UN Headquarters to be illuminated in blue to bring diabetes to light

14 November 2008

The United Nations headquarters will join 800 monuments throughout the world in being lit up in blue at 6:30 tonight as part of the “Bring Diabetes to Light” campaign, which aims to highlight the impact of the disease affecting more than 180 million people worldwide.

Other participants in the World Diabetes Day Monument Challenge that will light up include the Pyramids, the Sphinx, the London Eye, Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Niagara Falls, the Tower of London, the Kuwait Towers, the Sears Tower, the Alamo and the Burj al-Arab.

The monuments will either light up in blue or light a blue circle – the circle symbolizing life and health and the colour blue reflecting the sky that unites all nations – as part of the campaign by the International Diabetes Foundation.

In his message to mark World Diabetes Day, the Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged for more action to inform children and adults about the warning signs of the disease, particularly in the developing world, as diabetes is often diagnosed late or misdiagnosed as the flu.

“This year, we focus on the challenge of diabetes among children and adolescents. Diabetes is on of the most common chronic diseases of childhood, and both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can strike children at any age,” said Mr. Ban. “We must also ensure access to proper medical care. Many children in the developing world die from diabetes because they do not have insulin.”

In 2005 alone more than 1 million people died from diabetes, of whom almost 80 per cent were from low and middle-income countries, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The Secretary-General warned that without immediate action the number of people worldwide with diabetes will continue to multiply, as will the number of deaths.

“WHO projects that without urgent action, deaths from diabetes will increase by more than 50 per cent in the next 10 years. And by 2030, the number of people worldwide with diabetes – currently more than 180 million – is likely to double.”

Mr. Ban thanked the International Diabetes Federation and the Permanent Mission of Bangladesh for co-sponsoring a panel discussion on diabetes and further congratulated Bangladesh for the country’s strong commitment to the UN.

“Let us each do our part to shine a light on the impact of this deadly disease, and to light the way toward improved health services and care,” he said.


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News Tracker: Past Stories on This Issue

Global landmarks light up in blue to mark first UN World Diabetes Day

Over 200 of the world’s most famous landmarks, including New York’s Empire State Building and the Sydney Opera House, are lit up in blue today to mark the first United Nations World Diabetes Day which aims to raise awareness about this growing epidemic.