Noncommunicable diseases and their risk factors

UN Interagency Task Force on NCDs (UNIATF)

Investing in the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases for sustainable development: Countries discussed the role of investment cases

Participants of the NCD investment case forum
Dudley Tarlton

14-15 October 2019 - Non-communicable diseases are imposing significant costs on emerging economies. An 18-country forum hosted in Moscow by the WHO Secretariat of the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on Non-communicable diseases (UNIATF) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) examined the results of the NCD investment cases undertaken to date.

Launching of the Cambodia NCD Investment Case

Handover of the NCD Investment Case Report. From the left: Dr Kol Hero, Dr Vong Sathiarany, H.E. Professor Eng Huot, Alexey Kulikov and Roy Small
Alexey Kulikov

17 October 2019 -- Addressing noncommunicable diseases in Cambodia can save lives and sustain economic growth.

Addressing cancers, diabetes, heart disease and other noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in Cambodia is crucial to ensure health and well-being for all, maintain rapid economic growth, and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Advancing Russia's response to noncommunicable diseases through an investment case

People sitting around a table during a meeting between UNIATF and high-level representatives of the Ministry of Health, Labour and Parliament of the Russian Federation
WHO/A Kulikov

28 June 2019 – WHO and its Regional Office for Europe, together with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), conducted an initial data collection mission in the Russian Federation to develop an investment case on noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). The study will seek to quantify the social and economic costs of NCDs for the country’s economy and to identify the most cost-effective interventions at the national level.

Friends of the Task Force meet during the United Nations High-level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage

UNIATF Secretariat

23 September 2019 - On Monday 23 September 2019, the Friends of the Task Force met during the High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) at the 74th United Nations General Assembly in New York.

UN Interagency Task Force

The United Nations Interagency Task Force (UNIATF) on the Prevention and Control of NCDs coordinates the activities of relevant UN organizations and other inter-governmental organizations to support governments to meet high-level commitments to respond to NCD epidemics worldwide.

The commitments were made by Heads of State and Government in the 2011 Political Declaration on NCDs, and implementation is through the WHO Global NCD Action Plan 2013–2020. The Task Force was established by the UN Secretary-General in June 2013 and placed under WHO’s leadership. Its terms of reference were adopted by ECOSOC in July 2014.

The Task Force Strategy, 2019-2021 builds on the experience of the 2014–2017 work plans. The strategy has four priorities that are in line with the Task Force’s Terms of Reference and mandates provided through United Nations General Assembly Political Declarations and ECOSOC resolutions concerning the Task Force.

Briefing papers

Make up this fortuneteller to discover the links between NCDs and the SDGs.

Play this game of Snakes and Ladders to increase your awareness on the Best Buy for controlling and preventing NCDs.


  • UNIATF Awards 2019
    Winners of the 2019 Task Force awards were announced on 23 September 2019 in New York at the Friends of the Task Force meeting during the United Nations High-level Meeting on Universal Health. (Could we include a hyperlink to webstory).
UNIATF Awards 2018

Call for nominations for the Task Force Award 2019 is NOW CLOSED. The awards will be issued to institutions or groups of individuals for achievements in 2018 in the area of multisectoral action in the prevention and control of NCDs and getting countries on the right trajectories in achieving NCD-related Sustainable Development Goals.

The UN Interagency Task Force at its 10th meeting in Vienna in February 2018 initiated the UNIATF award to recognize those making an outstanding contribution to NCD prevention and control. The winners were announced in on 27 September 2018 in New York during the “Friends of the Task Force” meeting in the margins of the Third High-level Meeting on NCDs at the United Nations General Assembly.


Global collaboration to address NCDs in countries

Investing in NCD prevention and control saves lives and money

Briefing for Economists on NCD investment cases




Joint missions support UN country teams in their efforts to help countries to build and share solutions for the prevention and control of NCDs, establish a UN thematic group (or an equivalent mechanism) on NCDs to serve as platforms for joint support to national efforts to address NCDs.

Joint Programming Missions also encourage whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches to NCDs by working with government and non-State partners. Joint Missions highlight a small number of crucial next steps that are required for countries to make progress on the multisectoral action in advance of the 2018 High-level Meeting.

Country missions and progress reports

United Arab Emirates

The work of the Task Force is articulated through biennial work plans. Actions includes joint programming missions to countries and joint programmes. Reviews of the work plan are undertaken annually and are available below.

Proposed United Nations NCD and Mental Health Catalytic Trust

A significant new initiative under the UN Interagency Task Force for the Prevention and Control of NCDs is being developed to catalyze more effective responses to NCDs and mental health at country level. The Trust Fund is one of the bold ideas being considered by the WHO Independent Global High-level Commission on NCDs.

Joint programmes

UNDP/WHO Joint Programme on NCDs

The UNDP WHO Joint Programme on NCDs (Joint Programme) will support countries to develop effective national multisectoral noncommunicable diseases (NCD) responses to achieve the NCD-related targets in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other global commitments. The Joint Programme stems from the recognition that reducing the burden of NCDs cannot be achieved by the health sector alone and requires action across a number of sectors. The Joint Programme will strengthen whole-of-government and whole-of-society responses to NCDs in up to 24 countries.

SAFER: Preventing and Reducing Alcohol-Related Harms

WHO has released SAFER, a new initiative and technical package outlining 5 high-impact strategies that can help governments to reduce the harmful use of alcohol and related health, social and economic consequences. SAFER is the newest WHO-led roadmap to support governments in taking practical steps to accelerate progress on health, beat noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) through addressing the harmful use of alcohol, and achieve development targets.

Global Regulatory & Fiscal Capacity Building Programme: Promoting Healthy Diets and Physical Activity

In 2014 IDLO signed agreements with WHO and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) to build legal capacity to address public health challenges. The initial focus is on obesity, diabetes, healthy diets and physical activity. Also in 2014, IDLO, the WHO and the University of Sydney convened the first regional consultation on overweight, obesity, diabetes and law in the Western Pacific. IDLO will support further regional consultations and national capacity building of government, academic and civil society partners to strengthen national legal frameworks and capacity to address NCDs. Programs will be tailored to regional and national needs.

FCTC2030: Strengthening WHO FCTC implementation to achieve the SDGs

Tobacco is a major public health concern and a barrier to development around the world. The FCTC 2030 project is strengthening tobacco control in low- and middle-income countries through promoting and supporting governments to accelerate the implementation of the WHO FCTC.

UN Joint Action on Cervical Cancer

Each year, over a quarter of a million women die of cervical cancer: 90% of these deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. Scaling-up existing effective tools for prevention and control – particularly vaccinating against the human papilloma virus and screening for and treating pre-cancerous cervical lesions – can prevent most of these deaths. In 2016, seven UN agencies established a new five-year Joint Global Programme on Cervical Cancer Prevention and Control to elimination of cervical cancer as a public health concern across the world, bringing together the strengths of their work to protect and promote the health of women and girls.

Cervical Cancer – MoU and joint programming document

60th IAEA General Conference side event – September 2016

Partners roundtable hosted by the US Government – December 2016

ITU-WHO Mobile Health for NCDs Initiative

WHO and the International Telecommunications Union are collaborating with a range of Members States and other partners in a ground breaking initiative, which focuses on the use of mobile technologies to improve the prevention and treatment of NCDs. This partnership aims to contribute to global and national efforts to save lives, minimize illness and disability, and reduce the social and economic burden that NCDs create. The ITU-WHO mHealth initiative is harnessing the best available mobile technology, making mHealth accessible to all countries as a powerful anti- NCD measure.

UNODC-WHO-UICC Joint Global Programme on Access to Controlled Drugs for Medical Purposes While Preventing Diversion and Abuse

The Joint Global Programme is a partnership between the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC), World Health Organization (WHO) and the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC). The objective is to lead a coordinated worldwide response to improve access to controlled drugs for medical purposes, while controlling for abuse and diversion, therefore increasing the number of patients globally receiving appropriate treatment.

UNODC-WHO Joint Programme for Drug Dependence Treatment and Care

The Joint Programme on Drug Dependence Treatment and Care is a collaboration between UNODC and WHO. The aim is to support the development of comprehensive, integrated health-based approaches to drug policies that can reduce demand for illicit substances, relieve suffering and decrease drug-related harm to individuals, families, communities and societies.

Working Groups

Joint letters and agreements

Guidance and other relevant publications developed or supported by the Task Force are provided in this section.

Guidance for non-health sectors on NCDs

What government ministries need to know about noncommunicable diseases

Set of policy briefs and posters which provide decision makers across government with information about how NCDs affect their sector, and the steps they can take to respond to the challenge of NCDs.

Cervical cancer

HPV, HIV and cervical cancer: leveraging synergies to save women’s lives

In July 2016, at the 21st International AIDS Conference, in Durban, South Africa, UNAIDS, WHO and the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS launched this report as part of the work of the United Nations Interagency Joint Task Force on Non-communicable Diseases.

Mental Health related activities

Mental health-related activities of UNIATF members

Mental health has long been a neglected area within health. However, mental health and well-being are integral parts of people’s health, and have an important impact on their capacity to lead fulfilling and productive lives.

NCDs in emergencies

The range of threats to public health faced by countries worldwide is broad and highly diverse. Emergencies can lead to an acute exacerbation or a life-threatening deterioration in the health of people with NCDs. Therefore it is important to inform all stakeholders about the importance of including NCDs in the preparedness and response.

Nutrition and climate change

Sustainable Diets for Healthy People and a Healthy Planet – August 2017

Developing a global food system to deliver healthy diets for a growing population, while reducing the environmental impact and reining in climate change, is one of the greatest global challenges of our time. Food production and consumption are responsible for 19-29% of the human-induced greenhouse gas emissions, 60% of the terrestrial biodiversity loss and 70% of fresh-water use. Diets, meanwhile, have deteriorated globally, leading to an increase in NCDs, particularly type II diabetes, coronary heart disease and some cancers. This paper connects the dots between sustainable food systems, dietary patterns, health, nutrition and climate change mitigation.

Integrating NCDs into the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAFs)

UNDP/WHO Guidance note – March 2015

Model Policy

Model policy for agencies of the United Nations system on preventing tobacco industry interference

Tobacco use is one of the most significant preventable causes of death and disease in the world. It is particularly escalating in children and women worldwide. Nearly 80% of the world's one billion smokers live in low- and middle-income countries. The objective of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) is to protect present and future generations from the devastating health, social, environmental and economic consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke.

NCD Investment Cases

Guidance Note

This Guidance Note is a collaboration between WHO and UNDP. It includes experiences of an initial set of investment cases carried out in fourteen countries. The Guidance Note focuses on how to undertake the economic component of NCD investment cases.

Integrating NCDs into UNDAFs – current status

The Task Force meets twice a year, usually in February and October. Meetings are only open to Members of the Task Force. Members take it in turns to host with WHO co-chairing meetings with the agency hosting the meeting. Summaries of the meetings are made available to the public.

Global events

Trainings and workshops

Meetings of the Task Force

Other meetings

ECOSOC reports and resolution

Once a year, the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC) considers a report from the WHO Director-General on progress of the work of the Task Force. This report is transmitted to ECOSOC by the UN Secretary-General.

Other reports and resolutions

The UN Interagency Task Force at its 10th meeting in Vienna in February 2018 initiated the UNIATF award to recognize those making an outstanding contribution to NCD prevention and control.

Contact us

Dr Nick Banatvala
Head of Secretariat
UN Interagency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of NCDs