- In meeting with Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, H.E. Dr Walton Webson, the Permanent Representative of the Mission of Antigua and Barbuda, Founder/Co-chair of the UN Friends of Vision Group and IAPB CEO Peter Holland discussed the global call for a UN Special Envoy on Vision.
- Alongside the meeting, over 60 countries and 150 eye health organisations around the world have already written to UN Secretary-General calling for the UN to create a UN Special Envoy on Vision.
- The UN Special Envoy on Vision would serve as a global champion for vision and mobilise national action on eye health, ensuring the necessary resources and technical assistance are provided, particularly in low- and middle-income countries.
GENEVA, Switzerland – In a meeting in Geneva, International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) Global Ambassador H.E. Dr. Walton Webson, the Permanent Representative of the Mission of Antigua and Barbuda, Founder/Co-chair of the UN Friends of Vision Group and IAPB CEO Peter Holland discussed with World Health Organization Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus the global call for a UN Special Envoy on Vision.
The meeting came as the campaign calling for the appointment of a Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Vision was gaining substantial support across the UN. Over 60 member states have signed the letter encouraging the Secretary-General to appoint a Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Vision to serve as a global champion for vision and eye health. The Special Envoy would galvanize national action and enhance political commitment and multi-sector cooperation to drive progress with other development issues such as health, poverty reduction, education, gender equality, decent work, road safety and climate change.
Acknowledging that the challenges around eye health are only expected to grow if action is not taken, Ambassador Webson stated “The moment in time to spark a generational-level change for vision has arrived. With the full support of the global eye health sector, the Special Envoy on Vision can make significant progress towards the implementation of General Assembly resolution 75/310 ‘Vision for Everyone: accelerating action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals’ around the world.”
During the meeting with Dr Tedros they also discussed the importance of elevating eye health as a universal, cross-cutting and intersectional issue critical to achieving the 2030 Agenda. There was praise for the World Health Organization’s role in mobilizing national action on prioritising vision and eye health, particularly in low- and middle-income countries where the need is most prevalent, as well as monitoring progress with recent global targets on Uncorrected Refractive Error and Cataract.
Peter Holland said “A Special Envoy on Vision has the full support of IAPB; the global umbrella body for the eye care sector with more than 180 members working in over 100 countries. Our members are drawn from NGOs, civil society, professional bodies, hospitals, research centres, as well as businesses and the corporate sector, all speaking with one voice about the importance for eye health to the world. Together we have demonstration a united support and collective action calling on the UN Secretary-General to appoint a Special Envoy of the Secretary-General on Vision.”