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Highs and lows from the High-level Panel meeting in Bali

01 Apr 2013

Dr Rosy Pereyra and Eva Sabdono at HLP meeting in BaliIn March, the UN High-level Panel on the post-2015 development agenda met in Bali, Indonesia. The meeting was hosted by our President Dr Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who is co-chairing the panel with UK Prime Minister David Cameron and Liberian President Ellen Sirleaf Johnson.

I was invited to the meetings as a representative of Indonesian civil society to speak on behalf of Indonesia's growing population of older people. Today in Indonesia around 8.5% of the population is aged over 60. By 2050, this number will have increased to 25.5%.

This rapid population ageing is happening in many countries around the world, but nowhere as fast as in East Asia. This is why the post-2015 process must include people of all ages, including the many older people of tomorrow, and ensure their rights are protected.

In preparation for the meeting in Bali, HelpAge CEO, Richard Blewitt and I sent a letter to President Yudhoyono asking him to ensure that ageing is discussed in the post-2015 process. I believe this helped put ageing on the agenda for the meetings.

Good outreach to civil society

The most positive element of the Bali meeting was the strong participation of civil society organisations from various backgrounds and around the globe that were there to represent various groups such as children, migrants, women, people with disabilities and small scale businesses. All these parties actively took part in the discussions and strengthened the global voice for an inclusive and non-discriminatory post-2015 development framework.

Together with my colleague Dr Rosy Pereyra from the International Longevity Centre in the Dominican Republic, I called for the inclusion of people of all ages into the post-2015 discussions and that the rights of all, including older people, must be protected by the new framework.

What came out strongly from the civil society discussions was that inequalities need to be addressed. Everyone was calling for the post-2015 development framework to be centred on people, the protection of basic human rights and the provision of social protection for all.

Will older people be left out again?

Looking at the final statement of the High-level Panel members, I am slightly worried that the panel members did not take our input into consideration. This make me wonder: Will older people be left out of the framework like last time?

Furthermore, organisations working with older people were quite underrepresented at the meetings in Bali. Rosy Pereyra and I were the only people there with an expertise in the field, which demonstrates that ageing is being overlooked. This again is worrying and I hope this will improve in the process towards 2015.

As I look ahead one thing is for sure: We will keep on campaigning for the rights of older people and work with colleagues in Indonesia and the East Asia region to ensure that the challenges of population ageing are addressed in the post-2015 framework.

Find out more on how HelpAge is engaged in the post-2015 process.

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Author profile

Eva Sabdono
Country: Indonesia
Job title: Executive Director, YEL

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These blogs are personal reflections and do not necessarily reflect the views of HelpAge International.