Senator The Honourable Maxine McClean, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados will be part of a distinguished panel who will speak on the topic Childhood Obesity – A Development Time-bomb: Learning from SIDS to accelerate multi-sectoral action in support of the 2025 NCDs targets and the SDGs.

The occasion is the Seventy-Second Regular Session of the United Nations General Assembly  and it takes place on Friday 22 September, 2017.

Other speakers are:

  • Senator The Honourable Kamina Johnson Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Jamaica.
  • The Honourable Elvin Nimrod, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Grenada.
  • The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Canada.
  • Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director General, WHO.
  • Dr Colin Tukuitonga, Director General, Secretariat of the Pacific Community.
  • Sir George Alleyne, Director Emeritus, PAHO/WHO.
  • Sir Trevor Hassell, President, Healthy Caribbean Coalition.

The event comes against a background of the Caribbean and Pacific small island developing States (SIDS), which constitutes the sub-regions of the world with particularly high burdens of obesity and NCDs, which threatens the achievement of sustainable development in these already vulnerable countries.

SIDS have been at the forefront of responding to NCDs as a development issue, and ensuring their inclusion in various development agenda. In 2007, CARICOM held the first-ever Heads of Government Summit on NCDs, and issued the Port of Spain Declaration: “Uniting to stop the epidemic of NCDs.” This Summit served as a catalyst for the UN process that led to the Political Declaration of the UN High Level Meeting on the Prevention and Control of NCDs, in 2011. Subsequently in 2014, NCDs were recognized as a major challenge for SIDS in the SAMOA (SIDS Accelerated Modalities of Action) Pathway, and addressing NCDs has been identified as one of the global health challenges within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Furthermore, in May 2017, the 70th World Health Assembly adopted a decision welcoming the implementation plan of the WHO Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity, which provides guidance for further implementing the recommendations included in the report of the Commission,3 for governments and other stakeholders, aimed at reversing the rising trend of children and adolescents becoming overweight and obese. The final decision urged Member States to develop national responses, strategies and plans to end infant, child and adolescent obesity, taking into account the implementation plan.

Now, on the occasion of seventy-second regular session of the United Nations General Assembly, this Side Event will provide an opportunity to share the experiences of CARICOM and Pacific Island SIDS in scaling up activity, policies and programmes for providing an enabling and less obesogenic environment for their people, especially the children.

Discussions and outcomes of the event will contribute to accelerating the progress made in fulfilling existing commitments to address obesity and NCDs, including via the WHO Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs, the Comprehensive Implementation Plan for Maternal, Infant and Young Child Nutrition, the Decade of Action on Nutrition, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the upcoming Third UN High-level Meeting on NCDs, in 2018.