Prevent Blindness applauds the adoption of The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution A/75/L.108, committing the international community to eye care for the 1.1 billion people who will be living with preventable sight loss by 2030.
This first-ever resolution designed to tackle preventable sight loss establishes eye health as part of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The resolution was passed unanimously by all 193 countries of the UN, with each committing to ensuring full access to eye care services for their populations. The plan means that by 2030, the 1.1 billion people globally living with sight loss will have access to eye care support and treatment, helping to alleviate the more than $400 billion per year in productivity losses to the global economy. But this goal will only be reached if governments and international institutions act now to fulfill their new commitments.
H.E. Ambassador Aubrey Webson, Permanent UN Representative of Antigua and Barbuda, and founding co-chair of the UN Friends of Vision group said, “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.”
This resolution was advanced in significant part by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB), the overarching alliance for the global eye care sector with 150 members worldwide drawn from NGOs and civil society, corporate organizations, professional bodies, and research and eye care institutions.
“The eye health sector has believed for a long time that quality eye health is critical to the world achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and this resolution is testament to a lot of hard work,” said Peter Holland, CEO of IAPB. He continued, “IAPB’s members will now work tirelessly to support governments to enact this resolution and hold governments to account to ensure that no one is left behind.”
As an IAPB Member Organization, Prevent Blindness supported the global advocacy efforts by urging the United States to support the resolution. In a letter to the Honorable Linda Thomas Greenfield, U.S. Ambassador to the UN, Jeff Todd, president and CEO of Prevent Blindness, wrote, “We know far too well that we exist in a global community and have a duty to bring our voice to bear in advocating for vision and eye health for our neighbors across the world. We urge the US to lead on this vital aspect of global health, and move to ensure its passage.”
By aligning with the SDGs, eye health can now make an important contribution to the eradication of poverty, both a cause and consequence of poor eye health, and lends well to many other SDGs (e.g. improved quality in education, improved health and well-being, increased gender equity, reduced inequities within and among countries, and improved road safety).
“For over 100 years, Prevent Blindness has been a leader in advocating for vision and eye health,” said Todd. “At its core this resolution is about advancing equitable access to eye care for people all around the world. This is exactly why we at Prevent Blindness are so passionate about its adoption and the impact it will have.”
For more information on the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution A/75/L.108, or other Prevent Blindness advocacy initiatives, please visit preventblindness.org/advocacy.