Oral Health and the UN Political Declaration on NCDs

The United Nations Political Declaration of the High-level Meeting of the General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases

In September 2011, the United Nations (UN) convened the first ever High-level meeting on the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). The result of the high-level meeting was a UN Political Declaration that defined a united global response to NCDs, including a series of commitments to action. A UN Political Declaration is one of the most powerful tools within the UN to promote international cooperation and action.

FDI, uniting with our members and many other partners in oral health, made a significant contribution to the UN Political Declaration. In Article 19, Member States recognized:

“that renal, oral and eye diseases pose a major health burden for many countries and…these diseases share common risk factors and can benefit from common responses to noncommunicable diseases.”

This key milestone was essential to ensure that oral health be included within the context of the NCD agenda and represents a real opportunity for oral health to be integrated into general health and treated as a priority issue.


In September 2011, the United Nations Summit on the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs) was held in New York.

It yielded a Political Declaration which, for the first time, specifically referenced oral diseases within the context of NCDs.

In Article 19, UN Member States recognize:
“that renal, oral and eye diseases pose a major health burden for many countries and that these diseases share common risk factors and can benefit from common responses to non-communicable diseases.”

Government commitments

In the aftermath, the challenge was how to make national governments accountable for the commitments they had made in the Political Declaration. For FDI the challenge is to ensure follow-up on the commitments relating to oral health.

A guide for national dental associations

FDI decided that the best way to motivate governments to uphold their commitments in the Political Declaration was to produce the FDI Guide to Advocacy. The purpose of the guide is to provide a brief, thematic analysis of the document, which FDI member national dental associations (NDAs) might then draw upon the Guide in their discussions with ministers, chief dental officers and senior health officials.

The objective is to be of service to governments in following up their commitments. In doing so, NDAs are respecting one of the key themes of the Political Declaration, which calls for civil society (i.e. NGOs) to be involved in the process.