Hundreds of millions of people of all ages suffer from chronic respiratory diseases which include asthma and respiratory allergies, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, occupational lung diseases and pulmonary hypertension. More than 500 million patients live in developing countries or in deprived populations. Chronic respiratory diseases are increasing in prevalence. Although the cost of in action is clear and unacceptable, chronic respiratory diseases and their risk factors receive in sufficient attention from the health care community, government officials, media, patients and families. The Fifty-Third World Health Assembly recognized the enormous human suffering caused by chronic diseases and requested the World Health Organization (WHO) Director General to give priority to the prevention and control of chronic diseases, with special emphasis on developing countries. This led to the formation of the WHO Global Alliance against Chronic Respiratory Diseases (GARD). GARD is a voluntary alliance of organizations, institutions and agencies working towards a common vision to improve global lung health according to local needs. GARD is developed in a stepwise approach using the following three planning steps: estimate population need and advocate action; formulate and adopt policy; and identify policy implementation steps.