IAPB together with its members successfully championed the first United Nations General Assembly resolution: Vision for Everyone – Accelerating Action to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
“An eye test for a child can be the difference between inclusion and or 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.” W. Aubrey Webson – Ambassador to the United Nations
The resolution [A/RES/75/310] was unanimously adopted by all 193 countries of the United Nations on 23 July 2021.
It is the first agreement designed to tackle preventable sight loss to be adopted at the United Nations and enshrines eye health as part of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
The resolution creates new expectations for international financial institutions and donors to provide targeted finances, especially to support developing countries in tackling preventable sight loss. And for the United Nations to incorporate eye care through its work, including with UNICEF and UN-Women.
The resolution sets a target for eye care for all by 2030 – with countries set to ensure 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.
What are the key actions?
Governments: Adopt a ‘whole-of-government’ approach to eye health and link vision to other development priorities.
Donors + Financial Institutions: Increase funding for eye health, especially for developing countries, and to build an international campaign on eye health.
United Nations Institutions: Promote and include eye health in the programme of work to achieve the SDGs.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres: Coordinate and follow-up on the implementation of the resolution and to report back to the UN General Assembly.
Private sector, Civil society, Academic + Scientific community: Work with national governments to achieve ‘Vision for Everyone’.
How will we ensure progress?
The resolution provides two mechanisms for monitoring global progress on the resolution:
Targets: The United Nations Inter-Agency Expert Group will consider including two new targets on eye health in the global indicator framework for the Sustainable Development Goals in 2025.
Reporting: Countries will need to report on their progress on eye health as part of their Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) presented at the High-Level Political Forum (the main reporting mechanism for the SDGs).
The UN Friends of Vision, is founded by Ambassador Webson, Antigua and Barbuda. 10 countries as well as James Chen and IAPB attend the first meeting. The Friends of Vision 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.
Friends of Vision hold their first side event at the UN High-Level Political Forum on Eye Health and the SDGs.
Eye Health is included for the first time in a UN Political Declaration. Heads of State commit to strengthen efforts to address eye health conditions as part of Universal Health Coverage.
Friends of Vision hold a Vision Screening and Exhibition in the UN lobby. More than 500 Ambassadors and UN staff get their eyes tested.
Bangladesh and Ireland join the leadership of the Friends of Vision.
May to December 2020
Friends of Vision continues to hold high-level virtual events with key UN representatives and grows to more than 50 members.
The Lancet Global Health Commission on Eye Health is launched at the United Nations with over 600 Ambassadors and mission representatives, UN officials, academics, civil society, private sector organizations and media in attendance.
The President of the UN General Assembly publicly endorses the UN resolution on vision.
Member State negotiations begin on the UN resolution on vision. The resolution is led by Bangladesh with Antigua and Barbuda and Ireland’s support.
The UN resolution on vision is agreed by silence procedure by Member States.
More than 115 countries co-sponsor the resolution.
23 July 2021
Vision for Everyone: Accelerating Action on the SDGs is adopted by the UN General Assembly