By Ben Small
The United Nations has introduced a new mechanism to address the significant gaps in national and international statistics on ageing, paving the way for better disaggregated data that covers critical areas of older people's lives.
Announced last week at the United Nations Statistical Commission meeting in New York with strong support from member states in every region, the agreement established the Titchfield City Group on Ageing and Age-disaggregated Data.
Led by the UK's Office for National Statistics, the group brings together national statistical offices and other stakeholders to establish new standardised tools and methods than can be used globally to improve data on ageing. It will operate for five years, and is open to all national statistical offices that wish to take part.
"Data gaps prevent us from understanding the full picture of wellbeing in later life. By making older people invisible to policy makers, this continues to hold back much-needed advances in developing and implementing policies to realise the rights of older people," said Justin Derbyshire, HelpAge International's Chief Executive Officer.
"The establishment of the Titchfield Group is a vital step forward and is a turning point in how data on older people will be collected and used. We believe it will revolutionise the quality of data in years to come, and lead to a new evidence-based understanding of the nature of demographic change, and the needs of older people around the world."
HelpAge has been advocating to the international community for several years to address the serious gaps in data on ageing and older people, including through our Global AgeWatch programme.
The advent of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the pledge to "leave no one behind" provided a new opportunity to raise awareness of the profound gaps in our ability to monitor progress for older people. Now the group will be able to contribute to the ongoing work to monitor the SDGs through the development of a global indicator framework.
The first task of the Titchfield Group will be to come together for a technical seminar in the coming months where the work plan for the group can be agreed and technical work can begin.