Adequate quality of diabetes care and the best concept for the implementation of national diabetes plans remain controversial. In 2011 the United Nations High Level Meeting on Non Communicable Diseases agreed on a consensus that national plans for the prevention and control of diabetes should be developed, implemented and monitored. The Global Diabetes Survey (GDS) is a standardised, annual, global questionnaire that will be used to assess responses of representatives from 19 diabetes-related stakeholder groups. It was designed with the goal of generating an annual report on the quality of national diabetes care and to compare findings from different regions and countries. The findings will be freely available and will be used to inform stakeholders to encourage the improvement of the quality of diabetes care in its medical, economical, structural and political dimensions.