At the UN Millennium Summit in 2000, world leaders made an historic promise to free people from extreme poverty and deprivation. This pledge turned into the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which include halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education by the target date of 2015. This universal contract for eradicating poverty created awareness among the public and political leaders alike, and generated record flows of aid for health and development. But with the 2015 deadline approaching, what real progress has been made? Do inequalities and neglected issues remain unaddressed? If so, which? Moreover, what should replace the MDGs after 2015? As the World Health Organization and UNICEF convene a global consultation to define future global health priorities, the authors of this article outline why diabetes and the other non-communicable diseases (NCDs) must be at the heart of the post-2015 agenda.