World Heart Federation at the United Nations General Assembly on World Heart Day
This month and coinciding with World Heart Day, the World Heart Federation travels to New York to participate in the UN General Assembly (UNGA). The atmosphere promises to be particularly exciting, as the city hosts not just the 70th UNGA, but also the Post-2015 Development Agenda Summit, which will usher in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The SDGs are the successors of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which were inaugurated in 2000 in order to address major development challenges, ranging from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS. The SDGs, which follow on from the MDGs, differ from their predecessors, as the SDGs fully acknowledge the importance of tackling non-communicable disease (NCDs) including cardiovascular disease (CVD).
The SDGs frame NCDs as a global humanitarian issue. We already know that NCDs disproportionately affect low and middle income countries, which carry nearly three quarters of the burden of morbidity and see 28 million NCD-related deaths each year. CVD accounts for most NCD deaths, or 17.3 million people annually, followed by cancers (8.2 million), respiratory diseases (4 million) and diabetes (1.5 million). Given these startling figures, it is crucial that heads of state and UN officials deliver on their SDG commitments to prevent and control NCDs.
The World Heart Federation delegation (comprising of members, member-partners, Board representatives and staff) will be present at the historic adoption of the SDGs, marking the first time that non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are included on the global development agenda. This achievement has been long advocated for by the CVD community, which is well-placed to hold governments accountable to their commitments around Sustainable Development Goal 3 on health: ‘Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages’.
We are especially excited about the explicit references to NCDs in the targets listed under Goal 3, including target 3.4: ‘By 2030, reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and wellbeing’. This target aligns with the World Heart Federation’s mission of achieving ’25by25’ – a 25% reduction in premature mortality from CVD by 2025, and positions the World Heart Federation as a driving force to achieve SDG 3 over the next 15 years, with the support and engagement of its members.
We will be tweeting and blogging throughout the UN General Assembly. To keep up to date, follow us on social media @worldheartfed, @RHDAction and www.worldheartday.org