A United Nations Resolution on Diabetes The Result of a Joint Effort
AbstractEvery 10 seconds a person dies of diabetes. In the same 10 seconds two more people develop diabetes. There are now over 246 million people living with diabetes. Within a generation, this number is predicted to reach 380 million if action is not taken to curb the pandemic. The International Diabetes Federation (IDF) issued a call to action and made the world aware that to do nothing is not an option. On 20 December 2006, the General Assembly of the UN unanimously adopted a Resolution on diabetes. This was a monumental occasion for the global diabetes community. For the first time, the UN acknowledged that diabetes is a global pandemic that is as serious a threat to global health as the infectious disease epidemics such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB), and malaria.
Resolution 61/225: ‘World Diabetes Day’ recognizes diabetes as a chronic, debilitating, and costly disease associated with major complications that pose severe risks for families, countries, and the entire world. It designates 14 November, the current World Diabetes Day, as a United Nations Day to be observed every year beginning in 2007.
The Campaign for a UN Resolution
In June 2006, IDF launched an audacious campaign to raise global awareness of diabetes and to secure a UN Resolution on diabetes.
The Unite for Diabetes campaign was an unprecedented success and proved a catalyst for uniting the global diabetes community. It brought together the largest ever coalition of diabetes stakeholders. Diabetes organizations from around the globe, including all IDF Member Associations, the majority of the world’s global scientific and professional diabetes societies, and industry partners, as well as many charitable foundations and service organizations with an interest in diabetes, all joined together to call for a UN Resolution.
IDF’s bold goal to secure the Resolution by World Diabetes Day 2007 was easily surpassed when the Resolution was secured six months after the launch of the Unite for Diabetes campaign. This success was the consequence of the work of diabetes advocates everywhere, who engaged collectively in a global movement that combined top-down political advocacy with grass-roots awareness.
Key Support from Developing Nations
The political success of the Resolution is a testament to the support and advocacy of a number of countries, many of which are the developing nations that will bear the brunt of the rising diabetes epidemic.
The People’s Republic of Bangladesh was a key advocate and emerged as the ideal partner to initiate and facilitate the passage of the Resolution through the diplomatic process. It was joined by other powerful voices in the developing world.
The efforts of the numerous countries and the global diabetes community paid off with the passage of this landmark Resolution on diabetes. For the first time, governments acknowledged that a non-communicable disease is as serious a global health threat as the infectious epidemics.
On 20 December 2006, during the 61st session of the United Nations General Assembly, the First Secretary of the Permanent Mission of South Africa to the UN, Ms Laoura Lazouras, introduced the draft Resolution on World Diabetes Day on behalf of the Group of 77 (a coalition of developing countries) and China. The following countries were listed as co-sponsors: Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Monaco, Austria, Georgia, Malta, Portugal, and Ukraine.
- Diabetes Atlas, (3rd edn), International Diabetes Federation, 2006;247.