The Friends of Vision group of United Nations Member States consists of country representatives, including at Ambassador level, from more than 50 countries. The group is supported by an active secretariat chaired by IAPB, which includes The Fred Hollows Foundation; Sightsavers; OneSight; Vision Spring; Vision Council of America and CBM.
The Friends of Vision group aims to advance the issue of eye health within the context of the SDGs, to raise its profile on the international agenda, and to share knowledge from the sector with and among Member States. It has developed a strong and credible voice in UN political processes. For instance, it successfully advocated for the inclusion of eye health within a UN Declaration – the first-time eye health has been included in a UN document at that level. Please click here for the resolution
The UN Friends of Vision has held numerous events and meetings both virtually and at the United Nations.
Vision Screening and Exhibition: In November 2019, the group held a Vision Screening and Exhibition in the UN lobby in New York together with the WHO, UN Medical Office, IAPB and its members. During the event, more than 500 Ambassadors and UN staff got their eyes tested. Out of those examined, close to 90% needed glasses, with the vast majority needing the multifocal correction/progressives. 10% of people said that this was their first eye exam.
Official side event at the SDG High-Level Political Forum: The first virtual event held by the Friends of Vision with great success; over 600 people watched the event live either on Zoom or Facebook.
High-Level World Sight Day: In October 2020, the group held its most successful, high-level event yet, this took place shortly after World Sight Day with more than 400 people participating. The event featured a preview of the upcoming Lancet global report on vision, remarks by all three Ambassador co-chairs, the Executive Director of UNICEF, the Countess of Wessex and the Assistant Secretary-General for WHO in New York. The event was used as a platform for the Friends of Vision members to introduce plans for the UNGA resolution.