The year 2020 has a special place in the hearts of us all in the eye health sector. It marks the end of VISION 2020: The Right to Sight, the joint global initiative of IAPB and WHO that was started in 1999. VISION 2020 has been one of the most recognised eye health ‘brands’ in the sector and we all take pride in coming under its banner. It also showcases the power of collective action. CEOs of some of the biggest eye care NGOs in the world wrote that VISION 2020 is a great example of “what’s possible when like-minded organizations join forces to amplify their impact.”

The successes under this banner are staggering. Projections of blindness around 1999 were for around 70 million people—the current numbers show we have 36 million people with blindness. There are many such success-stories and many of us have worked to achieve them. IAPB is looking to celebrate VISION 2020’s achievements at GA2020—and in the run-up to the GA in October. We will be inviting many personalities who played a key role in envisaging the initiative, its goals and its achievements. Many of these names may be familiar to us, they were the people who gave shape to the VISION 2020 ideals and helped deliver its successes.

And some you may hear for the first time, people whose imaginations were fired up by the VISION 2020 goals, and helped them establish a career in eye health. IAPB will be featuring blog posts and interviews from IAPB member organisations who made a mark for VISION 2020 through their careers. They will be featured in IAPB social channels and will celebrated on the GA2020 website. If you work for an IAPB member, and think you know a deserving colleague, please write to us.

Send us your stories

This story could be yours too. IAPB will be putting together a ‘VISION 2020 wall’ at GA2020, and we are keen to add a variety of stories on it.

If you have photos, stories, individual histories and connections you would like to share with us—please write to us at [email protected] The wall will be an exhibition of our collective histories with VISION 2020. It will be a dedication, and a symbol of the long path we have traversed these two decades. So, please don’t hold back, send us your photos, or urge your colleagues and friends to share theirs. You can also share your stories using the hashtag #VISION2020 on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Do it right away– #ActNow!

GA2020 Sessions

The GA2020 will feature a variety of sessions to mark VISION 2020 successes and themes. Plenaries and sessions across the three days of the global assembly will highlight VISION 2020 successes. One of the biggest successes in eye health has been with Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs), and VISION 2020 will play a major role there as well. The GA’s social ceremonies will also offer many opportunities to celebrate VISION 2020.

VISION 2020 has always been about our collective hopes and aspirations. As Andrew Tasker, Director of Business Affairs, Champalimaud Foundation, notes, “VISION 2020 is a remarkable initiative that captured the collective imaginations of the eye health sector—and their friends, partners and collaborators. It’s remarkable that a campaign should be blessed with such longevity; it has become a symbol of our hopes and ambitions. This year is a moment for us all to come together to celebrate its end—and its successes.”