On Friday, the UN General Assembly approved its first-ever resolution calling on 193 member states to ensure access to eye care for all in their countries, which will contribute to a global effort to help the at least 1.1 billion people with visual impairments who currently there will be no eye services by 2030. The Vision for All Resolution, sponsored by Bangladesh, Antigua and Ireland and co-sponsored by over 100 countries, was adopted by worldwide consensus.
It encourages countries to adopt a “whole of government approach to eye care”. And he calls on international financial institutions and donors to provide targeted funding, especially for developing countries, to address the growing impact of vision loss on economic and social development.
According to the resolution, “at least 2 billion people are living with visual impairment or blindness, and 1.1 billion people have a preventable or yet to be resolved visual impairment.”
“The global demand for eye care is projected to increase substantially, and by 2050, half of the world’s population is expected to be visually impaired,” the resolution says.
Bangladesh’s ambassador to the UN, Rabab Fatima, introduced the resolution, stressing that it is the first to focus on vision and calling it “a long overdue recognition of the central role that healthy vision plays in human life and for sustainable development.”
He said that more than 90% of the 1.1 billion people worldwide with vision loss live in low- and middle-income countries, adding that 55% of the blind are women and girls.
On average, vision loss costs the global economy “a staggering $ 411 billion in productivity each year,” Fatima said. And access to eye care can increase household spending per capita by 88%, “and the chances of getting a paid job by 10%.”
Although General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding, they reflect world opinion.
Fatima said it is critical for the meeting to convey “an unequivocal UN commitment to provide proper ophthalmic facilities for everyone and in everything to prevent conditions that could lead to serious and irreversible damage.”
He called the resolution “an opportunity to change the lives of millions of people who are blind or visually impaired.” The resolution emphasizes that access to eye care is essential to achieve the UN’s 2030 goals of ending poverty and hunger, promoting healthy lifestyles and quality education, and reducing inequalities.
He calls on all countries to mobilize resources and support to provide eye care to all people in their countries to reach at least 1.1 billion people worldwide “who are visually impaired and do not currently have access to the eye services they need. “By 2030.
Hong Kong philanthropist James Chen, founder of the Clearly Global Vision Campaign who has campaigned for the resolution over the past two decades, called it a “milestone” and “critical pre-step” towards achieving UN goals.
“The first step now is to ensure that governments live up to their commitments,” and “view vision correction as a critical health care, along with other priorities such as family planning and infant immunization,” he said in a statement to the Associated Press.
With this engagement from governments and nongovernmental organizations, “glasses are affordable and allocation is negotiable,” and the ambitious 2030 deadline can be met, ”said Chen, chairman of the Chen Yeth-Sen Family Foundation.