Real Progress in the Global Fight Against Non-Communicable Diseases

Ambassador Betty E. King hosts a roundtable discussion at the U.S. Mission in Geneva on the development of targets and indicators for the prevention and control of NCDs. [U.S. Mission Photo / Eric Bridiers]

About the Author: Ambassador Betty E. King serves as Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva.

It happened quietly, and it didn’t make any headlines, but an agreement reached in Geneva last week represents a key step forward in the battle against some of the world’s biggest killers: non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including heart disease, cancer and diabetes.

On November 9, health officials representing member states of the World Health Organization agreed to a global monitoring framework and a set of voluntary global targets on NCDs, which are the leading cause of death worldwide, representing 63 percent of deaths annually, and 70 percent in the United States. For three intensive days, health officials held meetings to negotiate the final details of a strategy in the making since September 2011, when world leaders gathered at the UN General Assembly and agreed to the Political Declaration on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases. That Declaration… more »