Taking Steps to End AIDS by 2030


Today, there was a meeting on the modalities and organizational arrangements of HIV/AIDS, held by the General Assembly. The Co-Facilitator began with a statement on the necessity to find common ground in Paris by the 4th of December. Next, the meeting was decided to be titled as Organization of 2016 High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS. The following conclusions were made throughout the meeting: PP3, which is a proposal to determine the modalities by December 2015; PP5, which is welcoming the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030, emphasizing its other goals and targets of the Agenda; PP4bis, proposed by Africa Group, was recognized to support that AIDS remains an urgent global health and development challenge and the persistent challenges in the fight against this disease.

It was requested that the President of the General Assembly finalize the organizational arrangements for this meeting and draw a list of relevant civil society, private sectors, and academic institutions and NGOs who may participate in this meeting by March 2016. According to the World Health Organization, HIV currently affects almost 78 million people, with 39 million deaths since the beginning of the epidemic, and 37 million people living with HIV by the end of 2013. As the disease progresses, the committee invited intergovernmental organizations and entities and non-governmental members of the Programme Coordinating Board of the Joint Programme to participate and consider initiatives in support of the discussions and outcomes. Various alterations were made in the wording of the texts of the proposals, some statements being made by the United States, the European Union, and Canada, to clarify the goals being presented by the Organization. With the resolutions made today, the Organization hopes to end HIV/AIDS by 2030.

Meeting: High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS

Date/Location: Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015; 10:00-13:00; Economic and Social Council Chamber

Speakers: Co-Facilitator of the Economic and Social Council Chamber for the Organization of the 2016 High-Level Meeting on HIV/AIDS

Written By: WIT Representative Jin Yoo

Edited By: WIT Representative Alex Margolick

UN Focuses on the Rights of Older Persons with Dementia

Dementia-imageOn July 30th, a conference was held at the UN to discuss the right of older persons with dementia to holistic care. To date, age is the main risk factor for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. It is estimated that 1 in 9 persons aged 65 years old or above suffer from irreversible dementia. This number will double in the next 20 years. The current global cost of dementia is around USD 604 billion annually, which is 1% of the total global GDP.

Beginning the conference, the representative of Alzheimer’s Disease International highlighted the work of his organization, which supports action on the rights of older persons, particularly focusing on those with dementia. Next, Mr. Connor introduced the World Palliative Care Alliance, which aims at promoting universal access to affordable, quality palliative care through the support of regional and national hospices and palliative care organizations. The World Health Organization defined the term “palliative care” as the need for care in chronic, life-threatening, and life-limiting conditions. There is no time or prognostic limit on the delivery of palliative care. Furthermore, palliative care is not limited to one care setting.

Ms. Pettus then emphasized that more than 6 billion people worldwide do not have access to strong painkillers. Her job as the advocacy officer is to promote universal access of high-quality palliative care, integrated in a continuum of care with disease prevention and treatment in order to assure that no patient or family caregiver suffers unnecessarily. Mr. Caspi, who works as a nurse aide, is an advocate for older persons with dementia. He explained that there is an increase in dementia worldwide, yet those people suffering from dementia are unable to defend and advocate for themselves in relation to their personal care. This has led to unintentional abuses. He suggested a way to combat this is to educate dementia patient’s family members in understanding the social and physical aspects and of dementia.


Meeting Title: The Right of Older People to Holistic Palliative Care, Adequate Pain Management and Dementia Care and Support
Speakers: Representative of Alzheimer’s Disease International; Mr. Stephen R Connor, Senior Fellow to the “World Palliative Care Alliance” – London (WPCA); Ms. Katherine Irene Pettus, Advocacy Officer, Human Rights and Palliative Care, International Association for Hospice and Palliative Care; Mr. Eilon Caspi, Gerontologist & Dementia Behavior Specialist Providence ,VA Medical Center; Ms. Lia Daichman, Clinical Gerontologist, Buenos Aires, Ar.
Location: Conference Room A, United Nations Headquarters, New York
Date: 30 July 2014
Written By WIT Representative: Samantha Kong
Edited By: Marli Kasdan

Opening of the Open-Ended Working Group on Aging

In order to strengthen the protection of the rights of older people, the fifth session of the Open- Ended Working Group on Aging (OEWGA) commenced today. Issues on the care of older people, violence and abuse against older people, and planning for end of life care were discussed.

Aging is one of the greatest social and economic challenges in the 21st century that we are currently facing worldwide. Representatives of the European Union stated that more than 20% of Europeans will be 65 years old or older by 2050. The EU has adopted a report last month, which underlines the importance of social investment in long-term care. It is necessary to provide adequate social protection connected to long-term care.

Furthermore, the representative of the United States highlighted that it is necessary to focus on developing practical measures to address the rights of older persons. In 2010, President Obama signed into law the Elder Justice Act, which is dedicated to the prevention, detection, treatment, intervention, and prosecution of elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation.

images-13Furthermore, the issue of human rights of older persons has been on the agenda in Japan for a long time. Japan has the most rapidly aging population in the world. 25.1% of the population is aged 65 years old or older, and this percentage will reach 40% by 2060. The reasons for rapid aging are due to the improvement of living conditions and food quality, as well as the advancement in medical treatment, and the decline in the birth rate. Japan is currently promoting cooperation with ASEAN for Active Aging to exchange views with various countries and civil society in tackling this global issue. According to the World Health Organization, active aging is the process of optimizing opportunities for health, participation, and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age.

Meeting Title: Fifth Session of Open Ended Working Group on Ageing
Speakers: Mr. Mateo Estrémé, Chair of OEWGA; Representative of the European Union, the United States, Japan, Brazil, Colombia, Turkey, Switzerland, Sweden, Nicaragua, Russian Federation, Chile, Peru, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Costa Rica
Location: Conference Room 1, United Nations Headquarters, New York
Date: 30 July 2014
Written By WIT Representative: Samantha Kong
Edited By: Marli Kasdan

UN Discusses Non Communicable Diseases


The issue of Non Communicable Diseases (NCD) is a major growing challenge to development. With this notion in mind, delegates from all over the world discussed how far the UN has come in the battle against NCDs and collaborated on effective solutions for stakeholders to help accelerate the process. The September 2011 Declaration for NCDs was frequently mentioned as member states highlighted that, although progress has been made, more action needs to occur. A shared sense of urgency and motivation was evident throughout the General Assembly as delegates reaffirmed the severity of the problem at hand.

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and World Health Organization Director General Dr. Margaret Chan emphasized the necessity of uniting stakeholders from every level and tailoring an agreement to account for all member states’ needs. The UN as a whole must incorporate the issue of NCDs as a major priority while encouraging commitment from state and non-state sectors and accounting for the poorer nations that have been hit hardest by the NCD epidemic. Private sectors can play a significant role by refraining from promotion of unhealthy foods and substances while marketing healthier products, because obesity has been worsening over the past three decades. Not only do governments need to implement stronger prevention policies, there must be sweeping changes in the mindset of public health. Analyzing our current generation, Dr. Chan noted that as incomes rise and standard of living improves, the rise of NCDs occurs because unhealthy lifestyles are being promoted during the process.  

Representatives of health departments from nations including Bolivia, Columbia, Jamaica, Mexico, Mongolia and Argentina discussed the progress their countries have seen after the implementation of the 2011 declaration. They have also expressed their continued commitment to the battle against NCDs. This morning session on NCDs set the stage for further debate and inquiry regarding a unified plan for prevention. 

Meeting Title: General Assembly Meeting on Non Communicable Diseases (Morning Session)
Location: General Assembly Overflow Room (NLB 4), United Nations HQ, New York
Date: 10 July 2014
Summary Written By WIT Representative: Suzy Hallak

Non Communicable Diseases Country Profiles

ncd-profiles130 Today, at the launch of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Non Communicable Disease Country Profiles (NCDs) 2014, Dr. Margaret Chan delivered an opening remark paying tribute to all countries for their determination to control NCDs, and adopted the 2011 UN Political Declaration. She released the NCD Country Profiles 2014, which provides an updated overview of the NCD situation in 194 countries. The report illustrated that while many countries have started to align their policies and resources with the WHO Global NCD Action Plan 2013-2020, progress in countries has been insufficient and highly uneven, with the risk factors of tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity and harmful use of alcohol doubling from 2011 to 2013. Dr. Chan called for bolder and more urgent action to accelerate efforts to address NCDs. Furthermore, she addressed obese children as “warning signals” as they signify a future of chronically ill adults, and unbearable financial burdens on healthcare services.

Following, Dr. Natsag spoke about the introduction of an early cancer detection programme in her country, Mongolia. She further highlighted that there is almost 100% full primary health care coverage for the people of Mongolia.

Next, Dr. Oyarzun talked about the recently enacted laws in Chile on prohibiting the use of tobacco in specific open spaces, against driving under the influence of alcohol, and laws on monitoring the fast food market to address obesity. He claimed the laws against drinking and driving were fairly successful. Yet, he saw room for improvement concerning tobacco consumption, and he urged for the transformation of social norms.

Dr. Sahlawi spoke about the free health services in Kuwait, where the life expectancy of the population has reached 75 years. He addressed NCDs as not merely a health problem, but rather a multi-sectoral issue. It requires the involvement from ministries of health, finance and education.

Dr. Freeman talked about the importance in striking a balance between communicable and non-communicable disease prevention. He mentioned the regulations on salty foods in South Africa, and the role of media in health-education campaigns. Furthermore, approximately 330,000 girls have benefited from the recently introduced HPV vaccine in South Africa.


Meeting Title:Launch of the “World Health Organization Non Communicable Disease Country Profiles 2014”
Speakers: Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO, Ms. Natsag Udval, Deputy Minister for Health of Mongolia; Dr. Jamie Burrows Oyarzun, Chile’s Under Secretary of Public Health; Dr. Khaled Al Sahlawi, The Under Secretary Health Minister of Kuwait; Professor Melvin Freeman, Ministry of Health in South Africa; Dr. Johan Carlson, Director-General of the Swedish Public Health Agency
Location: Trusteeship Council, United Nations HQ, New York
Date: 10 July 2014
Written by WIT Representative: Tracy Lau
Edited By WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan