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Bulletin of the World Health Organization
Online First -Published online: 3 February 2012

Noncommunicable diseases pose an increasingly high burden of disease that threatens economic and social development, yet cost-effective health interventions exist. World leaders recognized the compelling case for action with the declaration at the United Nations high-level meeting on noncommunicable diseases in September 2011.1,2 Since that meeting, the World Health Organization (WHO) has been developing a Global Monitoring Framework and the United Nations Secretary-General is preparing to report to the 67th session of the General Assembly in September 2012 on ways to tackle noncommunicable diseases across different sectors.

This paper aims to inform these debates by reviewing the declarations that resulted from WHO regional meetings held in preparation for last September’s high-level meeting (Table 1). We identified four “ethical tensions” that must be resolved. These tensions are not exhaustive or mutually exclusive but provide a framework for debate.

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