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First UN resolution on vision impairment, introduced by Bangladesh, adopted unanimously

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The United Nations General Assembly has unanimously adopted the first-ever UN resolution on vision impairment, committing access to eye healthcare for the 1.1 billion people living with preventable sight loss by 2030.

Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the UN in New York, Ambassador Rabab Fatima introduced the resolution on behalf of the Friends of Vision, an informal like-minded group at the UN that advocates for greater access to eye healthcare for over two billion people currently living with various levels of visual impairment.

The resolution titled ‘Vision for Everyone: Accelerating Action to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals’ is unique as it is the first agreement among the member states of this highest global body that is designed to tackle preventable sight loss, the Bangladesh Mission at the UN said today.

The other two co-chairs of the group are Antigua and Barbuda and Ireland, who joined Bangladesh in proposing the resolution. A total of 115 member states co-sponsored the resolution adopted yesterday.

Ambassador Fatima dedicated the resolution to all people around the world who are visually impaired or handicapped.

“1.1 billion people live with preventable sight loss. Preventable sight loss is a global challenge that needs a global solution – and that is what we have agreed today. What we agreed today will make a world of a difference to the lives of billions and their families and communities”, Ambassador Fatima said.

Ambassador Fatima also said millions of people globally lose their visions, needlessly. “And this phenomenon largely impedes their ability to contribute to their full potentials to the socio-economic development of their societies. The resolution before us has the potential to reverse this situation”.

The resolution called upon the member states to make eye health integral to their nation’s commitment to achieving the sustainable development goals.

The resolution also asked for international financial institutions and donors to provide targeted finances, especially to support developing countries in tackling preventable sight loss.

It called on relevant UN institutions to support global efforts to achieve vision for everyone to achieve the sustainable development goals. The resolution also called for new targets on eye care to be included in the UN’s sustainable development goals at its next review.

About 90 percent of the people who do not have access to proper eye healthcare live in low- and middle-income countries.