Over a decade, the Global Network elevated NTDs on the agenda of major global and multilateral policy platforms, driving political declarations, resource commitments and the creation of new partnerships. Landmark global policy developments in the fight against NTDs included:
- Sustainable Development Goals: The Global Network helped lead the effort to ensure the inclusion of NTDs in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2015 and in the indicator framework developed to measure progress. Our NTD Special Envoys submitted a joint letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in August 2013, prompting his response that “poverty reduction and the control of NTDs go hand-in-hand.” Our policy paper on NTDs and the post-2015 development agenda, letters to select foreign affairs ministers urging input during Member State negotiations, NTD community letter to members of the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDGs and testimony to the UN Economic and Social Council’s High-Level Political Forum also helped build support for the elevation of NTDs in the global agenda to end poverty.
- G7: The Global Network drafted and recruited signatories to an Open Letter to G7 Heads of State in 2015, calling for urgent and concrete action to fight NTDs. The ensuing Leaders’ Declaration from the G7 Summit included the clear commitment to “invest in the prevention and control of NTDs in order to achieve 2020 elimination goals” through research and development, disease mapping and community-based health systems strengthening.
- BRICS: The Global Network published a call-to-action for the BRICS countries ― a group of emerging economies including Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa distinguished by their growing influence in regional and global affairs – to accelerate their response to NTDs in the in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, and the following year, NTDs were elevated to the BRICS’ head of state level for the first time in the in the Ufa Declaration.
- The London Declaration on NTDs and Uniting to Combat NTDs: The Global Network’s advocacy efforts across many sectors and regions helped build the drumbeat that led to a major meeting in London in January 2012 which convened the World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General, CEOs of major pharmaceutical companies, Bill Gates, senior government officials from endemic and donor countries and representatives of academic institutions and civil society. In the London Declaration on NTDs, twelve of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies collectively committed to extend and in some cases increase their drug donation commitments to meet the goals spelled out in the World Health Organization’s NTD “Roadmap for Implementation” launched just prior laying out a strategy to control, eliminate or eradicate NTDs by 2020. The collective value of these drug donations have been estimated at $2-3 billion yearly. The event launched Uniting to Combat NTDs, a coalition of partners committed to fulfill the London Declaration in support of the WHO Roadmap.
The Global Network worked in close collaboration with WHO to accelerate progress against NTDs. We partnered with four WHO regional offices to scale up and sustain NTD programs through the development of national plans for NTD control in Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and the Americas. These plans provide a critical framework for coordinating various disease-specific efforts at the country level and with implementing organizations. Furthermore, they serve as a forecasting tool to access drug donations and as the basis for proposals to present to potential donors. The Global Network worked with WHO and the government of Kenya to launch the first national NTD plan in Africa in 2011. By the end of 2012, nearly 60 countries had developed national plans, and to date more than 80 countries have achieved this benchmark. The Global Network also supported the establishment and convening of three NTD working groups under the guidance of the WHO Scientific and Technical Advisory Group and the development and operation of regional coordination platforms for NTDs.