Groups dissatisfied with UN efforts to address chronic diseases epidemic

Members of the United Nations will soon discuss ways the world can address the rising tide of non-communicable diseases like type 2 diabetes, a signal of the major toll the conditions are taking on societies around the world. However, some have criticized negotiators for not doing enough to stall the spread of type 2 diabetes.

Meetings devoted entirely to discussion of diseases are relatively rare among representatives of UN member nations. The last time such a council was gathered was during the height of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The present talks initially garnered praise from disease advocates.

However, since the initial announcement of the meeting, information has started to leak out about possible outcomes of the gathering. The picture that is beginning to emerge is not attractive to groups that would like to see immediate action toward ending the diabetes epidemic.

More than 2,000 organizations from around the world, including the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association, recently sent a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon voicing their concern.

"The situation is urgent. Yet, it is reported that sound proposals for the draft Declaration to include time-bound commitments and targets are being systematically deleted, diluted and downgraded," the letter stated.

One of the main outcomes the alliance of organizations would like to see emerge from the meeting is a global target of reducing deaths from non-communicable diseases by 25 percent by 2025. However, reports have indicated that the U.S., Canada and members of the European Union have been working to remove this goal from any agreement reached during the meeting.

Given the large number of people who currently suffer from type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases, the group says action must be taken immediately. Watered down versions of proposals previously floated to address the problem will do little, the group said.

The meeting will take place from September 19 to 20. Representatives in the UN will have until this time to craft a proposal that will begin to address rising rates of type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases in a meaningful way.