The St Vincent Declaration, a joint initiative on diabetes care and research of the World Health Organization (Europe) and the International Diabetes Federation (Europe), includes 5-year targets for improvement in diabetes outcomes as a central tenet. Accordingly, the establishment of state of the art monitoring and control systems is urged as a basis for the implementation of quality management. As a prerequisite for both targets, a diabetes dataset (fields and definitions) has been agreed to allow common monitoring of diabetes throughout Europe. This dataset has been further developed as the foundation stone of DiabCare, an initiative for continuous quality development in diabetes care. In a formal consensus process using the Delphi method, over 130 European diabetologists from 21 countries contributed to the development of this dataset, which includes fields covering true patient outcomes, intermediate metabolic outcomes, markers of diabetes tissue damage, risk factors, pregnancy, and life-style. The tools for documentation of the quality of health status have been developed in three formats for use in different health care settings. These tools, the DiabCare Diabetes Dataset, the DiabCare Basic Information Sheet, and the DiabCare Computer Program, are designed to allow local feedback-driven improvement in the quality of care, but are also the subject of communication protocols to compare performance between centres, regions, and countries. Whether implemented with or without the benefits of modern information technology, these initiatives can be the basis for both monitoring the targets of the St Vincent Declaration and for implementation of continuing quality development in diabetes care.