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Item 18: Noncommunicable Diseases

Nordic statement. Delivered by Iceland.

Thank you Chair,

I have the honor of speaking on behalf of the Nordic countries Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, and Iceland.

First, I would like to make a few remarks on how the governing bodies follow up on resolutions through progress reports. We appreciate the steps that have been taken by merging the discussions of progress reports into thematic blocks, and by only considering them at the health assembly. This frees up valuable time.

As we have previously noted, however, progress reports are an important part of oversight and evaluation – even more so now that we only discuss them at the health assembly. They should be linked to the results chain of the Programme Budget, which is our main instrument of accountability, and their documentation of the contribution towards the deliverables of WHO should be made explicit.

We would be interested in hearing the Secretariat’s views on this.

Let me now turn to progress report A on the Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan.

The Nordic countries thank the Secretariat for this report. It shows that progress is being made on several fronts in the implementation of this important plan.

In particular, we appreciate that a more complete set of indicators has been developed, and that data collection is improving. This may also become an important tool in monitoring the UN sustainable development goals.  Knowledge and dissemination of experiences are important parts of WHO’s work in this field.

We would also like to emphasize the great importance of prioritizing action on promotion and prevention in the context of multi-sectorial planning and collaboration. The cost-effectiveness of population oriented (universal) primary prevention measures in view of transgenerational benefits is still an area in need of greater emphasis.

Likewise, stakeholder collaboration and empowerment of people with mental disorders and psychosocial disabilities and their organizations are paramount to continue the positive development in the field of mental health.

The Action Plan calls for the collection and dissemination of evidence and best practices for reducing mental ill-health and minimizing social service gaps. The Nordic countries strongly support this perspective and urge the Secretariat to take action in order to address disparities.

Thank you.