HelpAge calls for recognition of ageing at the United Nations


By Anders Hylander

This week our Interim CEO, Silvia Stefanoni and Social Protection Adviser, Andrea McPherson, are attending and speaking at the meeting of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (OWG) at the United Nations in New York.

The OWG is the group of UN member states tasked to lead the process towards developing a replacement for the Millennium Development Goals when they expire in 2015. Ms Stefanoni and Ms McPherson will advocate for the next development framework to include people of all ages and to adequately prepare for the continued implications of rapid population ageing over the decades to come.

A grandmother and child in India A social protection floor is one of the best ways to ensure people of all ages can lead dignified and happy lives. (c) Kate Holt/HelpAge International

Leave no one behind

HelpAge believes that a new global development framework must "leave no one behind" by ensuring regular income and access to health services for people of all ages. This is to enable them to lead decent and secure lives. The framework can do this by having at it core social protection mechanisms, such as pensions, universal healthcare and employment.

We are also calling for greater attention to the increasing prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cancer, diabetes, mental health and hypertension. A future development framework must generate a rise in prevention programmes, as well as availability and affordability of medication.

Over the past few weeks, Silvia Stefanoni has been making these calls in the international media, such as on Vatican Radio and in the Huffington Post. She will also be making them at the OWG meetings this week.

Eradicating poverty in an ageing world

As part of our post-MDG or post-2015 process campaign and in preparation for the OWG meeting, HelpAge International and number of our close partners have put forward a number of recommendations for the forthcoming key report of the UN Secretary General.

The report will be launched in August this year and will frame the OWG's work over the next couple of years. We believe it is absolutely crucial for population ageing to be adequately included in this report.

Our recommendations

  • Include specific wording on ageing and older people in the Secretary General's report
  • Include ‘age' specifically when referring to inequality and social groups that have been marginalised - this is especially important for data disaggregation as the High-level Panel report was inconsistent on this point,
  • Recognise the oversight of the MDG process and ensure there are specific reference to older age in the goals, targets and indicators in the next development framework.

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