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NGOs concerned about ageing issues around the world are currently making efforts at the United Nations to ensure that the era beyond the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) truly “leaves no one behind”, by urging Member States to take into account global population ageing. The absence of reference to older persons in the MDGs has been recognized and Governments are being asked to pay attention to demographic trends when formulating a post-2015 sustainable framework.
Older persons are the world’s fastest growing population group
NGOs concerned about aging issues around the world are currently making efforts at the United Nations to ensure that the era beyond the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) truly “leaves no one behind”, by urging Member States to take into account global population aging. The absence of reference to older persons in the MDGs has been recognized and Governments are being asked to pay attention to demographic trends when formulating a post-2015 sustainable framework. NGOs are requesting, at a minimum, that:
HUMAN RIGHTS OF OLDER PERSONS
Over the past several years, a number of Governments have been pushing for an international instrument or convention to protect and strengthen the rights of older persons. Numerous studies have concluded that while most international human rights instruments are applicable to all age groups, including older persons, a number of human rights issues particularly relevant to older persons have not been given sufficient attention. These include: age discrimination, access by older persons to work, adequate health services and social protection, protection from abuse, violence and neglect, and long-term care (Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, A/HRC/24/25).
The General Assembly of the United Nations has established an Open-ended Working Group on Aging (OEWG) to look into the above issues and has asked Governments and civil society to suggest elements for such an international convention. Many NGOs have participated in OEWG, providing evidence, data and analyses in support of a convention. Discussions are continuing. Meanwhile, the Human Rights Council decided (September 2013) to appoint an independent expert to also look into this matter.
WHAT NGOs CAN DO
NGOs involved in aging issues, as well as those focused on human rights, social justice, equality, violence against women, health, non-communicable diseases and people with disabilities should:
1. Collaborate and urge community leaders and national authorities to pay attention to what is happening at the United Nations on aging issues,
2. Stress the significance of the changing demographics,
3. Campaign for the inclusion of older persons in the post 2015 sustainable framework and for a convention to protect the rights of older persons.
– Aging in the Twenty-First Century: a Celebration and a Challenge: “”www.unfpa.org.
“This landmark publication, representing a collaboration of over 20 United Nations entities and major international organizations working in the field of aging, reviews policies and action taken by governments and other stakeholders since the Second World Assembly on Aging in 2002. In addition to providing many inspiring examples of innovative programmes that address population aging and the concerns of older persons,” UNFPA
– Aging Section of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs: Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights: www.ohchr.org
– NGO Committee on Ageing: www.ngocoa-ny.org
Gray Panthers Representative to the UN
The Global NGO Executive Committee (GNEC) was founded in 1962 to promote a closer working relationship between the United Nations and the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) associated with it. GNEC acts as a liaison between the NGO community and the UN's Department of Global Communications (DGC). GNEC provides strategic guidance to help NGOs become more effective partners of the UN.
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