SAN FRANCISCO, CA (February 7, 2023) – RestoringVision has joined the United Nations Friends of Vision secretariat and the call to UN Secretary-General António Guterres for the appointment of a Special Envoy on Vision.
“Advocacy has always been at the heart of the work of RestoringVision, and it is what has enabled us to build an unparalleled network of 2,500 NGO and government partners across the globe – many of which had not previously engaged in creating access to vision services and the provision of eyeglasses for the people they serve,” said Pelin Munis, Ph.D., CEO of RestoringVision. “We are proud to now lend RestoringVision’s voice to the global call for a Special Envoy on Vision at the UN, which would serve as a vision champion for the 1 billion people worldwide who have a vision impairment that could have been prevented or has yet to be addressed – 81% of which could be solved with the provision of reading glasses. A Special Envoy on Vision would further open the pathway to solving the global vision crisis, which RestoringVision is fiercely determined to achieve.”
The Friends of Vision group of United Nations Member States consists of country representatives, including at the Ambassador level, from almost 70 countries. The Friends of Vision is chaired by Ambassador Dr. Walton Webson of Antigua and Barbuda, Ambassador Muhammad Abdul Muhith of Bangladesh, and Ambassador Fergal Mythen of Ireland. The group is supported by an active secretariat chaired by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB). In addition to RestoringVision, other member organizations of the secretariat include: World Health Organization, OneSight Essilor Luxottica, The Fred Hollows Foundation, Sightsavers, Vision Council of America, SEVA, CBM, and HCP Cureblindness.
The UN Friends of Vision aims to advance the issue of eye health within the context of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, to raise its profile on the international agenda, and to share knowledge from the sector with and among Member States. It has developed a strong and credible voice in UN political processes.
“We are proud to contribute to the work of the UN Friends of Vision secretariat and its collaboration with the World Health Organization on advancing eye health for all people in need. And we will continue to engage organizations in the important work of prioritizing eye health at every level to advance education, economic development, and global health initiatives,” Munis said.
Welcoming RestoringVision to the secretariat of the UN Friends of Vision, Peter Holland, IAPB Chief Executive said, “Globally, at least 2.2 billion people, more than a quarter of humanity, have a vision impairment, or blindness. Of those, more than 1 billion live with sight loss due to a lack of services. Population growth, an aging population, and increased urbanization only make the problem worse. The UN Friends of Vision group is key to mobilizing action at an international and national level, working towards a world where everyone has accessible, available, and affordable eye health services by 2030. We look forward to working with RestoringVision to elevate the issue of eye health globally and are excited about the experience and expertise they will bring to the UN Friends of Vision secretariat.”
To read RestoringVision’s blog series connecting the prioritization of eye health to the advancement of 8 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals, click here.
RestoringVision is a global nonprofit dedicated to creating equitable access to vision services and eyeglasses for individuals living on less than $2 a day. One billion people have a vision impairment that could have been prevented or is yet to be addressed, 81% of which could be corrected with a simple pair of reading glasses. We address this by partnering with our unparalleled network of more than 2,500 NGOs and governments to provide life-changing vision screenings and eyeglasses to millions of people who could not access them otherwise. For more information, visit restoringvision.org.
The International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB) is the overarching alliance for the global eye care sector with almost 200 members worldwide drawn from NGOs and civil society, corporate organizations, professional bodies and research and eye care institutions.
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