On 26th of September last year, during the first ever UN High Level Meeting on TB (HLM), over 15 Heads of State and nearly 80 Ministers of Health and Ministers of Foreign Affairs adopted a Political Declaration on TB. The Declaration set out the key priorities and commitments in the global fight against TB, including sustainable finance, ending stigma, ensuring access to diagnosis and treatment, including access to the existing and new tools. The Declaration includes time-bound and measurable targets for countries to achieve and sets provisions for holding countries to account for this. Such accountability mechanisms will be identified through the WHO multisectoral accountability framework, which identifies the needs for action, monitoring and reporting, and review at national, regional and global levels in order to deliver on the commitments of the HLM Political Declaration. The strong language in the HLM Political Declaration would not have been achieved without strong and coordinated efforts by civil society around the world. It is essential that civil society are actively engaged, and are invited to participate, in all aspects of accountability from the local to global levels to ensure that the commitments are delivered on.

However, as said by one of TBEC members from Romania – “governments are good at making promises, but not good at keeping them”. So, what happens now? What can we do together as TBEC network, and what can you do – as an individual or civil society organisation in your own country? Is this political declaration just another piece of paper, and it would be better to focus your efforts elsewhere, or is there a real chance for a change in country commitments at national level?

This year, it is crucial that the political declaration is used as a benchmark for progress in the fight against TB at national, regional and global levels. In order to do so, adoption of robust accountability mechanisms and inclusion of civil society at all levels remains the key. To facilitate accountability, accurate and timely data on progress against HLM targets must be collected, and this must be reviewed at the highest political levels, including through independent review at the global level. High-level global review should be independent to more effectively hold stakeholders to account, for example through a multisectoral panel chaired by an independent non-executive person, supported by a secretariat and hosted by an existing organisation. Such review will complement regular reviews of progress by the World Health Assembly and regular review at the UN General Assembly. An independent voice, engaging Heads of State and Government, would have the ability to speak with authority about the progress made by all countries towards the UN High-Level Meeting commitments. New and existing monitoring and reporting mechanisms, such as that done by WHO, would feed into such a process. Aside from guiding effective and evidence-based policy making, effective accountability creates a political reward for progress against the targets and identifies where there are gaps or challenges.

TBEC will be actively involved in discussions on accountability at regional and national levels through advocacy in relevant fora, and via active engagement with TBEC members via regular updates, toolkits and workshops throughout the year.

TBEC brochure “What happens next – accountability post UN High Level Meeting on TB” provides you with an overview of the key commitments made in the Political Declaration of the UN High Level meeting on TB, outlines the multisectoral accountability framework and highlights the next steps at global, regional and national levels, ranging from TBEC commitments to examples from Ukrainian and the UK civil society at the national level. TBEC Secretariat aimed to provide not only “theoretical” overview, but also practical steps in how to use commitments made in the Political Declaration to drive action at the national level. As stated by another TBEC member from Ukraine – “we have reached the point of no return. It is very important that all of us – government and civil society – fulfil our commitment to fight against TB following the UN High level meeting and do it together”.

The brochure is currently only available in English (as PDF file on TBEC website, section – publications). If you have any questions, please send us an email at coordinator@tbcoalition.eu


This blog is the product of an activity that has received funding under an operating grant from the European Union’s Health Programme (2014-2020).  

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