The Framework Convention Alliance for Tobacco Control

Tobacco control, NCDs emerging in UN development talks

By Laurent Huber,
FCA Director

The devastation caused by the tobacco epidemic was highlighted in a speech at the United Nations General Assembly on 25 September, but much more will need to be done to get tobacco control included in the world's post-2015 development agenda.

"Tobacco consumption, which was left out of the MDGs, has a direct impact on NCDs, and must therefore be separately targeted" in those goals, President Tommy Remengesau of Palau told the Special Event on the Millennium Development Goals.

Tobacco use is a major risk factor for the four main groups of non-communicable diseases, or NCDs: cancers, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases and diabetes. NCDs are responsible for nearly 2/3 of the world's deaths. FCA has long advocated that because of its link to NCDs and its negative impact on socio-economic development, tobacco use must become a global development priority, and that the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) provides a proven and effective way to tackle the death and disease caused by NCDs.

However, while Palau and other nations (see below) mentioned NCDs as a priority for the post-2015 development agenda, most of the health discussion at the Special Event centred on achieving current health MDGs, like HIV/AIDs and maternal health.

On the other hand, there were other events that were strong on health, including Healthy Planet, Health People, a panel discussion organised by the NCD Alliance and others. In addition, a number of people who have experience with UN processes and the development agenda suggested that neither health nor NCDs will be neglected in the post-2015 agenda.


Countries that called for NCDs in post-2015 development: Antigua and Barbuda, Belize, Jamaica, New Zealand, Federated States of Micronesia, Palau, Russian Federation, St Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Suriname, Swaziland, Tonga

Talking with people in New York from other health organisations, including those working on HIV/AIDs, reproductive rights etc, it seems there is a genuine willingness to work together to find consensus on what the overarching health goals should be in the future development goals.

The week of events was also a reminder that we need to expand our communications and advocacy efforts with new constituencies in mind, and while integrating tobacco control in the post-2015 agenda will not be easy, it is still a realistic objective.

I'd like to give special thanks to those of you who responded to our call for support for FCA's campaign to get tobacco control on the post-2015 development agenda. If you think this work is important, please consider a donation to FCA.


Read also:

Tobacco control: two years after the UN's NCD Summit

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