The Countess of Wessex has taken part in a discussion at a United Nations event about accelerating Vision for Everyone in honour of World Sight Day.
The Countess is currently self-isolating after being exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19; however, since the event was held virtually, she was able to still participate alongside political leaders, United Nations (UN) Ambassadors, the Executive Director of UNICEF and leading global civil society organisations.
Friday’s virtual meeting, hosted by the UN Friends of Vision (FoV), saw over 400 attendees participate. The Minister of Foreign Affairs for Antigua and Barbuda, E. P. Chet Greene, opened the event by saying: “Covid-19 may have slowed humanity’s progress, but it has given us opportunities to reset, recover and to recover better. Vision for everyone can help us do just that.”
Professor Matthew Burton of the International Centre for Eye Health at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine also addressed the audience and spoke about the links between eye health and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He said that due to the high economic costs and the ageing population, “the evidence for urgent global action is compelling.”
Sophie delivered the closing remarks for the event where she said: “No longer should it be acceptable that vision loss is just a condition that is untreatable or merely the luck of the draw. The gift of sight enables everyone to live their lives to the fullest, releasing their potential to learn, to work and to lead productive and fulfilled lives. This makes it fundamental to global prosperity and the SDGs.”
The Countess of Wessex has made sight an important part of her work. She is known to be passionate about eradicating avoidable blindness and serves as Vision 2020: The Right to Sight and Global Ambassador for the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness.