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BigLogo.gif UN Member States on the Record
Secretariat building to be lit in blue for World Diabetes Day
14 November 2008 / 02:49

[New York | Author:  iSeek]

World Diabetes Day poster (PDF) The Secretariat building in New York will join 800 monuments around the world being lit in blue to mark World Diabetes Day 2008, part of the "Bring Diabetes to Light" campaign organized by the International Diabetes Federation.

The lighting will take place at 6:30 p.m. and last through midnight.
Other participants in the World Diabetes Day Monument Challenge include the Pyramids, the Sphinx, the London Eye, Christ the Redeemer in Brazil, Niagara Falls, the Tower of London, the Kuwait Towers, the Sears Tower, the Alamo, and the Burj al Arab.

The colour blue was chosen to match the global symbol for diabetes, a blue circle, which was inspired by the blue of the United Nations flag. 

According to organizers, the significance of the blue circle symbol is overwhelmingly positive. Across cultures, the circle symbolizes life and health and the colour blue reflects the sky that unites all nations. The blue circle also signifies the unity of the global diabetes community in response to the diabetes pandemic.

About the day

The day was first introduced in 1991 by the International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization (WHO) in response to the alarming rise in diabetes around the world.

In 2006, the General Assembly made the day an official UN international day (A/RES/61/225).

The date, November 14, was chosen to mark the birthday of Frederick Banting who, along with Charles Best, first conceived the idea which led to the discovery of insulin in 1922.

The 2007 and 2008 theme is "Diabetes in Children and Adolescents."  The two-year focus on children through the World Diabetes Day campaign aims to increase awareness among parents and caregivers, teachers, healthcare professionals, politicians and the public.

In a message issued for the day, the Secretary-General said, “We must do more to inform children and adults about the warning signs of the disease, particularly in the developing world. We must also ensure access to proper medical care. Many children in the developing world die from diabetes because they do not have insulin” (full message).

Two related events were held at UN Headquarters this week: 

  • a DPI/NGO briefing on "World Diabetes Day: Providing assistance to children with diabetes" was held on Thursday, and
  • a panel discussion on “Access to essential medicines for children with diabetes in the developing world,” organized by the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh and sponsored by the International Diabetes Federation, was held on Friday.  The Permanent Mission of Bangladesh is also a sponsor of the lighting project.

About Diabetes

Diabetes is one of the most common chronic diseases of childhood with over 200 children a day developing type 1 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is growing by 3 percent per year in children and adolescents, and at an alarming 5 percent per year among pre-school children.

It is estimated that 70,000 children under 15 develop type 1 diabetes each year (almost 200 children a day). Currently, an estimated 440,000 children live with type 1 diabetes globally.

Type 2 diabetes was once seen as a disease of adults but today, it is growing at alarming rates in children and adolescents.

More than 250 million people live with diabetes globally, a figure that will reach 380 million by 2025.

Related material

WHO fact sheet on diabetes