On 26 September 2018, the United Nations (UN) will hold its first high-level meeting on tuberculosis (TB), at its headquarters in New York. The title of the meeting – United to End TB: An Urgent Global Response to a Global Epidemic – highlights the need for immediate action to accelerate progress towards the goal of ending the TB epidemic by 2030.
All Member States of WHO and the UN have committed to this goal, initially through their unanimous endorsement of WHO’s End TB Strategy at the World Health Assembly in May 2014 and then their adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in September 2015. Specific targets for 2030 set in the End TB Strategy are a 90% reduction in the absolute number of TB deaths and an 80% reduction in TB incidence (new cases per 100 000 population per year), compared with levels in 2015.1
The UN high-level meeting follows the first WHO global ministerial conference on ending TB in the SDG era, which was held in November 2017 in the Russian Federation.
The conference brought together over 1000 participants, including ministers of health and other leaders from 120 countries, and over 800 partners, including civil society. That conference resulted in the Moscow Declaration to End TB. At the World Health Assembly in May 2018, all WHO Member States committed to accelerate their actions to end TB, building on the Moscow Declaration.
In the months leading up to the UN high-level meeting, major country blocs have issued communiqués on the need for action on TB, including drug-resistant TB in the wider context of antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
Examples include the G20, the G7, the BRICS group (Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China and South Africa) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). New commitments were made by ministers from countries in the WHO South-East Asia Region at the Delhi End TB Summit in March 2018 and by African leaders at a meeting of the African Union in July 2018.