By Beth Howgate
HelpAge campaigners met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and his Special Advisor on Post-2015 Development Planning Amina J Mohammed during the Third International Conference on Financing for Development (FFD3) to promote inclusive development for people of all ages.
(c) HelpAge International
"Over the last few days we've met ministers, shaken Ban Ki-moon's hand and told the world about the importance of inclusive development," said 72-year-old Ethiopian campaigner Yeshiemebet Negash.
"It has been amazing to be part of the action/2015 campaign."
The conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia was the latest of the four UN organised gatherings in 2015 that will provide the framework for the post-2015 global development agenda.
Ensuring the inclusion of older people's needs
Older and younger campaigners joined with the coalition campaign action/2015 to ensure decision makers have an understanding of the importance of the months ahead.
The HelpAge delegation was delighted to meet with Amina J Mohammed and discuss with her how older people can have a voice in development processes to ensure plans are put in place to address their rights and needs.
"We are excited that older people have met face to face with those directly involved with the post-2015 process as this means their presence is noted," said Sylvia Beales, Head of Strategic Alliances at HelpAge International.
The incorporation of issues of ageing in the outcome document to FFD3, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, can be considered a step forward, but there is still more to be done in the lead up to the UN General Assembly in September.
"It is really positive to see references to older people, a commitment to social protection measures, including a basic pension, and a commitment to improve data disaggregated by age in the framework outcome. The priority now is to make sure that this is translated into real change on the ground," said Beales.
Not only were older campaigners able to meet Ban Ki-moon and Amina J Mohammed with campaigners from various groups, but world record-breaking Ethiopian runner Haile Gebreselassie joined them to support the mission of leaving no one behind.
Gebreselassie posed with campaigners for "People's Currency" photos and the abundance of action/2015 T-shirts filling the halls of the conference meant the campaign could not be missed.
So far this year 24 million actions have already taken place for a stronger people and planet with action/2015.
"For us this conference is the beginning not the end - we must continue campaigning until leaders understand what we want," said Negash.
Although the world's leaders may not have been as ambitious as they could have been in Ethiopia, it only means our job must continue.
"The meetings older and younger campaigners have been part of so far will spur on our collective will to advance the cause, visibility of and response to people of all ages in future development goals," said Beales.