Commonwealth, stakeholders leverage multisectoral collaboration to promote Youth-led NCD Guiding Framework

02 May 2024
Two people stretching before exercise

Stakeholders across the Commonwealth have called for increased multisectoral collaboration to implement the Commonwealth Youth-led NCD Guiding Framework – a blueprint that addresses the rising burden of non-communicable diseases in Commonwealth countries.

Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are driven in part by modifiable risk factors that often emerge in childhood and adolescence, such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, harmful use of alcohol and air pollution.

The webinar, hosted by the Commonwealth Secretariat on April 25, 2024, drew a diverse range of participants, including High Commissioners, representatives from ministries of health, youth, sports, gender, education, healthcare professionals, youth networks and accredited organisations across the Commonwealth. The participants examined ways to work with young people to reduce major NCD risk factors.

In a welcome address, Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC said,

"NCDs are a serious challenge for people under 30, who make up 60% of our Commonwealth population. The work we do with young people is vital. The Commonwealth youth-led NCD Guiding Framework developed through extensive consultation and collaboration with young people, provides a road map for collective action to address the root cause of NCDs and promote healthier lifestyles.

"This will help to deliver the CHOGM 2022 mandate to take bold, multisectoral and coordinated action to reduce the incidence of NCDs through addressing their main risk factors."

Commonwealth Secretary-General The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC
The Commonwealth Secretary-General, the Rt Hon Patricia Scotland KC, addressed participants on the importance of the Commonwealth youth-led NCD Guiding Framework.

Towards a multi-sectoral collaborative approach

Following the Commonwealth Secretary-General’s opening remarks, Prof Eugene Sobngwi at the Ministry of Public Health, Cameroon, spoke about the need to develop healthy nutrition interventions that target youths, with the caveat that interventions are more successful when they are co-created, managed and implemented with young people.

The President of the NCD Alliance, Prof. Monika Arora, also gave insights into leveraging the Commonwealth Youth-led NCD guiding framework to drive behavioural change among young people.

Speaking on the work being done by WHO’s working groups, Ishu Kataria at the World Health Organization Youth Council emphasised the need to mobilise young leaders at local, regional, and global levels to hold their peers accountable for their own health.

The Chair of the Commonwealth Youth Network, Lucy Fagan, also identified the intersection between physical and mental health and called for collective action to advance the NCD elimination agenda.

Steps to implementation

The online event also featured discussions on lessons learnt from implementing the WHO Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs, which recognises the important role of international cooperation in supporting national efforts to address the challenge of NCDs.

Around 10 million Commonwealth citizens die because of lifestyle-related illnesses, with cardiovascular and chronic respiratory diseases, diabetes and cancer accounting for more than 7 million fatalities.  Participants at the webinar reiterated that stronger partnerships should develop, scale up, and measure the real impact of health intervention programs that aim to prevent noncommunicable diseases in the Commonwealth and across the world.

The Commonwealth Youth Health Network (CYHN), a youth-led network, works closely with the Secretariat's Health team to advance a holistic approach towards NCD elimination.  CYHN also works with the 56 Commonwealth member countries to achieve health-related development goals, focusing on the needs of adolescents and young people.

Watch the webinar recording

Media contact

  • Ijeoma Onyeator  Communications Officer, Communications Division, Commonwealth Secretariat

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