Opening the event, The Honorable E. P. Chet Greene, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Antigua and Barbuda said “Covid-19 may have slowed humanity’s progress but it has given us opportunities to reset, recover and to recover better. Vision for everyone can help us do just that”.
UN FoV co-chair and co-founder Ambassador Webson of Antigua and Barbuda said, “Vision is hugely important within the context of the SDGs. Leaving no one behind means we have to tie eye health and the broader inclusion of services of people who are visually impaired with universal health care and eye health for all.”
Announcing a UN resolution on vision Ambassador Rabab Fatima of Bangladesh said, “We are working towards the first ever UN resolution on vision health and expect that we can achieve this landmark during the 75th General Assembly session in order change the way the world sees vision care.”
Ambassador Byrne Nason of Ireland to the United Nations, New York, added, “Eye health is about so much more than one SDG. We put a huge premium on the fundamental importance of education. Giving a child eye glasses will massively impact the quality of education that child will receive. We know that eye health directly impacts the ability of so many people to access work and contribute to economic growth in their countries.”
During the event Professor Matthew Burton of the International Centre for Eye Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine spoke about the upcoming Lancet Global Health Commission on Global Eye Health, and the links between eye health and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Speaking at the event, Professor Burton said, “2020 is a pivotal year for vision. The Commission has shown that improving vision is an important, if not essential, enabler for achieving the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, which will improve quality of life and livelihoods worldwide. Due to a high economic cost of vision impairment, and an ageing population, the evidence for urgent global action is compelling.”
In closing remarks HRH The Countess of Wessex, Global Ambassador, International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, concluded “No longer should it be acceptable that vision loss is just a condition that is untreatable or merely the luck of the draw.
“The gift of sight enables everyone to live their lives to the fullest, releasing their potential to learn, to work and to lead productive and fulfilled lives. This makes it fundamental to global prosperity and the SDGs.”