Open letter from the HelpAge European network to EU ministers

OPEN LETTER FROM THE HELPAGE EUROPEAN NETWORK TO:

  • EU MINISTERS FOR DEVELOPMENT AND FOREIGN AFFAIRS
  • ANDRIS PIEBALGS, EUROPEAN COMMISSIONER FOR DEVELOPMENT
  • CATHERINE ASHTON, HIGH REPRESENTATIVE FOR FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND SECURITY POLICY
  • HERMAN VAN ROMPUY, PRESIDENT OF THE EUROPEAN COUNCIL

As you continue to develop your thinking at the EU level on a global post-2015 framework ahead of the UN Special Event in September 2013, we write collectively as the network of independent HelpAge Affiliates in Europe to call on you to ensure that a future framework reflects demographic realities in the world and is fully inclusive of people of all ages.

We welcome the European Commission communication ‘A Decent Life For All: Ending poverty and giving the world a sustainable future’, which we regard as a valuable contribution to this debate. In particular, we applaud the recognition of rapidly ageing populations in developing countries. We fully agree that this trend has significant implications for social protection and health systems globally and these issues cannot afford to be ignored in a post-2015 framework.

Increasing longevity is a triumph of development and can present many positive prospects for young people. Ageing should therefore not be viewed as a threat, but as an opportunity for all. Too often, we encounter the misperception that the fast-growing numbers of older people around the world are passive, dependent recipients of welfare. Older people must be recognised as rightsholders, workers and active contributors to development. The dynamic roles that older people play in their families and communities must be acknowledged and supported if development efforts are to be inclusive, sustainable and successful in breaking the intergenerational cycle of poverty.

As EU decision-makers we urge you in your forthcoming discussions to collectively work to ensure that a post-2015 framework enables people of all ages to look forward to longer lives that are healthier and free from poverty by:

  • Supporting a human rights-based framework that will be most effective in addressing the needs and aspirations of older people if it is rights-based. Human rights can help all people to live with dignity and free from discrimination at all stages of their lives.
  • Ensuring commitments to full data disaggregation by age, gender and other factors in order to more effectively monitor progress, provide greater accountability and promote more inclusive approaches that tackle inequalities across and within countries.
  • Supporting the implementation of national social protection floors. Guaranteeing a minimum level of healthcare and basic income security is both necessary and possible for reducing poverty and inequality. This would help ensure that older people receive the support they need and are able to contribute more effectively to alleviating poverty.

The HelpAge network will continue to actively engage in this important debate at national, European and global levels. In Europe, we draw your attention to the fact that we are supported in this work by a growing number of thousands of younger and older activists committed to raising awareness of these issues and campaigning for the rights of older people world-wide.

We believe that the EU as the world’s biggest donor of aid and a key global player has a crucial role to play in this important global process. We wish you fruitful negotiations on a post-2015 framework over the coming weeks and months and look forward to further dialogue with you on these issues.

This letter has the full support of the following HelpAge International EU Affiliates and partners:

  • Age Action Ireland
  • Age International (UK)
  • Cordaid (Netherlands)
  • HelpAge Germany
  • DaneAge (Denmark)
  • HelpAge Spain
  • KwaWazee Switzerland
  • PRO Global (Sweden)
  • Slovene Philanthropy
  • World Granny (Netherlands)
  • IVOT 90 (Czech Republic)

ENDS

Contact: Ellen Graham - EU Policy Adviser - HelpAge International EU office - Tel+32 2 740 2711 - egraham@helpage.org.

Download the full letter (390kb).

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