About World Blindness Summit

Madrid, capital of the blind people of the world for 2021.

World Blindness Summit Madrid 2021 is a global meeting, with Madrid as the virtual epicentre and the whole planet as the leading character, which is organised by the ONCE Social Group and will include the General Assembly of the WBU (World Blind Union) and of the ICEVI (International Council of Educators of Visually Impaired People).

This is a cutting-edge, disruptive and innovative event that embraces the benefits of technologies, creating the first global and accessible online conference aimed at addressing the significant challenges faced by blind and low vision people resulting from the severe crisis that has arisen from the COVID 19 pandemic.

Over 3,500 blind and severely visually impaired people from nearly 190 countries over the world will participate in the World Blindness Summit Madrid 2021 to share their experiences and practices developed over the past five years, and especially those implemented to cope with the effects of the pandemic in all spheres of life of blind and low vision people throughout the planet.

The achievements and challenges experienced will be analysed, priorities will be set in this new era beginning by working hard to prevent blind and low vision people from being left behind in the digital revolution that has made such great progress in the past months. On the other hand, new strategies will be worked on to give visibility to the reality of our group of people, and, above all, to promote everything that contributes to the substantiation of a central goal: to create a new vision of blindness, to enable these people to fully participate in any aspect of vital progress.

World Blindness Summit coloured globe with a chain of people in all colours

World Blindness Summit, international participation

The World Blindness Summit is held every four years and is promoted by the World Blind Union (WBU) and ICEVI, and for the first time in history, it has been postponed because of the global COVID 19 pandemic. At the WBS Madrid 2021, focus is placed on the challenges and goals involved in raising and intervening in the public reconstruction policy agenda, in company strategies and in raising awareness in civil society.

Organized by WBU, ICEVI, ONCE Social Group

World Blindness Summit Madrid 2021 organizers

World Blind Union - WBU 

The World Blind Union (WBU) is the international organization that represents more than 285 million blind and partially sighted people throughout the world. Its members are organizations of and for people with a visual impairment operating in 190 countries, as well as international organizations working in the field of visual impairment. 

WBU represents the voice of blind people and meets with governments and international organizations, together with their members, to improve issues related to blindness and visual impairment. The WBU brings together all the main national and international organizations of blind people and service providers to work on all areas affecting their quality of life. 

It works within a pyramidal structure that reflects the vision of what is expected to be achieved in the long term, the real inclusion of blind people and equality in all countries, as well as our vision for four-year cycles of strategic planning.

WBU’s vision is: Blind and partially sighted people can fully participate in any aspect of life they choose.


International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment - ICEVI

ICEVI is the world’s leading association of people and organizations that promotes access to appropriate and equal education for all visually impaired children and young people in order that they may achieve their full potential. It has consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council and is a founding member of the NGO Committee of UNICEF for children with disabilities; it works with UNESCO, the World Bank and the World Health Organization; and it collaborates with national and civil society organizations involved in education, as well as with organizations of parents and people with disabilities. 

Together with the World Blind Union and IAPB (International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness), ICEVI forms the Vision Alliance, a coalition of international organizations whose main theme is blindness, with a special focus on prevention, education of blind people and social integration through training and rehabilitation. 

ICEVI’s organizational structures facilitate the exchange of information and technical expertise at global and local level. At the regional level, the seven regional committees develop their own action plans to implement the global strategy in line with the needs and priorities they identify at national and community levels.


ONCE Social Group

ONCE is a unique organization in the world, without parallel in any other country. Its social objectives are aimed at achieving personal autonomy and the full integration of people with severe visual impairment. 

ONCE Social Group is the largest generator of social services for people with disabilities in Spain and the world. Since its inception, its goal has been the full inclusion of people who are visually impaired or have other disabilities under the principle of equal opportunities, thus adding value to society through the creation of a guarantor and sustainable model, leading the social economy and showing every day that economic and social profitability are compatible. 

ONCE Social Group is the people with visual impairment or other disabilities who receive services and promote the survival of the system. It combines three areas of action: responsible gaming management by ONCE, economic opportunity and support for blind people; training, accessibility and employment to foster the inclusion of people with all types of disability through ONCE Foundation; and the business reality of Ilunion which, under one single brand and with very positive economic and social results, offers valuable services to its clients, creates quality employment and showcases the talent of people with disabilities and other groups at risk of social exclusion. 

For those people who are part of ONCE and ONCE Social Group, the secret lies in sticking together to defend their interests - the joint effort of all workers to maintain independence as the essence of the organisation and to reinvent itself every day around a word that is already a motto and a way to progress through life: hope.

Contact us​​​​​

Write us an E-mail: wbs20@once.es
Communication and press: comunicacionwbs@once.es 
Follow us in Twitter: @WBSMadrid2021
Follow us in Facebook: @WBSMadrid2021
Service telephone: +34 91 4365349