IBFAN Comments on UN Political Declaration on Non-communicable Diseases
NB: The list of NGOs that are being invited to attend the summit has now been published.
The United Nations will hold its first ever high level summit on non-communicable diseases in New York on September 19th and 20th. I attended the Interactive Session in New York in June and the Health Forum in Moscow in April, and the World Health Assembly in May, which let up to this. Member states have been working on a Political Declaration - which will form the basis of an action plan to tackle the epidemic heart disease, diabetes, lung disease and cancer - and obesity - diseases that are often corporate-driven by the promotion of unhealthy foods, tobacco and alcohol.
Getting the wording right will be crucial. The negotiations ended on the 5th August for the summer break and will resume on 1st September. The draft dated 29.7.11 contained a very worrying paragraph (Para 56bis) which had clearly been influenced by the food, tobacco, pharmaceutical and drink industries who have been trying to persuade Member States that the best way forward is an incentive-driven, partnership approach that relies on voluntary pledges rather than on regulation of marketing practices - which evidence shows would have a far greater impact
STOP PRESS In the very latest version the document it seems that 56bis has been improved somewhat.
In the run up to the Summit please contact your government (usually the Department of Health) - to ask that conflicts of interest are addressed very clearly. Some suggestions are below.
56. Request the Secretary-General, in collaboration with the Director-General of the WHO, to carry out an expert consultation with Member States, other UN agencies, civil society organisations, foundations, research and academic institutions and other relevant stakeholders to produce, by the end of 2012, a Code of Conduct and Ethical Framework to help protect the integrity of, and to ensure transparency in, public policy decision-making, by guiding interactions with the private sector and safeguarding against, and identifying and managing conflicts of interest; and by ensuring equitable participation of public interest groups in policy development, which sets out options for effective multi-sectoral action for the prevention and control of NCDs, for consideration by Member States.
The Conflicts of Interest Coalition comprises civil society organisations united by the common objective of securing a strong NCD Political Declaration that explicitly recognises, and clearly commits to, safeguarding public health policy-making against commercial conflicts of interest through the development of a Code of Conduct and Ethical Framework for interactions with the private sector.
Public health sector and food industry interaction: it’s time to clarify the term ‘partnership’ and be honest about underlying interests European Journal of Public Health, Vol. 21, No. 4, 400–403 ß The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Public Health Association. All rights reserved.
Nigel Hawkes http://www.bmj.com/content/343/bmj.d5012
Fiona Godlee, editor, BMJ
BMJ 2011; 343:d5147 doi: 10.1136/bmj.d5147 (10 August 2011)
Will industry influence derail UN summit? http://www.bmj.com/content/343/bmj.d5328
BMJ 2011; 343:d5328 doi: 10.1136/bmj.d5328 (Published 23 August 2011)
Commentary: UN high level meeting on non-communicable diseases: an opportunity for whom?
David Stuckler, Sanjay Basu, Martin McKee
BMJ 2011;343:doi:10.1136/bmj.d5336 (Published 23 August 2011)
The global obesity pandemic: shaped by global drivers and local environments
The Lancet, Volume 378, Issue 9793, Pages 804 - 814, 27 August 2011 doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60813-1Cite or Link Using DOI
For other useful studies on voluntary codes see: http://info.babymilkaction.org/node/466)
Here are some links to useful resources:
Paper on partnerships Public health sector and food industry interaction: it’s time to clarify the term ‘partnership’ and be honest about underlying interests European Journal of Public Health, Vol. 21, No. 4, 400–403 ß The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Public Health Association. All rights reserved.
WHA 57.17 2004 Par 2.6 "to cooperate with civil society and with public and private stakeholders committed to re- ducing the risks of noncommunicable diseases in implementing the Strategy and promoting healthy diet and physical activity, while ensuring avoidance of potential conflicts of interest;"
IBFAN recommendations prior to New York
WHO set of recommendations on the marketing of foods and non-alcoholic beverages to children (WHA63.14). http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2010/9789241500210_eng.pdf
Resolutions on Diet, Physical Activity and Health that mention conflicts of interest:
Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and health 2008-2013 Action Plan
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