The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) opened its 76th session on 14 September 2021. The UNGA is the world’s biggest diplomatic convocation where political leaders and civil society will enter multilateral discussions and negotiations that cover the full spectrum of international issues. This year, the High-level General Debate will take place from 21 to 27 September under the theme “Building resilience through hope – to recover from COVID-19, rebuild sustainably, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people, and revitalize the United Nations.”
The 76th UNGA takes place following a landmark year in eye health, where significant strides were made in acknowledging the vital role vision plays in global development. In an unprecedented achievement, the UN adopted the ‘Vision for Everyone; accelerating action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals‘ Resolution committing the international community to eye health for the 1.1 billion people living with preventable sight loss by 2030. The resolution is the first agreement designed to tackle preventable sight loss to be adopted by the United Nations and enshrines eye health as part of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
Additionally, the World Health Assembly adopted two new ambitious global targets addressing the two leading causes of blindness and vision impairment and providing a vital mechanism to monitor global progress on eye health and to hold governments to account.
This year’s UNGA themes of sustainable growth and respecting human rights align with our efforts to address avoidable vision loss to help contribute to a healthier, safer, and more equitable world. Following the UNGA, our focus turns to implementing the UN resolution and ensuring that its promise is fulfilled. We need to continue to work together to promote eye health at the global, regional, and national level as a critical tool for development and prosperity