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#EyeSeeYou Partner: World Blind Union celebrates Vision Health Month

The World Blind Union is a global organization that represents the worldwide community of 253 million blind and partially sighted persons. We have been working for more than 3 decades to make a significant difference in the lives of millions of blind and partially sighted persons through our priority areas including Human rights and Representation, Capacity Building, Resource Sharing and Accessibility.  Another key area includes our efforts to influence the policies and regulations of the UN and other international agencies to  include the needs and views of blind and partially sighted persons.

WBU operates through 6 regional unions which are made up of organizations of and for the blind in about 193 countries. Over the recent years, with the adoption of diverse international instruments, particularly the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a global momentum around disability has rapidly grown and it clearly shows that national governments, international agencies and disabled people organizations must now collaboratively work to translate this favorable political commitment into real change improving the lives of blind and partially sighted persons. The WBU is committed to contribute towards the realization of this ambitious but totally achievable goal which will result to improving the life of blind and partially sighted persons.

Among our significant achievements is the Marrakech Treaty. The Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons Who Are Blind, Visually Impaired, or Otherwise Print Disabled (Marrakesh Treaty) was adopted in June 2013, came into force on September 30, 2016 and as of may 16 2018 has 37 member countries.

The Marrakesh Treaty seeks to enhance the human rights of print-disabled persons by facilitating their ability to enjoy and access books and other cultural material in formats that they can access (i.e. braille, audio, large print, electronic).  Indeed, the lack of books and published materials in accessible formats and the inability to share the accessible books that are available across country borders was the driving force behind the advocacy efforts over many years to achieve an international instrument that could facilitate this access. However, significant work remains to be done specially to ensure full implementation of the Treaty at the national levels. Now, our community can certainly serve from this Treaty to have meaningful access to reading materials allowing us to effectively participate in community.

Another significant milestone is the UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities and agenda 2030. In 2006 the UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities was adopted and together with other international instruments such as the SDGs have shaped a unique global momentum to bring disability to the front and to ensure that governments, private sector and civil society organizations gathered together and maximized efforts to promote and protect human rights for persons with disabilities.

The WBU, has enormously contributed to this achievement through supporting our national members in their advocacy work but also, representing the blind and partially sighted community both regionally and internationally.

The World Blind Union envisions a world in which we, as blind or partially sighted people, can participate fully in any aspect of life we choose.

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