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At the UN: It was great our voices could be heard - I just hope governments were listening

08 Aug 2011

Salve talking at the UN working group last weekI am the first elected President of the Confederation of Older Persons Associations of the Philippines (COPAP).

Last week I attended the second meeting of the UN Open Ended Working Group in New York plus a side event on 'The right to health' held by organisations including HelpAge International.

My primary motivation for going was to connect my organisation and my country with the UN initiatives.

What we are doing in the Philippines now is more like a local thing and I felt that probably we would be able to update and upgrade our services from what we've learnt here and that the global community could also take notice of what we are doing and maybe follow our social protection model.

I think I've achieved a certain level of connection.

First I met with a number of delegates and I think that this is the start of some personal communication and links with both people and organisations.

I'm going to submit a form to the Global Alliance for the Rights of Older People and I hope to establish a working relationship with them, maybe exchange ideas, share experiences and possibly work together.

Governments need to hurry up - we can't wait that long

I am used to speaking in front of a big crowd but this was different, knowing that governments from different countries and some people from the UN were listening.

I am conscious that the UN has some influence, not just some but great influence and I hope that this event might help make my government more open to the idea of older people's participation in government.

It seems like even when they have some cognisance of what is going on in older people's lives, they don't feel much urgency to do anything.

My position is that older people don't have the luxury of time. We can't wait that long!

I was surprised that most of the comments by governments on the first day were the same, listing lots of initiatives and responses in their own settings.

But I had doubts in my mind that with all this legislation in place, why was there such a gap between what is supposed to be and what is actually happening? Why is there so much need when there is so much by way of response?

When I go back to my community I will first congratulate us, them and me, because at least in our country we know that we, older people ourselves, are doing something.

Only a few older people here are talking about self-help.

What we are hearing from government representatives are what they are doing this for older people. Few are mentioning actually involving older people.

I'd also like to thank HelpAge International. I noticed you are the only group that brought older people here, people like me from the grassroots.

What next?

Salvacion is an Age Demands Action activist - a global grassroots movement that campaigns for older people's rights. If you would like to show your support for Salve and older people's rights please sign the Age Demands Action petition.

Your comments

Mosharraf Hossain

It is a great news for us that first elected President of the Confederation of Older Persons Associations of the Philippines (COPAP)attended the second meeting of the UN Open Ended Working Group in New York plus a side eventon " The righ to health" which is very appreciable. We should advocate for the Older People in such a way which will help establish the rights of them.

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Salvacion Basiano
Country: Philippines
Job title: President of the Confederation of Older Perso

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