global solution”. He said: “one of the most important outcomes of September must be leadership and partnerships at all levels”. Professor Mbanya recommended the creation of a High-Level Commission on accountability to be formed after the Summit to drive and monitor implementation. Such a commission would include “governments, donors, multilateral institutions, civil society and the private sector”.
In conclusion, Jean Claude Mbanya called for a UN Decade of Action on NCDs and urged Commonwealth leaders to continue to exploit their comparative advantage in NCDS. The Commonwealth is needed to lead the way to ensure that the UN Summit “makes strong and visionary decisions that will secure our common future”.