The Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC) has led the development of this discussion paper in collaboration with a group of like-minded civil society representatives from other Small Island Developing States (SIDS) regions, and with the support of the NCD Alliance (NCDA), a global network of CSOs also dedicated to NCD prevention and control worldwide.
This discussion paper was developed as a contribution to the High-Level Technical Meeting and Ministerial Conference on NCDs and Mental Health in SIDS, which will be convened by the World Health Organization (WHO) in Barbados, in January and June 2023 respectively.
This discussion paper outlines the unique characteristics of SIDS and the challenges they face, particularly related to their size, geography, and small populations; constraints for achieving economies of scale due to their small domestic markets, limited resources, and undiversified economies; and threats from the climate crisis and food and nutrition insecurity. These challenges, among others, have been aggravated by the 2019 coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, which has put at further risk SIDS’ efforts to mount efficient and effective responses to their disproportionate burden of NCDs, using approaches that are equity- and rights-based, multisector, and multistakeholder.
Civil society is a critical stakeholder, along with government and the private sector free from conflicts of interest, in the response to the major NCDs—heart disease and stroke, diabetes, cancer, chronic respiratory diseases, and mental, neurological, and substance abuse disorders (MNSDs). CSOs advocate for and contribute to interventions that address NCDs and their risk factors—particularly poor diets, tobacco use, alcohol use, physical inactivity, and air pollution—as well as the determinants of health—social, economic, environmental, commercial, political, legal, and other non-medical factors that strongly influence health outcomes. In producing this discussion paper, HCC, NCDA, and SIDS civil society representatives analysed the NCD situation in SIDS across various regions, built on global and regional frameworks for the reduction of NCDs and their underlying causes, and identified priorities, recommendations, and key asks for inclusion in the report of the January 2023 High-Level Technical Meeting and the outcome document of the June 2023 Ministerial Conference on NCDs and Mental Health in SIDS.
Following the January 2023 High-Level Technical Meeting on NCDs and Mental Health in SIDS until February 28, 2023, the HCC and the NCD Alliance invited comments from civil society representatives across SIDS. The feedback received is currently being incorporated into a final Policy Paper by SIDS Civil Society. The Paper will be shared with SIDS Member States as civil society recommendations to inform the June 2023 Ministerial Conference on NCDs and Mental Health in SIDS Outcome Document. The final Policy Paper will be shared by the HCC and the NCDA once completed.