We welcome the draft Political Declaration ahead of the UN High Level Meeting on NCDs .
As negotiations on the Political Declaration of the UN High-Level Meeting (HLM) in September draw to a close, World Obesity congratulates negotiators on including obesity within the Declaration. Obesity is both a risk factor for non-communicable diseases (NCDs), as well as disease in its own right, and therefore must be prioritised as part of efforts to address and reduce the global burden of NCDs.
The Political Declaration calls for Heads of State and Governments to scale up action and to set out plans for policy implementation. We welcome the acknowledgement of people with NCDs and the need to engage them, and encourage governments to engage people living with obesity in national obesity strategies.
The Declaration recognises the role of commercial, economic and social determinants of NCDs and the importance of identifying sources of conflicts of interest when partnering with private sector.
However, governments failed to agree a position on fiscal measures, such as soda taxes, which are an important policy for addressing commercial determinants of NCDs. Soda taxes, along with alcohol and tobacco taxes (STAX), are win-win interventions that have been shown to be effective, so it is disappointing to see them absent from the Political Declaration. We encourage governments to follow the lead of those countries that have already taken leadership and implement soda taxes.
The UNHLM in September provides an opportunity for leaders to commit to turning the tide against NCDs and for prioritising action to reduce obesity. We encourage Heads of State and Political Leaders to attend the UNHLM and to use it as a launch pad for comprehensive action on NCDs, ensuring prompt and transparent implementation. We look forward to the UNHLM and working with governments to implement the commitments that they make beyond the September meeting.