Global population ageing key topic at UN meeting


By Anders Hylander

The Fifty-Second Session of the Commission for Social Development (CSocD) opened yesterday at the United Nations (UN) in New York. The goal of the CSocD is to advise the Economic and Social Council and Governments on a range of social policy issues from a development perspective.

The commission’s priority theme this year is "promoting empowerment of people in achieving poverty eradication, social integration and full employment and decent work for all". An older man helps his grandson to read. We're at the Commission for Social Development to discuss a post-2015 framework that is inclusive of all, regardless of age. (c) U Myo Thame/HelpAge International

A HelpAge delegation is present to take part in the discussions and ensure older people's issues are included. In his opening statement, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Mr Wu Hongbo, said regarding ageing:

“Our world is witnessing the unprecedented global phenomenon of population ageing. Yet critical issues related to the social and economic integration of older persons have not received the policy attention they deserve.”

Some of our aims included reviewing the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing and discussing how ageing can be addressed by the post-2015 agenda.

Presenting the Global AgeWatch Index

On 13 February, Professor Asghar Zaidi from the University of Southampton will be presenting our Global AgeWatch Index at an event hosted by the UNDP.

The event will explore evidence generated by the Index and how it supports our goal to ensure the post-2015 agenda "leaves no one behind".

Professor Zaidi, who was the main architect behind the Global AgeWatch Index, will be joined at the meeting by representatives from Member States, UN agencies and civil society, including HelpAge CEO, Toby Porter.

The Global AgeWatch Index 2013 report highlights the connection between social policy and the wellbeing of older people, as well as the huge gaps in international data sets which routinely exclude measuring levels of poverty, HIV prevalence and many others in people over the age of 49.

What else is on at the CSocD?

This Friday, at a side-event organised by the Government of Finland, the National Institute for Health and Welfare, Finland and HelpAge, we will be discussing how to include ageing and older people in the post-2015 sustainable development agenda.

One of our Affiliates in the USA, AARP, will hold a series of briefings in collaboration with the United Nations Focal Point on Ageing and the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA). The briefings aim to discuss the opportunities and challenges associated with global ageing.

Another Affiliate, HelpAge USA, will also be talking about our advocacy and policy influencing work towards a convention on the rights of older people across Europe, Africa and Asia at a side event organised by the Global Alliance for the Rights of Older People. HelpAge International has been member of the Global Alliance since it was started.

We have submitted a written statement (below) with seven other NGOs calling on Member States to engage constructively in the debate around the need for a new convention and to include more older people and civil society representatives in discussions about their rights.

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