We have the knowledge, now we need to act

In September 2011, world leaders adopted an ambitious commitment to control Non Communicable Diseases such as Cardiovascular diseases, Cancer , Diabetes and Respiratory diseases. This was a crucial commitment, said Bente Mikkelsen in her speech at the EAT Stockholm Food Forum

“We have all the knowledge we need and we have a commitment from several countries. We know that people are dying too young: more than 14 million people died from NCD’s between the ages of 30 and 70 in 2012,” she said, stressing that most premature deaths from NCD´s can be prevented by governments taking a leading role.

“The reason why WHO care so much about NCDs are that these illnesses bring immense untold suffering, billions of dollars in losses of national income and trap millions of people into chronic poverty.”

WHO’s Global NCD Action Plan 2013-2020 intends to unite governments, international partners around a common agenda, with WHO in the driving seat . Furthermore, the WHO Global Coordination Mechanism on NCDs will facilitate engagement between Member States and non-State actors, such as the private sector, she asured the participants at the EAT Stocholm Food Forum.

“Global problems require global solutions. The UN Food and Agriculture Association (FAO) and WHO will in November 2014 host the 2nd International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2). This conference will bring food, agriculture, health and other sectors together and align sectoral policies to improve nutritional outcomes. This is required if we are to achieve our global goals.
Mikkelsen stressed the need to reshape the global food system to better cater for population health needs. Action is required at all levels, from primary production, to manufacturing, distribution and consumers’ policies.

“Any prescription to increase yields that ignores the need to transition to sustainable production and consumption, and to reduce rural poverty, will not only be incomplete it may also have damaging impacts, worsening the ecological crisis and widening the gap between different categories of food producers, “ she said.