WDD is celebrated yearly on November 14 and with the campaign being leg by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF) and its member associations. It engages millions of people worldwide in diabetes advocacy and awareness.  IDF and the World Health Organization pioneered WDD in response to  concern about the escalating health threat that diabetes poses. It became an official United Nations Day in 2007 with the passage of United Nation Resolution 61/225.

The WDD campaign draws attention to issues of paramount importance to the diabetes world and keeps diabetes firmly in the public spotlight. A new theme chosen by the IDF each year to address issues facing the global diabetes community. While the themed campaigns last the whole year, the day itself is celebrated on November 14, to mark the birthday of Frederick Banting who, along with Charles Best, first conceived the idea which led to the discovery of insulin in 1921.