Noncommunicable diseases (NCDs)—mainly cardiovascular diseases, cancers, chronic respiratory diseases and diabetes—are the world’s biggest killers. More than 36 million people die annually from NCDs (63% of global deaths), including more than 14 million people who die too young between the ages of 30 and 70. Low- and middle-income countries already bear 86% of the burden of these premature deaths, resulting in cumulative economic losses of US$7 trillion over the next 15 years and millions of people trapped in poverty. Most of these premature deaths from NCDs are largely preventable by enabling health systems to respond more effectively and equitably to the health-care needs of people with NCDs, and influencing public policies in sectors outside health that tackle shared risk factors—namely tobacco use, unhealthy diet, physical inactivity, and the harmful use of alcohol. NCDs are now well-studied and understood, and this gives all Member States an immediate advantage to take action. The Moscow Declaration on NCDs, endorsed by Ministers of Health in May 2011, and the UN Political Declaration on NCDs, endorsed by Heads of State and Government in September 2011, recognized the vast body of knowledge and experience regarding the preventability of NCDs and immense opportunities for global action to control them. Therefore, Heads of State and Government committed themselves in the UN Political Declaration on NCDs to establish and strengthen, by 2013, multisectoral national policies and plans for the prevention and control of NCDs, and consider the development of national targets and indicators based on national situations. To realize these commitments, the World Health Assembly endorsed the WHO Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs 2013-2020 in May 2013. The Global Action Plan provides Member States, international partners and WHO with a road map and menu of policy options which, when implemented collectively between 2013 and 2020, will contribute to progress on 9 global NCD targets to be attained in 2025, including a 25% relative reduction in premature mortality from NCDs by 2025.