Monday 25 September 2023 – The 2023 UN High-Level Meeting (HLM) on Tuberculosis (TB) was held last week in New York alongside the United Nations General Assembly. TB stakeholders across the world have spent more than 12 months working together with elected representatives, civil servants and diplomats, aiming to ensure a successful meeting with a powerful and thorough post-meeting Political Declaration.

The process has been challenging – whilst some positive developments have emerged over the course of the negotiation process, on the whole the Political Declaration is a shell of what it needs to be if we are to end global TB by 2030 in line with Sustainable Development Goal 3.3.2. 

Although the first draft of the Political Declaration was inadequate, over the course of the negotiation process, some positive language was added which we welcome. The Declaration now contains specific, measurable and time-bound targets to find, diagnose, and treat people with TB with the latest World Health Organization recommended tools, as well as time-bound and specific targets for funding the TB response and research and development (R&D). Additionally, this is the first political declaration on health that explicitly recognises the human right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress. On catastrophic costs, there is a commitment to strengthen financial and social protections for people affected by TB and alleviate the health and non-health related financial burden of TB experienced by affected people and their families. 

However, whilst these positive developments were added over the course of the negotiations process, there are still glaring omissions from the final Declaration which will hamper progress towards eradicating TB by 2030. There remains no specific commitment on gender-responsive care or strengthening domestic networks for TB survivors. There are also no commitments on accountability to monitor national-level progress on TB, including on R&D investments and community monitoring. Finally, there are no commitments on tackling stigma and discrimination, one of the major barriers to people being able to access healthcare and treatment.

The HLM feels like a missed opportunity to regain momentum towards TB eradication. Whilst international civil society organisations, stakeholders and people with lived experience of TB had energy abound to regain this momentum, they were let down by the prevaricating of governments across the world – who would stoke geopolitical tensions rather than deliver genuine solutions for people living with TB. More people will now die needlessly of TB because governments could not put aside their differences and deliver genuinely positive outcomes for those in need. 

On a more positive note, the UK delegation at the United Nations in New York has announced a global health package to boost health security, improve health and well-being around the world and help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The package includes: 

  1. £5 million funding for the TB Alliance to support the development and testing of new or improved TB treatments, including for multi-drug resistant TB
  2. £295 million for health research and partnerships to enable development of new vaccines, diagnostics and drugs, in addition to £103.5 million for the UK Vaccine Network to develop critical research into infectious diseases 
  3. £95 million for the Tackling Deadly Diseases in Africa programme, with a focus on drug resistant infections, future epidemics and climate change.

Results UK welcomes this announcement, highlighting that the UK Government is committed to putting research, science and technology at the forefront of the response to address global development challenges. The strength of the Political Declaration has not lived up to the expectations of the global TB community; however this announcement will go some way to developing the diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines needed to end TB.


For media enquiries, please contact Naveed Chaudhri, [email protected]

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