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Speech of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Statement by H.E. Dr. R. M. Marty M. Natalegawa Minister for Foreign Affairs Republic of Indonesia At the Plenary of the High-level Meeting on “Non-communicable Diseases: Prevention and Control” United Nations General Assembly New York, 19 September 2011

Monday, 19 September 2011

Statement by
H.E. Dr. R. M. Marty M. Natalegawa 
Minister for Foreign Affairs
Republic of Indonesia
At the Plenary of the High-level Meeting on
“Non-communicable Diseases: Prevention and Control”
United Nations General Assembly
New York, 19 September 2011

Excellency Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, President of the 66th Session of the UN General Assembly,
Excellency  Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations,
Excellency Director General of  WHO, Dr. Margaret Chan,
Excellencies Heads of States and Government,
Excellencies Ministers and Heads of Delegations,
Distinguished Participants,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am honoured to participate at this important High-level Meeting on behalf of His Excellency Dr. Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of Indonesia, who is also Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). President of the Republic of Indonesia would have been delighted to attend this meeting but regrettably he is unable to join all of you on this occasion.
Today we address a grievous global concern: “The prevention and control of Non-communicable Diseases.”
This is an issue that shatters not only on national development gain but also on the human right to life. I therefore thank the Secretary-General for providing us with an enlightening report on this issue.
Mr. President,
First of all, on behalf of ASEAN, let me present our regional perspective on the matter at hand. 
For ASEAN Member States, non-communicable diseases are a major challenge that compounds the deadly impact of communicable diseases. 
A 2010 WHO Report showed that non-communicable diseases caused some 36.1 million deaths in 2008. Eighty percent of these deaths are caused by four main non-communicable diseases. And low to middle income families suffered 80 percent of these deaths.
According to the WHO, NCDs-related deaths will increase by 17 percent over the next decade. And among ASEAN communities, deaths due to NCDs can increase from its current 2.6 million to 4.2 million people.

At the global level, NCDs are affecting mostly working-age adults—thereby eroding the most productive generation in the world today. And thus reducing the gross domestic product of low to middle-income countries by as much as five percent.
This is one reason why poverty is so wide-spread. And why many countries suffered in backwardness.
Hence, we in ASEAN are working hard and in concert to address this grave challenge.
In our view, prevention is the key to resolving it.
Prevention is and will always be our priority.
We are therefore carrying out four major prevention strategies.
First and foremost, we in ASEAN are strengthening our health systems and infrastructures.
This includes mainstreaming NCD prevention and control alongside infectious disease prevention and control in national development programmes, and enhancing operations in health facilities from the lowest to the highest levels.
It includes raising the capabilities of human resources for medical care and developing effective referral systems. 
We are also improving our surveillance systems on the diseases and the modifiable risk factors.
We are working toward universal health coverage and providing service packages that cater to the needs of people with chronic NCDs.
In brief, we must have a comprehensive health system and infrastructure for addressing NCDs.
This is not an option. It is an imperative.
Second, we are strengthening our national health policies and accelerating programmes for tobacco control.
We will not be content only with passing laws that heavily tax cigarettes. We will also consider using the revenues derived from sin taxes to support NCDs prevention.
We will continue to promote a smoke-free environment in order to protect our people from secondary smoke.
We are aligning national policies on agriculture, trade, industry and transport to improve diets, encourage physical exercise and reduce harmful alcohol use.
We are implementing community based intervention for early detection of factors of major NCDs.
Third, we are strengthening partnerships for health.
The need for international cooperation for public health cannot be overemphasized.
Although the Millennium Development Goals do not include targets for the reduction of NCDs, individual efforts by ASEAN Member States warrant complementary coordinated support from our partners.
We appeal to our international partners to fund and align the prevention and control of NCDs with their other development programmes such as those of the MDGs and Climate Change.
We urge our development partners to fund researches on the unique public health problems of our region. 
We call upon the international community to help us ensure that essential pharmaceutical products and medical devices are available to the region. This will help avert the devastating socioeconomic impact of NCDs on our societies.
In short, the partnership among countries is a must. Among developed and developing countries. At the global, regional and bilateral levels.
Last but not least, we are ensuring the involvement of all stakeholders.
To effectively respond to the challenges posed by NCDs, we must enlist the participation of all stakeholders. ASEAN is therefore committed to implementing a whole-of-government people-centered approach involving civil society, the private sector and community organizations.
By taking these steps, we in ASEAN are confident that we will be able to contribute significantly to the global reduction of NCD death rate in this decade.
Mr. President,
At the national level, Indonesia is grappling with the double threat of communicable and non-communicable diseases.
The impact of NCDs is not only affecting the urban populations but also rural poor.
This is compounding the basic problem of poverty.
Mr. President,
To address this challenge, we established in 2006 a special unit in the Ministry of Health and tasked it with strengthening the legal framework for and to advocate NCDs control.
We have also given priority to minimizing the common risk factors: tobacco use, alcohol abuse, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity.
We are now simplifying and increasing taxes on tobacco to control the consumption of this deadly commodity.
Indonesia also is committed to implementing the 2008–2013 Action Plan for the Global Strategy for the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases.
To support global efforts at addressing NCDs, Indonesia hosted a Regional Meeting on Health and Development Challenges of NCDs in Jakarta in March 2011.
The Meeting produced significant recommendations that have been offered as inputs for the outcome document of this meeting.
Mr. President,
The scale and virulence of non-communicable diseases require unprecedented political commitment at the highest political levels to address this global issue.
That commitment must therefore be incorporated into global agenda of the international community. That is why we are holding this high-level meeting.
Let us not waste this opportunity. Let us seize this moment to secure global commitment for a coordinated response to this challenge.
This means mobilization of resources. The building of a genuine global partnership. 
These should be clearly stated in the Political Declaration that will be adopted in this meeting.
Then we will have to work hard as a family of nations to carry out what we have declared—including an extensive review of the progress we shall have made by 2014.
Finally, we call on the international community to include progress in the fight against NCDs as component of the MDGs plus beyond 2015.
I thank you.

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