Cancer control at the 69th World Health Assembly

UICC is pleased to share some updates on its Advocacy actions and the progress made during the last 69th World Health Assembly on the global health agenda with breakthrough achievements reached

Attended by Ministries of Health from all over the world, as well as representatives from UN agencies and civil society organisations, the World Health Assembly (WHA) is a milestone event in the global health world. Cancer and other non-communicable diseases (NCDs) were particularly prominent at this year’s WHA that took place from 23-28 May 2016 in Geneva, Switzerland.  As an NGO in official working relations with the WHO, UICC was able to observe discussions, and draw attention to cancer-specific issues through a side event, and a series of interventions delivered during Member State discussions. 

Making the right investments for cancer control

In collaboration with the Ministries of Health of Malaysia, Honduras, India, Jordan, Korea, Kuwait, Peru and Zambia, and a number of NGO partners, UICC organised a side event showcasing solutions to prevent and manage cancer that are accessible in all resource settings and can deliver a significant return on investment. Moderated by representatives of the International Agency for Research on Cancer and WHO, panelists highlighted success factors in scaling up key cancer services including: engagement of multiple stakeholders to overcome silos; international support; and public-private partnerships. You can read a full summary of the event here.

Access to Cancer Treatment and Care  

UICC was able to contribute to Member State discussions on access to essential medicines for children, and delivered a statement drawing attention to the WHO Model List of Essential Medicines as a critical first step in ensuring the availability, affordability, quality assurance and rational use of children’s medicines, particularly for cancer. UICC also delivered a statement during Member State discussions on progress in implementing the 2014 Resolution on palliative care. UICC drew particular attention to progress made by the UNODC/WHO/UICC joint global programme for improving access to controlled medicines for pain and palliative care in Ghana, and emphasised the need for member states and WHO to continue prioritising the development of palliative care.

Follow-up to global non-communicable disease (NCD) commitments

A resolution was adopted reaffirming the process to update Appendix 3 of the Global Action Plan for NCDs  - a list of policy options and cost-effective NCD interventions including for cancer.  WHO will hold a technical expert meeting on 27 and 28 June 2016 to review the revised Appendix. The update will then be posted for web consultation from 22 July to 1 September.   WHO will also be inviting non-state actors to provide input at an informal hearing on 25 August 2016.  For more information:

In the same resolution, countries are urged to implement national, time-bound commitments in preparation for the 2018 UN High-Level Meeting on NCDs.  During discussions, countries highlighted in particular the need to tackle NCD risk factors, and called for prioritisation of strengthening countries’ capacity for NCD monitoring and surveillance. You can read more about the 2018 High-Level Meeting here.

Call for input: Cancer in Small States

Small states (with a population of less than 1.6m) make up 40% of the world’s countries and face a unique set of healthcare challenges, and yet there remains a dearth of literature relating to their cancer control challenges and solutions. To address this, Cancer Epidemiology will be issuing a special edition in mid-2017 and are calling for solution-based contributions.  The formats accepted are flexible; please contact Dr Ashley Clift at with any enquiries.

Cancer and NCD community welcome major private sector announcement to divest from tobacco industry

At a special event convened by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) on the eve of the 69th World Health Assembly, AXA Group officially shared their decision to divest their tobacco industry assets, currently valued at 1.8 billion Euros.

Last update: 
Monday 4 July 2016