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UN General Assembly commits countries to eye care for all by 2030

Published: 23.07.2021
IAPB
UN resolution passed!
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The United Nations General Assembly has 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. 

Commenting on the adoption of the resolution, Caroline Casey, President of IAPB said, “The Member States of the United Nations have come together to agree on a global plan for change, ensuring full access to eye care services for their populations, and, to support global efforts, to make eye care part of their nation’s journey to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Those of us working in eye health will work with every sinew in our bodies to ensure that this is delivered and to ensure that 2030 is in sight for all.” 

H.E. Ambassador Rabab Fatima, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations and co-chair of the UN Friends of Vision group, added, “The adoption of today’s resolution on vision is a watershed moment in global efforts for vision care. We were honoured and pleased to lead this resolution together with fellow Friends of Vision Co-Chairs, Antigua and Barbuda and Ireland. 

The resolution was passed unanimously by all 193 countries of the United Nations. It sets a target for vision for everyone by 2030, with countries set to ensure full access to eye care services for their populations, and to make eye health integral to their nation’s commitment to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.  

The resolution calls for new targets on eye care to be included in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals at its next review.  

The resolution asks for international financial institutions and donors to provide targeted finances, especially to support developing countries in tackling preventable sight loss. And request the UN to incorporate eye health into its work, including through Unicef and UN-Women.  

H.E. Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations, member of the UN Security Council and co-chair of the UN Friends of Vision group stated, “If we are to meet the Sustainable Development Goals on gender equality then we must acknowledge that a lack of access to eye care has a disproportionate impact on women and girls. This can have devastating consequences on girls’ education, not to mention the participation of women in the workforce, poverty, child marriage, and the role of women in safeguarding the health and education of their own children. 

“An eye test for a child can be the difference between inclusion and exclusion; A pair of prescription glasses, the difference between access to information and seeking a livelihood and not. Corrective eye treatment, the difference between improved sight and total loss of sight. The gift of sight for the 1.1 billion people living with preventable sight loss is within reach if we ensure world leaders deliver on this moment,” added H.E. Ambassador Aubrey Webson, Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda to the United Nations and founding co-chair of the UN Friends of Vision group. 

Peter Holland, CEO of IAPB commented, “The eye health sector has believed for a long time that quality eye care is critical to the world achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. We are delighted that the resolution was passed unanimously and would like to thank all the countries that co-sponsored the resolution, and especially the governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Ireland and Bangladesh for their leadership on eye health at the United Nations and around the world.” 

He added, “IAPB’s members are committed to supporting governments to implement this resolution and ensure that no one is left behind.” 

The UN Friends of Vision Group consists of country representatives, including at Ambassador level, from more than 50 countries. This group is supported by an active-secretariat chaired by IAPB and includes The Fred Hollows Foundation, Sightsavers, OneSight, Vision Spring, Vision Council of America and CBM. Learn more about this important group here