Down Syndrome International
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About WDSD

What is World Down Syndrome Day?

World Down Syndrome Day (WDSD) , 21 March, is a global awareness day which has been officially observed by the United Nations since 2012.

The date for WDSD being the 21st day of the 3rd month, was selected to signify the uniqueness of the triplication (trisomy) of the 21st chromosome which causes Down syndrome. 


History of WDSD

WDSD was first observed in 2006

Down Syndrome Association Singapore launched and hosted the WDSD website from 2006-2010, on behalf of Down Syndrome International (DSi), for global activities to be recorded.

Campaign to generate international support

The Brazilian Federation of Associations of Down Syndrome worked with DSi and its members to launch an extensive campaign to generate international support.

Resolution adopted by consensus

Following the joint work of Brazil and Poland, the resolution was adopted by consensus during the plenary meeting of the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday 10 November 2011.

Campaign for co-sponsors

Down syndrome groups and associations around the world campaigned for their governments to co-sponsor the resolution. The resolution was eventually co-sponsored by 78 UN Member States.

International petition

In addition, DSi launched an international petition for the adoption of World Down Syndrome Day by the UN. This received more than 12,000 signatures in a 2 week period and was presented to the Chair of the Third Committee.

United Nations resolution

On 19 December 2011, the United Nations General Assembly declared 21 March as World Down Syndrome Day.


It’s a date!

The General Assembly decided, with effect from 2012, to observe World Down Syndrome Day on 21 March each year, and invites all Member States, relevant organizations of the United Nations system and other international organizations, as well as civil society, including non-governmental organizations and the private sector, to observe World Down Syndrome Day in an appropriate manner, in order to raise public awareness of Down syndrome.

DSi would like to thank everyone who supported this campaign, with particular thanks to the Government of Brazil, the Brazilian Federation of Associations of Down Syndrome, all of our member organisations who appealed to their governments for support, and to everyone who signed our international petition.

WDSD themes

Each year, DSi develops a theme for WDSD. The theme forms the basis of a global campaign. The Down syndrome community raise their voices together to take steps towards full inclusion for people with Down syndrome everywhere.

Previous themes for WDSD:
2022 – Inclusion Means
2021 – Connect
2020 – We Decide
2019 – Leave No One Behind
2018 – What I bring to my community
2017 – My Voice My Community
2016 – My Friends, My Community
2015 – My Opportunities, My Choices
2014 – Health and Wellbeing –Access and Equality for All
2013 – Right to Work
2012 – Building Our Future

Sign up!

Sign up to hear from the World Down Syndrome Day team about how you can get invovled.

You will also get access to our FREE WDSD resources including guides for advocacy, schools and organisations, posters, templates and lots more to help you to mark this important day.

Together we will create a single global voice advocating for the rights, inclusion and well being of people with Down syndrome.