UN adopts first resolution on vision, aims to help 1 billion
UNITED NATIONS (PA) – The United Nations General Assembly on Friday approved its first-ever vision resolution, calling on its 193 member countries to ensure access to eye care for all in their countries, which would contribute to a global effort to help at least 1.1 billion people with visual impairments who currently lack eye services by 2030.
The “Vision for All” resolution, sponsored by Bangladesh, Antigua and Ireland, and co-sponsored by more than 100 countries, was adopted by consensus by the global body.
It encourages countries to institute a “whole-of-government approach to eye care”. And it 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 live with visual impairment or blindness and 1.1 billion people have visual impairment that could have been prevented or has not yet been treated.”
“Global eye care needs are expected to increase dramatically, with half of the world’s population expected to live with visual impairment by 2050,” the resolution said.
Bangladeshi Ambassador to the UN Rabab Fatima introduced the resolution, noting that for the first time it emphasized vision and calling it “a long-awaited recognition of the central role that a healthy vision plays. plays in human life and for sustainable development ”.
He said more than 90% of the 1.1 billion people worldwide living with vision loss live in low- and middle-income countries, adding that 55% of blind people are women and girls.
On average, blindness costs the global economy “a staggering $ 411 billion in productivity each year,” Fatima said. And access to eye care services can increase household spending per capita by 88% “and the chances of getting paid employment by 10%.”
Although General Assembly resolutions are not legally binding, they reflect world opinion.
Fatima said it was essential for the assembly to convey “the unequivocal UN commitment to ensure proper eye care facilities for everyone, everywhere, to prevent conditions that can lead to serious and permanent damage. “.
He called the resolution “an opportunity to change the lives of millions of blind and partially sighted people.”
The resolution emphasizes that access to eye care is essential to achieve the UN’s 2030 goals of ending poverty and hunger, ensuring healthy lives and quality education, and reducing inequalities.
He calls on all nations to mobilize resources and support to ensure eye care for everyone in their country, in order to reach at least 1.1 billion people worldwide “who are visually impaired and currently do not access to the eye care services they need ”by 2030.
Hong Kong philanthropist James Chen, founder of the Clearly Global Vision Campaign which has campaigned for resolution over the past two decades, called it a “milestone” and “a critical preliminary step” for achieve the goals of the United Nations.
“The first step now is to make sure governments keep their commitment to act” and “view vision correction as essential health care, alongside other priorities such as family planning and immunization. infants, ”he said in a statement to The Associated Press.
With this kind of commitment from governments and non-governmental organizations, “glasses are affordable and their distribution can be resolved,” and the United Nations’ ambitious 2030 deadline can be met, said Chen, chairman of the United Nations. Chen Yet-Sen Family Foundation.