Imagine how global education could benefit from $47 trillion which will be lost due to heart disease and other non-communicable diseases over the next 20 years, the head of the World Economic Forum posited.

Prof. Klaus Schwab, the Chair of the World Economic Forum pondered the lost economic potential which non-communicable diseases will make on possible future educational endeavors as a new report from the WEF indicated that lost output would be 4 percent of global GDP by 2030.

“Think of what could be achieved if these resources were productively invested in an area like education,” he said.

“The need for immediate action is critical to the future of the global economy.”

The comments by Klaus come as the United Nations meets in New York on Monday and Tuesday to address the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases worldwide.

Leading NCDs include cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, cancer, diabetes, and metal ill-health.

Mental ill-health will cost about $16 trillion, or one third of the losses during the period, according to the WEF.

“To a substantial degree, NCDs are caused by tobacco use, harmful use of alcohol, physical inactivity and poor diet,” the WEF noted.

NCDs account for 60 percent of deaths worldwide annually, a total of 36 million. Eighty percent of NCD deaths happened in low and middle income countries.

“Cumulative NCD losses will rise steadily over the next 20 years, but the rate of increase will pick up sharply by 2030. The value of life lost, including lost income, out-of-pocket spending related to medical care and pain and suffering due to NCDs will double between 2010 and 2030,” the report states.