"Together, United, Let`s Act On Diabetes"
This was the slogan of the summit co-organized by WHO Europe and the International Diabetes Federation Europe (IDF Europe) in Belgrade and online on November 28-29
The High-Level Technical Summit (HLTS) on diabetes, jointly organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) Europe and the International Diabetes Federation Europe (IDF Europe) in Belgrade on November 28-29, marked a significant convergence of experts, healthcare professionals, and individuals living with diabetes. Discussed topics included detection and diagnosis, quality of care, complication prevention, and equal access to quality treatment.

The summit, with over 170 experts from WHO/WHO Europe and IDF Europe, along with representatives from national health authorities, civil society, healthcare workers, and people living with diabetes, aimed to prioritize diabetes issues in the era of permacrisis.

During the summit, a Declaration was adopted, emphasizing the need to accelerate the implementation of commitments to improve diabetes detection and quality of care. This declaration underscores the burden of diabetes and recalls existing commitments from the United Nations, WHO, EU, and other relevant organizations. IDF Europe calls on stakeholders, especially WHO Europe members, to support and endorse this declaration and urges member countries to take immediate action to expedite progress.
Despite substantial commitments from member countries, the number of people with diabetes in the region continues to rise. IDF Europe estimates that one-third of people with diabetes remain undiagnosed, and nearly half may not meet recommended targets.
In line with the 74th World Health Assembly Resolution 74.4 on Reducing the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), the Joint Declaration calls on member states to take additional measures to address diabetes. These include adopting a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach, prioritizing diabetes prevention and control, strengthening policy and regulatory measures, raising awareness of the national public health burden caused by diabetes, ensuring a continued focus on treatment and care, and improving prevention and control of diabetes throughout life. Additionally, it emphasizes the need to strengthen health systems, improve health literacy, and enhance monitoring and evaluation of diabetes responses.

IDF Europe welcomes this Joint Declaration and calls on all relevant stakeholders, especially WHO Europe members, to unite and endorse it. They also urge member states to take immediate additional action to accelerate progress. Specifically:

  1. Addressing inequalities through a health-in-all-policies, whole-of-society approach, targeting socio-economic determinants of health, creating health-promoting environments, and addressing stigma and discrimination in all aspects of life.
  2. Changing mindsets with earlier action on prevention, diagnosis, and management, including a more systematic approach to detecting and diagnosing all types of diabetes, overcoming barriers to implementing evidence-based guidelines, and ensuring universal, affordable, uninterrupted, and timely access to all required medicines, technologies, interventions, and other tools.
  3. Embracing research and innovation by promoting data collection and analysis, digitalizing healthcare systems, adopting innovation in all its forms, and funding research to address unmet needs.
  4. Building resilience through the redesign of care systems, notably strengthening primary care systems and developing person-centered, integrated, and innovative care models.
  5. Acknowledging expertise by engaging and empowering people living with diabetes. This means promoting their engagement in all aspects of research, care delivery, and treatment, better supporting self-management education and digital/health literacy, and collaborating in the development of health/diabetes-related policies.
At the end of the HLTS, Professor Nebojša M. Lalić, IDF Europe Regional Chair, stated, "As we envision a future where diabetes is not just managed but mastered, it is essential to unite, collaborate, and strategize to address the complex challenges brought by diabetes. For meaningful progress to be made, we must collectively be more ambitious and involve all key stakeholders, especially people living with diabetes, whose needs and preferences must guide our strategies to ensure they resonate with real-world needs."

IDF Europe believes that the HLTS could be a stepping stone for a broader, comprehensive WHO Europe Resolution, to be voted at the Regional Council in 2024.
Join the signing!
Each of us can join the changes and help bring closer a better future for people with diabetes. Sign the Declaration, become a member of this movement: