Sustainable development agenda must respond to the global phenomenon of population ageing

When the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are adopted at this year's UN General Assembly, governments must respond to the global phenomenon of population ageing, and support women and men as they age.

"This summit is not business as usual," said Toby Porter, Chief Executive of HelpAge International.

"The Global Goals to be agreed this coming week give us an unparalleled opportunity to bring older people fully into the picture. We can, and must ensure that the international and national development agenda dominating the next 15 years recognises and responds to the global phenomenon of population ageing, supporting women and men as they age."

At the UN Summit, Heads of State and their Governments are expected to adopt and commit to the 17 SDGs and 169 targets making up the global community's plan to end extreme poverty, tackle inequality and reduce the impact of climate change by 2030, replacing the Millennium Development Goals.

"The Sustainable Development agenda pledges to 'leave no one behind', and older age or older people are included directly or by implication in 15 of the 17 Global Goals and their targets with key phrases including 'all ages', ‘older persons' and ‘lifelong'. The language of 'action for all ages', the life course and intergenerational approaches seem finally to have brought about an appreciation that women and men share the same human rights as they age.

"Goal 3 in particular: ‘Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages', could be a huge breakthrough, signalling a potential beginning of the end to the age discrimination within health systems that deny older people around the world their basic human right to enjoy the highest attainable standard of health and wellbeing as they age."

Among the 24 civil society representatives speaking over the three day event, Sylvia Beales from HelpAge International, representing the Stakeholder Group on Ageing, or 800 million older women and men, will address one of five General Assembly plenaries on Friday (25 September).

"The inclusion of older person issues in the SDGs is a testament to the advocacy work of our older activists," said Erica Dhar, Senior Advisor AARP.

"This could not have been done without their resilience and diligence. We owe them a debt of gratitude. Now, we have to get on with the business ahead, the work is not over. It has just begun."

-ENDS-

Notes to Editors:

AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEWS: Sylvia Beales, Head of Strategic Alliances at HelpAge International, and Erica Dhar, Senior Advisor at the AARP Office of International Affairs. They the are joint Co-Chairs of the Stakeholder Group on Ageing. Both will be at the UN Secretariat in New York.

The Stakeholder Group on Ageing is an alliance of the NGO Committee on Ageing in New York[1] and the HelpAge International Global Network[2]. Its primary goal has been to make issues of ageing visible and to embed concerns of older persons within the post-2015 Development Agenda.

1 AARP, American Psychological Association, Gray Panthers, Guild of Service, HelpAge USA, International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics, International Council on Social Welfare, International Federation on Aging, International Longevity Centers, and International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse.
2[1] 117 affiliated organisations in 70 countries

International Media Contacts:

Sarah Gillam, Media Relations Manager, London, tel: +44 (0) 20 7148 7623; mobile: + 44 (0) 7713 567 624; email: sarah.gillam@helpage.org; Skype: sarah.gillam.hai (HelpAge)

Ed Knight, Media Intern, London, tel: + 44 (0) 20 7148 7606; email: edward.knight@helpage.org; Skype: edward.knight.hai

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