GSO Projects — Roundtable on Moving from Declaration to Action on Non-Communicable Diseases, November 2011

The participatory roundtable discussion hosted by the Global Social Observatory on “Moving from Declaration to Action on Non-Communicable Diseases” on Thursday, 17 November 2011 was both well attended and animated. There was active engagement among the participants, conveying a strong sense of purpose and the recognition of common aims.  The list below provides a summary of the central messages and themes of the discussion, demonstrating the imperatives of maintaining momentum while addressing a broad range of cross cutting issues. Click HERE to see the meeting report.

  1. The NCD Summit and Political Declaration mobilized increased global recognition of the need for action on the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases.
  2. The multi-sectoral nature of the NCD challenge reinforces the idea that “health is in all sectors” but we all need to learn how to be multi-sectoral, and specifically how to engage the diverse “non-health” sectors more effectively.
  3. The issues involving multi-sectoral engagement are linked to the issues of multi-stakeholder engagement.
  4. Most private and public stakeholders are operating constructively with an agreement regarding aligned interests, but we need to address and eradicate the distrust and discomfort that make it difficult to find common ground because of the view that certain stakeholders (e.g., the tobacco industry) are not operating constructively.
  5. Language is important for defining the contours of the dilemma, with a preference for a constructive approach to searching for agreement on the principles of engagement and ensuring transparency among sectors.
  6. Nonetheless, the potential conflicts of interest among different stakeholders and sectors, public and private, should be acknowledged and addressed by establishing principles of engagement designed to avoid conflicts and to make collaborative partnerships work effectively.
  7. The different risk factors associated with NCDs each have different circumstances that affect the potential for multi-sectoral engagement.
  8. The risk factor of diet and its effect on obesity is where the debate reveals challenges and differing views regarding multi-stakeholder engagement as well as the public policy choices regarding self-regulation versus binding regulatory mechanisms.
  9. The risk factor of physical inactivity is the most neglected in terms of building multi-sectoral coalitions for collaborative action.
  10. The rethinking of health care delivery to integrate the concept of the “life course” for health is opening up new avenues for patient-centered policies and practices and learning among health professionals about prevention as well as treatment and care.  The multi-sectoral elements of this re-thinking should be encouraged.
  11. Workplace engagement is a growth sector for collaboration and action on NCDs.
  12. Linkages between NGOs, the private sector and governments are important for filling in the gaps with innovative multi-sectoral approaches to NCDs.
  13. There is a continuing need for a neutral space to have an open and frank discussion of how to combine multiple stakeholders, including the private sector, and how to mobilize multiple sectors.
  14. Specific action items include the multi-sectoral parameters of building a platform for data sharing and monitoring, building coalitions to promote physical activity and nutrition, sharing ideas and proposals for broadening access to prevention, treatment and care, and gathering information on best practices for developing rules of engagement for multi-sectoral collaboration.