Time to deliver: report of the WHO Independent High-Level Commission on NCDs


Time to deliver: report of the WHO Independent High-Level Commission on Noncommunicable Diseases

Summary: Billions of people around the world are affected by noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and mental disorders at all stages of the life course, from childhood to old age. Four diseases – cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases, and diabetes, account for most of the NCD burden.

In 2015, countries agreed on the Sustainable Development Goals, which includes a specific NCD target within Goal 3 on health, which is a one-third reduction of premature NCD mortality by 2030 through prevention and treatment of NCDs and the promotion of mental health and well-being (SDG target 3.4). Despite the many proven interventions and commitments to combat NCDs, progress has been slow and uneven globally. Challenges to achieving these commitments include lack of political will and priority setting, the impact of economic, commercial and market factors, and insufficient financing and capacity. The WHO Independent High-level Commission on NCDs was convened by the WHO Director-General in October 2017 to advise him on how countries can accelerate progress towards achieving SDG target 3.4. Taking into account previous work, as well as additional innovative thinking, the Commission agreed on six key recommendations.

  • 01 START FROM THE TOP: Political leadership and responsibility, from capitals to villages
  • 02 PRIORITIZE AND SCALE UP: Governments should identify and implement a specific set of priorities within the overall NCD and mental health agenda, based on public health needs. 
  • 03 EMBED AND EXPAND: NCDS WITHIN HEALTH SYSTEMS AND UNIVERSAL HEALTH COVERAGE: Governments should reorient health systems to include health promotion and the prevention and control of NCDs and mental health services in their UHC policies and plans, according to national contexts and needs. 
  • 04 COLLABORATE AND 04 REGULATE: Governments should increase effective regulation, appropriate engagement with the private sector, academia, civil society, and communities, building on a whole-of-society approach to NCDs, and share experiences and challenges, including policy models that work.)
  • 05 Finance: Governments and the international community should develop a new economic paradigm for funding action on NCDs and mental health.
  • 06 ACT FOR ACCOUNTABILITY: Governments should strengthen accountability to their citizens for action on NCDs.


Time to deliver: report of the WHO Independent High-level Commission on Noncommunicable Diseases. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2018. Licence: CC BY-NCSA 3.0 IGO.

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