WHO Global Coordination Mechanism on the Prevention and Control of NCDs

WHO GCM/NCD Working Group on how to realize governments’ commitments to engage with the private sector for the prevention and control of NCDs (Working Group 3.1)

The WHO GCM/NCD Working Group on how to realize governments’ commitments to engage with the private sector for the prevention and control of NCDs (Working Group 3.1) held its first meeting 18-19 February 2015 to commence its work on addressing the commitment from Heads of State and Government contained in the Political Declaration the 2011 UN General Assembly High-level Meeting on NCD prevention and control to call on the private sector to strengthen its contribution to NCD prevention and control.

The work of Working Group 3.1 is based on Objective 3, Action 3.1 of the 2014-2015 GCM/NCD work plan to establish a Working Group to “recommend ways and means of encouraging Member States and non-State actors to realize the commitment included in paragraph 44 of the Political Declaration of the High-level Meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases.”

Paragraph 44 of UN resolution A/RES/66/2 reads as follows: “With a view to strengthening its contribution to non-communicable disease prevention and control, [Heads of State and Government and representatives of States and Governments commit to] call upon the private sector, where appropriate, to:

  • Take measures to implement the World Health Organization set of recommendations to reduce the impact of the marketing of unhealthy foods and non-alcoholic beverages to children, while taking into account existing national legislation and policies;
  • Consider producing and promoting more food products consistent with a healthy diet, including by reformulating products to provide healthier options that are affordable and accessible and that follow relevant nutrition facts and labelling standards, including information on sugars, salt and fats and, where appropriate, trans-fat content;
  • Promote and create an enabling environment for healthy behaviours among workers, including by establishing tobacco-free workplaces and safe and healthy working environments through occupational safety and health measures, including, where appropriate, through good corporate practices, workplace wellness programmes and health insurance plans;
  • Work towards reducing the use of salt in the food industry in order to lower sodium consumption;
  • Contribute to efforts to improve access to and affordability of medicines and technologies in the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases."

The Working Group discusses the five areas identified in the Political Declaration and covers a wide range of issues. Some of the key themes are:

  • The private sector needs to be part of effective multisectoral action on NCDs
  • Across the five areas of focus, the wide range of private sector players and their different roles call for different types of engagement
  • The GCM/NCD provides a significant opportunity to share best practice: lessons can be learnt from successful and unsuccessful examples of private sector engagement to date
  • Governments can make use of NGOs and academia in several important roles, including acting as a ‘bridge’ between government and the private sector
  • Managing real, perceived and potential conflicts of interest in engaging with the private sector at country level is important for governments, so guidance on this will be useful

The Working Group is co-chaired by the following representatives of two Member States, one from a developed country and one from a developing country, appointed in consultation with Member States:

  • H.E. Carole Lanteri, Ambassador and Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of the Principality of Monaco to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations in Geneva
  • Dr Jarbas Barbosa da Silva Jr, Secretary for Science, Technology and Strategic Products, Ministry of Health, Brazil

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