Diabetes is one of the major health and development challenges of the 21st century. No country, rich or poor, is immune to the epidemic. It is a chronic, incurable, costly, and increasing but largely preventable non-communicable disease (NCD) which is responsible for millions of deaths annually, debilitating complications, and incalculable human misery.

As the legitimate global voice for people with diabetes, the International Diabetes Federation is working to make changes for the millions of people living with diabetes.

IDF is committed to building global political priority for diabetes. Without political priority, and global and national level action, diabetes will not receive attention and resources and people with diabetes will continue to suffer and die preventable deaths.

As an accredited organization to the United Nations (UN), and in official relations with World Health Organization (WHO), IDF works with the UN system to prioritise diabetes and related NCDs. It aims to create political opportunities at the highest level, and to raise the issue of diabetes and NCDs on the global political and development agendas.

Through its close relations with governments and its extensive network of Member Associations and regions, IDF connects the global political arena to action on the ground.

In the last six years, there has been major progress in moving diabetes onto the global health and development agenda, with UN Resolution 61/225 on Diabetes in 2006 and the UN High-Level Summit on NCDs in 2011. In order to build on these achievements and take full advantage of future political opportunities, IDF has developed a new advocacy strategy with goals for the next three years. By 2015, the aim is to have:

  • Follow-up to the Political Declaration on NCDs benefit people with diabetes.
  • Diabetes and NCDs integrated into the post-2015 development framework.
  • Global resources mobilised for diabetes and NCDs.

IDF advocates for improved diabetes prevention, treatment and care by using an approach that combines diabetes advocacy with a focus on non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

In 2009 IDF formed the NCD Alliance with its three sister federations – Union for International Cancer Control, World Heart Federation and the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease. The four organisations came together under a shared agenda to form a powerful voice collectively representing over 1,000 member associations and a further 1,000 supporting partners and NGOs. Together they have an extensive network of member associations on the ground and unrivalled political legitimacy. In forming the NCD Alliance a political niche for collaboration and joint advocacy on NCDs was filled.

UN Political Declaration on NCDs

The Political Declaration on NCD Prevention and Control was adopted unanimously by the 193 Member States of the United Nations on September 19, 2011 at the UN High-Level Summit on NCDs in New York. The Declaration is the strongest statement of intent to date by governments on accelerating progress on diabetes and NCDs. It defines a united global response by the world’s governments to NCDs, signifying recognition of the problem by governments and the need to act.

The 10 main messages of the declaration are:

  1. Governments have taken ownership of the diabetes and NCD epidemic.
  2. Governments are committed to increasing accessibility, availability and affordability of safe, effective and quality-assured medicines and technologies.
  3. Prevention must be the cornerstone of the response to diabetes and NCDs.
  4. Strengthening health systems is of critical importance.
  5. Governments commit to strengthening national capacity for quality research, development and innovation in all aspects of diabetes.
  6. Existing resources devoted to NCDs do not match the magnitude of the problem.
  7. WHO, in consultation with Member States, is mandated to develop a comprehensive global monitoring framework for NCDs and a set of indicators and voluntary global targets.
  8. Diabetes and NCDs are firmly positioned as a development, and not just a health issue.
  9. Partnerships, reports and reviews are required to drive and monitor follow-up action.
  10. Governments must engage NGOs meaningfully in the implementation process, share ownership of the Political Declaration, and monitor progress.

Read more about the Political Declaration in IDF’s ‘Advocacy Guide to the Political Declaration from the 2011 UN High-Level Summit on NCDs.'

One of IDF’s main demands has been access to essential NCD medicines and technologies – an urgent issue for people with diabetes worldwide. In 2012 huge progress was made with the adoption of the first ever target to reduce diabetes and NCDs – “to reduce preventable death from NCDs by 25% by 2025” - and the approval by all UN Member States of 8 global targets and 25 indicators. Among these, two targets will specifically help drive change for the millions of people currently without access to life saving diabetes medicines and technologies:

  • 80% availability of affordable basic technologies and essential medicines, including generics, required to treat major NCDs in both public and private facilities.
  • 50% of eligible people receive drug therapy and counseling (including glycaemic control) to prevent heart attacks and strokes.