The High-Level Meetings on NCDs and UHC convened by the UN are a series of meetings that have been held since 2011 at the UN Headquarters in New York City. The HLMs are attended by heads of state and government, ministers of health, civil society representatives and many other stakeholders. These meetings have kept NCDs and CVD as priorities on the global health agenda and offer a forum for countries to report on and measure progress towards ambitious global health targets.
2011 HLM and Political Declaration
In 2009 the World Heart Federation, along with the NCD Alliance and other civil society organizations, campaigned successfully for a United Nations (UN) High-Level Meeting (HLM) on Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs). The HLM was the first time that heads of state and ministers outside the health sector came together to consider the global NCD epidemic.
This meeting took place on 19 September 2011, where the UN Political Declaration on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases was agreed upon by world leaders. This represented a landmark achievement, bringing NCDs and CVD to the global stage and establishing them as part of the global development agenda.
The following year, at the 65th World Health Assembly in 2012, all 194 WHO Member States endorsed an historic target to reduce premature deaths from non-communicable diseases by 25% by 2025 (“25by25”).
2014 HLM and 4 time-bound targets
A second High-level Meeting was convened in New York City in 2014. At this meeting, Member States made four time-bound commitments to help achieve the 25by25 targets:
- Consider setting national NCD targets for 2025.
- Consider developing national multi-sectoral policies and plans to achieve the national targets by 2025.
- Reduce risk factors for NCDs, building on guidance set out in the World Health Organization (WHO) Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs.
- Strengthen health systems to address NCDs through people-centered primary health care and universal health coverage, building on guidance set out in the WHO Global NCD Action Plan.
At the HLM in 2018, Member States reviewed their progress on NCDs, both nationally and globally, and towards the 4 time-bound commitments. Given the scale of the global NCD epidemic, progress so far has been inadequate, and urgent action is needed.
2019 HLM on UHC
During the first High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage (UHC), world leaders adopted the first United Nations Political Declaration on Universal Health Coverage. The Declaration is a result of months of debate and compromise, and while its contents cannot be considered perfect, the document represents the most comprehensive set of health commitments ever adopted at this level, providing a framework for action on UHC.
WHF took advantage of this historic opportunity to host a discussion with Ministries of Finance on fiscal policies for health and financing UHC at its first official side-event within UN headquarters. While other organizations repeated calls for better engagement with financial policymakers just outside the door, WHF was walking the talk, bringing Ministers of Finance from Ukraine and Barbados to the same table with the Norwegian Minister of Health and representatives of the global health community.