The High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF) is the main United Nations platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The theme of this year’s Forum, held 6-15 July 2021, was "Sustainable and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic that promotes the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development: building an inclusive and effective path for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda in the context of the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development". It focused on several SDGs including SDG Goal 3 on good health and well-being, and considered the interdependence of all of the SDG goals within the larger framework.
The Forum is held annually under the under the auspices of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the central coordinator of UN activities and overseer of the implementation of the UN SDGs for 2030. The overarching aim of SDG 3 on good health and well-being is the achievement of ‘universal health coverage’ by 2030. Of particular importance to ESMO are SDG 3 targets 3.4 and 3.8.
3.4: By 2030 reduce by one-third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) through prevention and treatment, and promote mental health and wellbeing.
3.8: Achieve universal health coverage, including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health-care services and access to safe, effective, quality and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all.
The ESMO Statement
As granted by ESMO’s ‘special consultative status’ with ECOSOC, ESMO submitted an official statement during the Forum. The ESMO statement expressed concern that the 2020 WHO Report on Cancer stated that only 12 countries are on track to achieve target 3.4 for cancer by 2030. To assist governments, ESMO noted its various resources that can support the reduction of premature cancer deaths such as:
- Over 80 evidence-based ESMO Clinical Practice Guidelines that set the standard of cancer care.
- An ESMO COVID-19 and Cancer Portal that includes recommendations for cancer treatment during the pandemic, patient and palliative care guides, and a call to action to prioritise COVID-19 vaccination for cancer patients.
- ESMO Recommendations on preventing and managing shortages of inexpensive essential cancer medicines used in the treatment of many cancers.
- The ESMO-Magnitude of Clinical Benefit Scale for the prioritisation of expensive innovative cancer medicines to frame appropriate use of limited public and personal resources.
The High-Level Political Forum Ministerial Declaration
The Forum discussions formed the basis for the outcome Ministerial Declaration, which was adopted and reaffirms countries’ commitments to implementing the 2030 UN Agenda on Sustainable Development. Regarding NCDs the Declaration calls for increased action to achieve universal health coverage and reduce premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment, and assist low- and middle-income countries with NCDs, because only a few countries are on track to meet the target on reducing premature deaths from non-communicable diseases by one third by 2030.