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UN Resolution commits countries to eye care for the World’s 1.1 billion people with preventable sights loss by 2030

PHOTO: The New York Times

NEW YORK – July 23, 2021 – The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has today, July 23, 2021, adopted Resolution A/75/L.108 ‘Vision for Everyone: acceleration action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals’ committing the international community to eye care for the 1.1 billion people living with preventable sight loss by 2030. 

This 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. Sight loss is calculated to cost the global economy $411 billion in productivity each year. 

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 part of their nation’s journey to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. 

As a member of the United Nations Friends of Vision secretariat and a leading global vision care nonprofit, OneSighthas been instrumental in developing the resolution and a strong advocate for its passage. For years, OneSight has been proud to partner with governments in numerous countries in need of access to vision care to achieve the aims laid out in this resolution. 

OneSight delivers quality eye exams and glasses to underserved populations globally through short-term charitable clinics and permanent self-sustaining vision centers. Some of the countries OneSight has brought vision care access to include: 

  • The Gambia – through the development of seven permanent vision centers, OneSight brought vision care access to The Gambia’s entire population of 1.9 million people.
  • Rwanda – this year, OneSight celebrates the achievement of providing complete access to vision care to the entire population of Rwanda, 14 million people, through permanent community-based vision centers.
  • Zambia – OneSight is on track to complete additional vision center openings in 2022 which will result in 100% of Zambians, 18.8 million people, having access to vision care. 

Additionally, OneSight operates permanent vision centers in numerous other countries across Africa and Asia.

Now, through the formal adoption of the resolution, OneSight is committed and eager to continue this mission and partner with others. OneSight welcomes new global partners and actively seeks countries interested in partnering with the organization to help bring vision care access to their nations. 

“For more than 30 years, OneSight has worked toward creating a world where access to vision care is no longer a barrier to human achievement and potential. OneSight is supported by dedicated optometrists, volunteers, donors, and staff who have helped us bring vision care access to more than 42 million people globally,” said K-T Overbey, President & Executive Director, OneSight. “However, we recognize that the only way we will truly solve the global vision care crisis is through strong partnerships and a worldwide initiative that will amplify our efforts to help the 1.1 billion people in need.”

“The adoption of this resolution is truly a pivotal moment for the expansion of vision care access globally, and we feel so fortunate that the critical importance of clear sight is being recognized on such a large scale,” continued Overbey.

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 health into its work, including through Unicef and UN-Women. 

“The eye health sector has believed for a long time that quality eye care is critical to the world achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Peter Holland, CEO of IAPB. “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.”

The resolution calls for new targets on eye care to be included in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals at its next review. The plan will mean that by 2030, the 1.1 billion people globally living with sight loss, will have access to support and treatment. But, campaigners say, only if governments and international institutions act now to fulfil their new commitments. 

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