As a country with expertise in the area of blindness prevention and rehabilitation, Australia is well placed to foster eye health and vision care systems in the region and to support inclusive development practices.
Vision 2020 Australia established the Global Committee in April 2008. The Committee aims to ensure that eye health and vision care are regarded as a public health priority in the Indo-Pacific Region through advocacy to parliamentarians and government officials and coordinating sector policy submissions.
The Committee directly supports the achievement of Vision 2020 Australia’s fifth and sixth goals in the Strategic Plan 2014-17:
To ensure that eye health and vision care is regarded as a public health priority in Asia and the Pacific.
To increase capacity to deliver eye health, vision care and services and supports for independence and participation in Asia and the Pacific.
In 2016 the Committee will continue to advocate for the inclusion of eye health and vision care on Australia’s foreign aid agenda and seek opportunities for funding commitments from the Australian Government and other sources to deliver programs in the Indo-Pacific region. Eye health and vision care programs are cost effective, achieve immediate results, leverage strong local networks and provide opportunities for partnerships with the private sector.
Committee meeting update
The first meeting of the 2016-2017 Global Committee was held on 21 March 2016. It was noted that on 23 February 2016 the Board endorsed Gerhard Schlenther from the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists as Chair of the Global Committee. The key outcome of the meeting was for Vision 2020 Australia to continue collaboration and coordination in the identified priority countries; Vietnam, Cambodia and Papua New Guinea.
- It was noted that results from the 2015 Committee survey were very positive across the board. Specific to the Global Committee, the perceived level of commitment and participation from members increased from 83 per cent in 2013 to 100 per cent in 2015.
- The Committee noted the final version of the Vision 2020 Australia Regional Strategy and endorsed the revised version of the scorecard, amended to include the priority actions identified in the Global workshop, demonstrate alignment to the World Health Organisation Global Action Plan and allocate shared responsibilities for Vision 2020 Australia, members and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness (IAPB).
- It was noted that that following the Global Workshop in December 2015, Vision 2020 Australia has taken steps to form working groups to follow up on the implementation of actions and activities for priority countries. Accordingly, in March 2016 Vision 2020 Australia and the IAPB facilitated a workshop with Papua New Guinea stakeholders. The purpose of the workshop was to recognise the good progress made in eye health and vision care in Papua New Guinea and consider how collaboration and coordinated advocacy can help to facilitate key areas of change. Feedback from the workshop was positive.
- Committee members were thanked for their support and valuable contributions in developing the Vision 2020 Australia 2016 Pre-election Policy Platform. It was noted that an important component of the 2016 Federal Election campaign was the Vision Summits held in February and March with the Australian Greens, Australian Labor Party (ALP) and Australian Government.
- The Committee identified the need to review and refine the donor partnership approach to include targeted relationship building with the aim to mobilise resources.
- It was noted that the outcomes of the Global Workshop in December 2015 have set the central focus for our efforts for the next 12 months. The Committee agreed that priorities for the January 2016 to December 2017 term will also include increasing awareness of the impact of eye health across Government, Parliamentarians and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), in particular advocacy with DFAT posts in the region and strengthening the sharing of information regarding advocacy approaches and activity between members.
- September 2015: Prepared a submission and presented testimony to the Senate Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade inquiry into the delivery and effectiveness of Australia’s bilateral aid program in Papua New Guinea.
- March 2015: Brien Holden Vision Institute and the World Health Organisation held a global scientific meeting on myopia in Sydney with support from the Committee.
- November 2014: Prepared a submission and presented testimony to the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade inquiry into the human rights issues facing women and girls in the Indian Ocean-Asia Pacific region.
- August 2014: Prepared a submission and presented testimony to the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade inquiry into the role of the private sector in promoting economic growth and reducing poverty.
- 2012: Secured a commitment of $21 million for a second phase Avoidable Blindness Initiative with $7.6 million allocated to an East Asia Vision Program implemented by the Vision 2020 Australia Global Consortium.
- 2008: A ten-year Regional Plan developed that led to a $45 million commitment from the Australian Government in 2008 to an Avoidable Blindness Initiative in Asia and the Pacific. Over $21 million of this was implemented by the Vision 2020 Australia Global Consortium
- Australian College of Optometry
- Brien Holden Vision Institute
- CBM Australia
- The Fred Hollows Foundation
- International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness
- Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists
- Sight for All
Vision 2020 Australia acknowledges funding received from CBM Australia for Global advocacy.
Previous Committee meeting updates can be found here