January launch of action/2015


15 January launch of Action/2015 - a global citizens movement demanding ambitious agreements on poverty, inequality and climate change in 2015

HelpAge International is joining action/2015, a global citizen's movement, to call on leaders to raise their ambitions for a fairer world for all ages in 2015; the year that two United Nations summits can change the course of history.

Today and throughout 2015, HelpAge International is encouraging young and old to come together to take action and challenge inequality and discrimination.

"I find myself without a pension after 20 years working in the textile industry and I have to keep working in difficult conditions to earn a living," said Jean Charles Felix, a 70 year old tailor from Haiti.

"Older men and women like me should say ‘No to age discrimination'," he said.

With the UN Climate Change Conference and the finalisation of the post 2015 Sustainable Development goals within a few months of each other, 2015 is the year to meet the challenges of inequality and injustice.

"Longer lifetimes will have consequences for young people now, who by 2050 will be part of the largest group of older people in history," said Toby Porter, Chief Executive of HelpAge International.

"No future development goals can be legitimate unless they include people of all ages," he said.

"Different generations need to work together - not view each other's concerns as competition. The launch of action/2015 is an opportunity to show this. By raising our voices today we aim to make a difference for future generations," he added.

HelpAge in Kenya is partnering with the Organisation of African Youth to mobilise both older and younger musicians and artists to develop a song for action/2015, highlighting issues affecting older people. The song will be launched at a public event, supported by face to face meetings with decision makers from the Ministry of Planning, Social Affairs and Health.

HelpAge Bangladesh, in partnership with World Vision Bangladesh, will be creating a human chain of 2000 activists, in front of the Parliament to acknowledge the rights of older people.

Action/2015 is a year-long campaign demanding that leaders deliver on fighting poverty, inequality and climate change. It is one of the biggest campaigns ever to launch and aims to make sure the outcomes of the 2015 UN summits are shaped by the people.

Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Prize Winner campaigning for the right to education, who has backed the action/2015 movement said;

"2015 must be the year the world wakes up and delivers a safer, more just future for children and young people. We all must play our part in ensuring this is the case. Do not let this opportunity go to waste."

"In 2015, I hope to see older people respected and listened to," said Elizabeth Marie, an activist with the Muthande Society for the Aged from South Africa. "I want society to remember that older people have a lot to offer because of their experience and wisdom," she said.

Tilahun Abebe, an activist from Ethiopia said, "In 2015 I want my government to give older people a stronger voice and acknowledge them as an important part of the family."

Laila Akchurina Muhamedovna, an activist from Kyrgyzstan said: "Support and appropriate health care for our older people must be held up as an example to our younger generations."

Through action/2015, millions of people will listen to the promises made and will hold leaders accountable for what they do in the years to come. Both young and old are calling for age-specific targets to ensure they are not missed out in development issues.

Sara García, an activist from Argentina said: "I'm an activist for older people's rights because my parents lived to 90 and 95 years of age but did not enjoy the later years of their life.

"In the city where I live, assaults on older people are very common and we are afraid to go outside. I want this to change in 2015. I want the city to become a friendly place for everyone."

HelpAge International and the action/2015 movement are demanding a better future for people and the planet in 2015! Join the worldwide launch today and get involved on social media by tweeting #action2015


Notes to Editors:

Available for interview:
Toby Porter, Chief Executive of HelpAge International
Elizabeth Marie Nkame, Age Demands Action Activist in South Africa, speaks English
Tilahun Abebe, Age Demands Action Activist in Ethiopia, speaks English
Laila Akchurina Muhamedovna, Age Demands Action Activist in Kyrgyzstan, speaks Russian

Action/2015: a global campaign made up of over a thousand organisations, coalitions and partnerships in 120 countries; wants to see concrete action to tackle the root causes of injustice, inequality and poverty in 2015. The movement will focus on public campaigns to compel substantive political action this year. It sees the importance of the UN Climate Change conference and the finalisation of the post 2015 sustainable development agenda which culminate within months of each other.

HelpAge International Action/2015 campaigns around the world:

Mexico: Using older peoples' testimonies and information about poverty and old age in their national coalition campaign.

Bolivia: HelpAge Bolivia has secured support from Erika Andia, a Bolivian actress and a star of the film "Who Killed the White Llama" and several other productions. Erika supports the Action/2015 campaign by demanding universal access to water within the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Kenya: HelpAge International in Kenya is partnering with Organisation of African Youth to promote the rights, capabilities and aspirations of the youth and older people in Africa. On 15 January, they will mobilise 3 well known older Kenyan musicians to partner with 3 young artists to develop a campaign song that will be launched in a public event.

Ethiopia: The Ethiopian Elderly and Pensioners National Association (EEPNA), a member of the HelpAge Global Network, is planning to form a coalition comprising organisations working on older people, people with living disabilities as well as the youth. For the launch, they plan to bring together younger and older community members for sharing information and experiences on inclusive development, and distribute material promoting the messaging of ‘leave no one behind' in the SDG framework.

Malawi: HelpAge partner in Congoma (Malawi) called the Malawi NGO network, are planning to have a community event on 16 January to raise awareness of older peoples' demands. They are also planning an intergenerational event with 15, 30 and 45 year olds to look at the future they want - 45 year olds will be 60 at the end of SDG's shelf life.

Pakistan: HelpAge International with collaboration from the Awaz Foundation will take part in a sensitization on ageing workshop planned for 15 January.

Bangladesh: HelpAge International Bangladesh is joining forces with World Vision Bangladesh and will take part in several roundtables, a talk show and a dialogue in partnership with media and NGO's; mobilising 4 million people across the country and create nationwide positive noise showing people's demands for a better future.

Age Demands Action:
HelpAge International mobilises activists through its global Age Demands Action campaign. This grassroots campaign, now in its seventh year, is calling for a UN convention on the rights of older people. With a combination of political influencing, public awareness and petition signatures, older people are progressing towards a new convention. So far over 150,000 people have joined the campaign. This year and for the launch, these activists are using their experience with ADA to join action/2015.

Sign the ADA petition for a new UN convention on the rights of older people:
Older people have the right to protection from all forms of violence, abuse and discrimination. However, the human rights obligation on governments to protect people from elder abuse is not explicitly articulated in existing international human rights law. The adoption of universal standards within a new UN convention on the rights of older people would provide every government with guidance on how to improve their domestic legislation and practice, including around elder abuse.

About HelpAge International:
HelpAge International helps older people claim their rights, challenge discrimination and overcome poverty, so that they can lead dignified, secure, active and healthy lives. Our work is strengthened through our global network of like-minded organisations - the only one of its kind in the world.

Contact: Beth Howgate at HelpAge International's office in London on +44 (0) 20 7148 7606.

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