MANILA, 1 November 2017 – “We need to bring all sectors and stakeholders together and harness the comparative advantages of all parties in order to sufficiently address non-communicable diseases (NCD) and the promotion of healthy lifestyle. It is not business as usual if we are to make substantial difference and sustainable impact in our response to NCD,” said Deputy Secretary-General for the ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Vongthep Arthakaivalvatee in a recorded statement at the ASEAN Conference on NCD. The conference was held on 25-27 October in Manila and hosted by the Government of the Philippines through the Department of Health.

The three-day conference was part of the health-related commemorative activities for the 50th anniversary of ASEAN during the Philippines’ Chairmanship in 2017. It re-affirmed that winning the battle against NCD requires an integrated and cohesive multi-sectoral approach working together as one community. It also renewed commitment to promote cooperation among ASEAN Member States in the prevention and control of NCD, reinforcing recent declarations and statements adopted by ASEAN Leaders and Health Ministers to accelerate actions to reduce risk factors for NCD in the region through cost-effective interventions.

Themed “Working Together towards an Enabling Environment for a Healthy Lifestyle in the ASEAN Region,” the conference discussed the situation of NCD in the region, the cost-effective interventions for the prevention and control of NCD, the socio-cultural, political-security and economic perspectives as well as governance and partnerships. It underlined the importance of multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder approaches in combating NCD, and the roles of leadership, communication, economics and evidence in sustaining the fight against NCDs and their risk factors.

The conference also held in-depth discussions on good practices and experiences of ASEAN Member States and partners in addressing NCD and lifestyle-related health priorities of the ASEAN health cooperation. It focused on critical public policy measures, such as on fiscal management, regulation, information and advocacy, and service delivery provision, and at the same time highlighted the need for multi-pronged approaches in addressing NCD.

Officer in Charge – Secretary of the Philippine Department of Health Herminigildo Valle also stressed that there is a pressing need to step up actions against NCD and their risk factors in the ASEAN Region. “Coordinated action is needed and governments must take the initiative and be at the drivers’ seat to bring in civil society, academia, business, legislators and policy-maker, and other stakeholders to promote health. Beating NCD requires a comprehensive approach,” he pointed out.

Representatives from ASEAN Member States, China, Japan, Republic of Korea and Development Partners, as well as various international and regional civil society organisations attended the conference.