"The need to take urgent action on diabetes is clearer than ever," said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, in a press release on Wednesday.
According to the WHO chief, the number of people with diabetes has quadrupled in the last 40 years.
Moreover, diabetes is the only major noncommunicable disease for which the risk of dying early is going up rather than down.
"The Global Diabetes Compact will help to catalyze political commitment for action to increase the accessibility and affordability of life-saving medicines for diabetes and also for its prevention and diagnosis," he stated.
More than 420 million people worldwide live with diabetes, a group of chronic diseases characterized by elevated blood sugar, which can cause damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys and nerves.
The most common is type 2 diabetes, which occurs when the body becomes resistant to insulin, the hormone that regulates blood sugar.
The global compact focuses on several priorities. One of the most urgent areas of work is to increase access to diabetes diagnostic tools and medicines, particularly insulin, in low- and middle-income countries. The introduction of a pilot programme for WHO prequalification of insulin in 2019 has been an important step.