On 19 December 2011, the United Nations General Assembly declared 21 March as World Down Syndrome Day (A/RES/66/149). 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.
History and Background
WDSD was first observed in 2006 in many countries around the world. Down Syndrome Association Singapore launched and hosted the WDSD website from 2006-2010, on behalf of DSi, for global activities to be recorded.
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. The resolution stemmed from an original request by the Brazilian Federation of Associations of Down Syndrome, who worked with Down Syndrome International and its members to launch an extensive campaign to generate international support. The resolution was eventually co-sponsored by 78 UN Member States.
Down syndrome groups and associations around the world campaigned for their governments to co-sponsor the resolution. 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.
This resolution was a major step forward towards DSi’s goal for WDSD to be observed and celebrated by persons with Down syndrome, their families and friends, those who live and work with them and all persons who wish to promote and ensure quality of life and human rights for all persons with 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.