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United Nations General Assembly 68


There are less than 850 days remaining until the current Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expire. In the last week of September at the UN General Assembly, member states gathered together to discuss progress on the MDGs to date and looked forward to the post-2015 development agenda plans. They renewed their commitment to achieving the MDGs by the deadline and also signed on to host a high-level summit in September of 2015.

This summit will serve as the venue for the adoption of the new post-2015 development agenda, which will build upon the current MDGs, incorporate the unfinished goals, and include new challenges that have come up since 2000. Given that tobacco is a barrier to development, we will be working hard to ensure that the tobacco epidemic and Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) are adequately addressed.

The post-2015 development agenda will blend the important issues of poverty eradication and sustainable development into a single framework and set of goals. These goals will be universal and applicable to all countries while also accounting for varying national situations and priorities.

We would like to express our appreciation to Palau for their statement during the UN general debate. The President supported our efforts by being the only nation to specifically point out that tobacco control was excluded from the MDGs and to note the direct impact tobacco has on NCDs. He emphasized that we must target tobacco separately. We’d also like to recognize Russia and New Zealand for mentioning the importance of addressing NCDs in their UN statements.

Given this year’s public statements, the reality is that we have a lot of work to do in the global health community. Health was not mentioned nearly as much as it should have been considering its incredible impact on every area of sustainable development and poverty. In order to get NCDs and tobacco control on the radar of decision makers, we need to work together with other health groups to promote overall health goals.

For more information on the conclusions of the special event on MDGs check out the outcome document. Take a look at our leaflet on tobacco and sustainable development, and check out our video series “Real Talk Tobacco” for updates from UNGA 68.

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