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Members of the non-communicable diseases (NCD) civil society gather for the Global NCD Alliance Forum

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Nearly 400 civil society advocates from 68 nations are meeting in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, this weekend to mobilise their collective voice ahead of the 2018 UN High-level Meeting on non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

The Global NCD Alliance Forum will be opened by His Royal Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah and welcomed by José Luis Castro, Executive Director of The Union and President of the NCD Alliance.

The forum will also be addressed by Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena; Princess Dina Mired of Jordan, President-Elect, Union for International Cancer Control; Dr Sania Nishtar, co-chair of the WHO High-level Commission on NCDs and Dr Tom Frieden, President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives.  

Gathering under the banner theme of Stepping up the pace on NCDs: making 2018 count, delegates will focus on next year´s UN High-level Meeting on NCDs (UNHLM), where world leaders will review progress and renew commitments for action for the NCD response.

The NCD epidemic is responsible for 70 per cent of deaths worldwide, of which nearly three-quarters occur in developing countries. NCDs are being driven by poverty, globalisation of marketing and trade of health-harming products, rapid urbanisation and population growth.

The Union works globally to combat NCDs, including via its Department of Tobacco Control, which is engaged in a range of international activities to reduce the damage and disease caused by tobacco use, and through the provision of technical assistance to strengthen health systems; for instance in Kampala, Uganda, where The Union has established a pilot programme to provide chronic diabetes care and active screening.

“With the UN HLM less than a year away, it is essential and timely that civil society is coming together now. The Forum provides a unique opportunity to share experiences, knowledge and skills, develop strategy and mobilise to ensure that 2018 is a watershed year for NCDs,” said José Luis Castro, Executive Director of The Union and NCDA President.

Highlights of the Forum will include the launch of NCDA’s campaign priorities for the 2018 UNHLM, the unveiling of the Advocacy Agenda for People living with NCDs (PLWNCDs), and the release of National and Regional NCD Alliances in Action: An Atlas of Civil Society Initiatives.

The Atlas will showcase 38 case studies of how national and regional NCD alliances have advanced the NCD agenda in their countries or regions. Awards will be presented for four of the most innovative and impactful projects. 

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