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December 11, 2017

Global NCD Alliance Forum 2017 – Closing Ceremony

Speech given at the Al Jawaher Reception & Convention Centre, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates.

Your Highness, Sheika Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of the Ruler of Sharjah, Founder and Patron of Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP), International Ambassador for the World Cancer Declaration of the Union for International Cancer Control and International Ambassador for Childhood Cancer for the Union for International Cancer Control, and Patron of the Global NCD Alliance Forum.

We are approaching the end of the second Global NCD Alliance Forum, held here in Sharjah. First, on behalf of the NCD Alliance, I must again thank you, and His Royal Highness Shaikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Ruler of Sharjah, for having made possible all we have accomplished in these past three days.

I would also like to thank Friends of Cancer Patients, our local partners and host organization, for their tireless support in ensuring a successful Forum.

And finally, I want to thank you for attending the second Global NCD Alliance Forum. Without your participation and engagement, we would not have had such robust discussions.

On Saturday, we convened in this hall and heard about the various themes and topics we would discuss over the course of this Forum. Now, at the conclusion of what seems like three very short days, we have heard Sir George describe the enormous breadth of topics discussed, and I imagine I am not alone in wishing I could have attended every workshop session.

Here in Sharjah, we took critical steps as a civil society movement to identify our advocacy priorities that put people at the centre of our work.

We strategized about how to further national and regional action on NCDs within the context of the Sustainable Development Goals and the third High-Level Meeting on NCDs in 2018.

We discussed the importance of working in alliances and coalitions to further the NCD responses, meeting old colleagues and forging new partnerships…for together, we are stronger.

We were inspired and encouraged by the spirit and passion of young advocates and people living with NCDs, who are core drivers of the NCD movement and demand a better world for themselves, and for future generations. A better world in which people of all ages can live in health-promoting environments, free from stigma and discrimination.

As we have heard, a unified and energised NCD civil society network is necessary for a successful third United Nations High-Level Meeting on NCDs in 2018. This is our opportunity to call on governments to renew existing commitments to address the burden of NCDs, and to ensure political commitments and attention at the highest level.

Over the past three days, important resources have been shared with us, including ideas for advocacy campaign priorities for the 2018 High-Level Meeting on NCDs, the Advocacy Agenda of People Living with NCDs, and the Civil Society Atlas, which highlights the tremendous impact of alliances. All of these demonstrate the critical role civil society organisations are playing around the world in the NCD response.

It is my sincere hope that you will all be actively engaged and involved in advocacy for the 2018 High-Level Meeting, as civil society must be a part of the process in order to drive an ambitious outcome that brings us closer to achieving our global NCD and health goals.

As we depart for our respective homes, I encourage you all to take what you have learned, shared, and discussed here in Sharjah with you, and to use it as you continue to advocate for better NCD policies and interventions in your countries.

I thank everyone for participating in and working together throughout the second Global NCD Alliance Forum, and I thank you again for your patronage, Your Highness.

Thank you.

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