Sharing knowhow and joining forces towards Health for All

Thematic guide: Noncommunicable diseases


Raising the priority given to noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in health and development has been a key priority for WHO since the development of the Global Strategy for the Prevention and Control of NCDs (2000) and the endorsement of its Action Plan by the World Health Assembly in 2008. Our thematic guide to internet resources leads you beyond the limits of the Medicus Mundi International Network. Any important resources missing? Please let us know


WHO/UN: Thematic leadership and global coordination mechanisms

  • WHO Global coordination mechanism for NCDs
    "The WHO Global Coordination Mechanism on the Prevention and Control of NCDs envisages to facilitate and enhance coordination of activities, multistakeholder engagement and action across sectors in order to contribute to the implementation of the WHO Global NCD Action Plan 2013–2020."
  • UN Interagency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases
    "The United Nations Interagency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of NCDs, which the Secretary-General established in June 2013 and placed under the leadership of WHO, is coordinating the activities of the relevant UN organizations and other inter-governmental organizations to support the realization of the commitments made by Heads of State and Government in the 2011 Political Declaration on NCDs, in particular through the implementation of the WHO Global NCD Action Plan 2013–2020. The Task Force’s terms of reference were adopted by ECOSOC in July 2014."


WHO/UN: Milestones and key references

  • 2013 WHO Global Action Plan on NCDs
    "The action plan provides a road map and a menu of policy options for countries to take coordinated and coherent action to attain the 9 voluntary global targets, including that of a 25% relative reduction in premature mortality from cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes or chronic respiratory diseases by 2025."
  • 2013 Global monitoring framework
    "WHO developed a global monitoring framework to enable global tracking of progress in preventing and controlling major noncommunicable diseases - cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic lung diseases and diabetes - and their key risk factors."
  • 2011 UN General Assembly high-level meeting
    > Documentation with Political Declaration on NCDs


WHO: Other publications

Civil society organizations and campaigns

  • NCD Alliance
    "The NCD Alliance was founded by four international NGO federations representing the four main NCDs – cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, and chronic respiratory disease.  Together with other major international NGO partners, the NCD Alliance unites a network of over 2,000 civil society organizations in more than 170 countries.  The mission of the NCD Alliance is to combat the NCD epidemic by putting health at the centre of all policies."
  • The NCD Alliance Common Interest Group (CIG)
    "The CIG has been established to create a powerful network group of like minded civil society organizations who wish to work together to achieve the NCD Alliance six key objectives:

    1. NCD / disease national plans for all
    2. Improved lifestyles
    3. Strengthened health systems
    4. Global access to affordable and good quality medicines
    5. A tobacco free world
    6. Human rights for people with NCDs"

  • Movement for Global Mental Health
    "A network of individuals and organisations that aim to improve services for people living with mental health problems and psychosocial disabilities worldwide."
  • Conflict of Interest Coalition / Network
    "The Conflict of Interest Coalition/Network was founded in June 2011 with a specific objective to help safeguard the United Nation’s integrity and independence and to ensure its ability to protect health and public health policy setting from commercial influence when dealing with policies related to noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).


Civil society: Selected statements on key processes and events

As this thematic guide has been re-established only recently:
Let us know what key civil society statements are missing!

Noncommunicable diseases (general): Debates, reports, resources


2014 "Must reads" (proposed by Wemos)

  • “A new generation of trade policy: potential risks to diet-related health from the trans pacific partnership agreement”; Friel et al. Globalization and Health 2013, 9:46.

  • “International investment agreements and public health: neutralizing a threat through treaty drafting”; Bryan Mercurio. Bull World Health Organization 2014;92:520-525.

  • “Protecting policy space for public health nutrition in an era of international investment agreements”; Anne Marie Thow & Benn McGrady, Bull. World Health Organization 2014;92:139-145.

  • “Will the next generation of preferential trade and investment agreements undermine prevention of noncommunicable diseases? A prospective policy analysis of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement”. Health Policy (2014),







  • A New Global Health Agenda
    Edward E. Partridge et al., 4 October 2011
  • Big tobacco, the food & beverage industry are not civil society
    Gregg Gonsalves, 27 September 2011
  • Reflections on the UN High-Level Meeting on Noncommunicable Diseases
    J. Stephen Morrison, 26 September 2011
  • UN NCD Summit: Empty words don't save lives
    "Erika' blog" on imaxi, 12 September 2011
  • NCDs: Public health policy at the mercy of corporate greed
    Boyd Swinburn in: National Times (Australia), September 2011
  • Informing the 2011 UN session on noncommunicable diseases: Applying lessons from the AIDS response
    Peter Lamptey et al. in: PLoS Medicine, September 2011
  • Tackling NCDs: a different approach is needed
    "Describing the rising prevalence of NCDs as a crisis makes for good drama, but misleads us into thinking that this problem is amenable to a quick fix. (...) Much has been learned from vertical disease-oriented programmes. Evidence suggests however that better outcomes occur by addressing diseases through an integrated approach in a strong primary care system."  Jan De Maeseneer et al. in: The Lancet, September 2011 - payment or subscription required
  • Non-Communicable Diseases: Will industry influence derail UN summit?
    Deborah Cohen in: BMJ, August 2011
  • UN high level meeting on non-communicable diseases: an opportunity for whom? David Stuckler et al. in: BMJ, August 2011 or PDF on
  • Framing international trade and chronic disease
    R Labonte et al. in: Globalization and Health, July 2011
  • Expectations for the United Nations high-level meeting on noncommunicable diseases
    Devi Sridhar et al in: WHO Bulletin, July 2011
  • Bringing African priorities to global action on NCDs
    Rene Loewenson in: Health Diplomacy Monitor, June 2011, P. 15-18 (pdf)
  • UN High-Level Meeting on Non-Communicable Diseases: addressing four questions
    Robert Beaglehole et al. in: Lancet (2011) - see also:
  • Rethinking health-care systems: a focus on chronicity
    Pascale Allotey et al. in: The Lancet (2011)
  • Getting the politics right for the September 2011 UN High-level Meeting on Noncommunicable Diseases
    Devi Sridhar et al., SCIS report (2011, pdf)
  • Raising the priority of preventing chronic diseases: A political process
    Robert Geneau et al. in: The Lancet (2010)
  • The hope and the promise of the UN Resolution on non-communicable diseases
    George Alleyne, David Stuckler, Ala Alwan in: Globalization & Health (2010, PDF)
  • Health transition in Africa: practical policy proposals for primary care
    D Maher et al. in: Bulletin of the World Health Organization (2010)
  • Where have all the donors gone? Scarce donor funding for non-communicable diseases
    Rachel Nugent and Andrea B. Feigl, CGDev Working Paper 228 (2010)


Will be updated monthly

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