Diabetes on the global agenda

IDF: an instrumental actor in shaping the international agenda (1991-2019)

Until quite recently, non-communicable diseases did not attract any political attention. Diabetes was no exception, and discrimination against people living with it was common due to the lack of both political and general awareness.


This changed in 1991, with the establishment of World Diabetes Day – hosted every year on November 14 – by IDF and the World Health Organization. Further advances were achieved in 2006, when the UN passed the 61/225 Resolution on Diabetes – the first ever UN Resolution on a non-communicable disease. 

However, it was not until 2011 with the first UN High Level Meeting on NCDs that diabetes started gaining recognition on the global stage. At this Summit, all UN Member States unanimously passed the UN Resolution on NCDs, committing to keep diabetes and other NCDs at the top of the international agenda. At the end of this same year, IDF launched the Dubai Blueprint on the occasion of the World Diabetes Congress in the city. This document, which contains a Declaration based around the contributions that the private sector can make to reduce the burden of the diabetes epidemic, was conceived as a practical tool for future action on diabetes in all sectors and for multisectoral partnerships.

2013 was a turning point for diabetes and NCDs, with WHO adopting the overarching9 voluntary NCD targets goal of a 25% reduction in premature mortality from NCDs by 2025 and the nine voluntary targets on NCDs – including a 0% increase in diabetes and obesity prevalence and 80% access to essential medicines and devices by 2025. At the end of that year, IDF created the Parliamentarians for Diabetes Global Network (PDGN), an initiative aimed at increasing political attention to diabetes and the exchange of best practices between policymakers from different countries. Two PDGN Summits were organised in 2013 and 2015 to achieve these objectives.

In 2014, the UN assessed for the first time the progress that Member States had made in fighting NCDs, during the second UN High Level Meeting on NCDs. The Outcome Document from this meeting included the following four time-bound commitments: considering setting national NCD targets for 2025 by 2015; considering developing national multisectoral policies and plans to achieve the 2025 national targets by 2015; reducing risk factors for NCDs by 2016; considering strengthening health systems to address NCDs through people-centred primary health care and Universal Health Coverage (UHC) by 2016.


2015 was an important year for public health commitments, with the adoption of the Post-2015 Development Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – which include the target 3.4 of a 30% reduction in premature mortality from NCDs by 2030.

2018 was a key year for IDF advocacy, with the UN High Level Meeting (HLM) on NCDs – which assessed, for the second time, countries’ progress on achieving their international NCD commitments. IDF launched a HLM call to action campaign in November 2017, asking governments to honour their commitments.

hlm un

2019 will be of significant importance for IDF advocacy as the UN High Level Meeting on Universal Healthcare Coverage will take place in New York, September 2019. IDF launched a call to action in April 2019 which details what Universal Healthcare Coverage is, why it is so important and how it affects people living with diabetes. It also contains information on how to support the call to action, for instance by participating in the selfie campaign.

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