The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)

The Defeat-NCD Partnership launch

Opening remarks by Grete Faremo, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNOPS at the launch of The Defeat-NCD Partnership in New York on 24 September 2018.

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As we are heading for the third High Level Meeting on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) later this week, it is a true pleasure to present, with partners, our Defeat-NCD Partnership, which was set up earlier this year.

NCDs have come so much more into focus in recent years. This is a result of our success in dealing with communicable diseases, and our success in increasing life expectancy levels by impressive numbers in many countries.

But at the same time, we see a world where millions turn to tobacco and alcohol. Obesity levels have skyrocketed. Our lives are changing – we are becoming more sedentary. We have also come to recognize mental health problems as part of the NCD agenda.

We already have in our hands many of the tools and knowledge to fight this new endemic, if we organize and fund our ambitions.

We signal today our shared determination to scale-up action against NCDs.

Yes, we know a lot about these diseases. We know what causes them, how to prevent them, how to treat them, and how to reduce their consequences.

But because of the scale and scope of the problem, we all struggle to meet the needs. The rate and scale of epidemics require new actions.

UNOPS hosts the new Defeat-NCD Partnership, which is determined to transform the way we get ahead of the epidemic, and ultimately to defeat it.

So what do I mean when I say that UNOPS hosts this partnership?

When a new hosted-partnership joins the UNOPS family, our rules and policies become theirs. We extend the scope of our legal framework, to cover the initiatives we host. This is in addition to offering a full range of administrative services; contract management, human resources, and procurement processes, for example. In short, UNOPS runs the administration, so our hosted partners can focus on their core objectives.

I can announce today, that as part of the Defeat-NCD initiative, UNOPS will develop a new online-based marketplace. This is basically about responsible, sustainable procurement. Through a public-private partnership with the company, Arcadier, and the Government of Singapore, we plan to expand the availability of affordable, essential medicines, diagnostics, and equipment for NCDs.

It is for the policy agencies, not least the World Health Organization, to determine which are the best forms of treatment or the preferred medication.

When that is established, we are experts at procuring and disseminating these services.

This initiative joints a wide range of global health and development partnerships which we proudly host at UNOPS. This is a critical area of our work. Overall, our health-related work totaled more than 430 million dollars last year, and we see significant future demand for support.

We have learnt that successful partnerships of this type include a number of key ingredients. They must be co-developed and united by a common vision. They must have clear and transparent rules for governance and operations. And they must have the right mix of complementary skills and resources.

I believe that The Defeat-NCD Partnership has all these elements. And with the goodwill and active support of all parties, it stands every chance of success.

I would like to thank the Government of Denmark, the European Commission and Novo Nordisk and Roche for their pioneering efforts in helping to initiate The Defeat-NCD Partnership. The encouragement we have received from the World Health Organization and its Independent High-Level Commission on NCDs has also been instrumental.

Of course, much work lies ahead. But I am optimistic that with your energetic support in the spirit of true partnership, we will make strong headway in the fight against non-communicable diseases.

Thank you.


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