Non-communicable diseases and mental health need direct and dedicated investment and action

Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates and Guests,

UNDP is honored to join the UN Task Force on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and partners at this annual event.

More than two and a half years into the COVID-19 pandemic, the impetus to invest in NCDs and mental health has never been clearer.

COVID-19 continues to disproportionately impact those with chronic diseases and underlying health conditions – affecting about a quarter of the global population.

Disruptions in health services during the COVID-19 pandemic continue to contribute to growing NCD and mental health burdens.

Of the estimated 15 million excess deaths over 2020-2021, a significant portion were likely to be people living with NCDs.

Anxiety and depression have increased by 25 percent worldwide during just the first year of the pandemic.

And we continue to hear of more alarming evidence that SARS-COV-2 infection itself is inducing spikes in heart and neurological conditions.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and its effects, and for the first time ever, UNDP’s Human Development Index value has declined—for two years straight.

Scaled up investments for NCDs and mental health are crucial to shore up defenses against pandemics, regain lost ground on the SDGs and the commitment to leave no one behind.

We must capitalize on key opportunities to integrate NCDs, mental health and tobacco control into development plans and strategies, including addressing pandemic preparedness and response efforts and climate action.

At the same time, NCDs and mental health need direct and dedicated investment and action.

NCDs represent over 60% of the global disease burden and account for 70% of deaths yet receive less than two percent of development assistance for health. Meanwhile, NCD investments by national governments are insufficient as well.

The Health4Life Fund is an important mechanism for ensuring stronger coordination and partnerships across the UN system to more effectively support Member States in scaling action on NCDs and mental health.

UNDP is proud to have partnered with WHO and UNICEF to establish the Health4Life Fund.

We are committed to seeing that it is sufficiently resourced to realize its full potential for countries and communities.

UNDP is working in close partnership with WHO, the UN NCD Task Force and the Secretariat of the WHO FCTC to support 69 countries on NCDs and mental health. We estimate that government policy actions supported to date will save more than 8 billion dollars in economic losses in 2022 alone.

Friends of the Task Force, many of whom are with us today, have been crucial in achieving such results.

In line with our Strategic Plan 2022-2025 and HIV and Health Strategy 2022-2025, UNDP remains committed to addressing NCDs and mental health to ensure a more equitable, healthier and sustainable future.

Thank you.

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