Post-2015 and Sustainable Development Goals
… As the international community embarks on an effort to articulate the post-2015 development agenda, it is clear that the issue of population ageing should be fully addressed as part of this process.
Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations in HelpAge and UNFPA's "Ageing in the 21st Century" report.
The world is ageing at an unprecedented rate. Today, more people are over the age of 60 than children under five. By 2030, people aged over 60 will outnumber children under the age of 10. The greatest numbers of older people, and the biggest increases of population ageing, are in lower- and middle-income countries.
Older age is a time of making significant contributions to society, communities and families. It can also be a time of increased illness, poverty, social isolation, discrimination and human rights abuses.
Why is this important?
The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were agreed by UN Member States in 2000 as a 15 year plan to address major development issues, including halving extreme poverty and halting the spread of HIV and AIDS. The MDGs have had a major impact on international and national development policies.
However, the targets and indicators to measure their success do not include older people's poverty and development needs. The focus is on reproductive health and children’s education and health. Despite the goal to halve poverty by 2015, older people are often not included in MDG related development programmes.
We believe that a post-2015 development framework that does not explicitly address the rights, needs and aspirations of older people cannot be considered legitimate or sustainable; nor will it be effective at tackling poverty.
What do we want beyond 2015?
The following fundamentals must be in place to ensure the global development framework beyond 2015 fully takes into account all age groups:
- A human rights-based approach: This will enable people to live with dignity and free from discrimination at all stages of their life.
- Data collection: This is key to making decisions about how to support people at any age. Disaggregated data (by age, disability and gender) must, therefore, be the bedrock for any new framework.
- Healthy life expectancy: Measuring life expectancy from birth and from the age of 60 will set a clear international expectation that the health needs of children, adults and older people need to be addressed.
- Equality and non-discrimination: A cross-cutting goal on equality and non-discrimination – with specific targets relevant for older people – would help ensure that all people are included across all goals and targets.
- Social protection floors: Tackling poverty requires action at all levels of society. There is agreement that guaranteeing a minimum level of healthcare and basic income security – or social protection floors – are both necessary and possible for reducing poverty and inequality for people of all ages.
Our successes so far:
- We successfully influenced the UN High-level Panel’s meetings in London, Monrovia and Bali; with the outcome reports from these meetings picking up well on our messages and links being made to key panel members.
- The first UN report on national and thematic consultations includes older people, ageing, human rights, social protection and data disaggregation by gender and age.
- We have ensured older people and population ageing are in the final reports on inequalities, health and population dynamics.
- We have supported the inclusion of older people in the global, UN-led MyWorld survey. So far, more than 25,000 people over 55 have replied to the survey.
- We have ensured older people’s inclusion in the DFID funded global Participate research programme through our work with disability groups, the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and the Overseas Development Institute (ODI).
- We will make sure older people are included in the national (20+ countries), regional and global deliberations from now and until 2015.
- We will influence the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals in targeted countries and ensure that governments include older people in the process.
- We will continue to reach out to the world’s poor older people and ensure their voices are heard in the post-2015 process by supporting UN’s MyWorld programme.
- We will further develop our own targets and indicators for the post-2015 process by September 2013.
- We will continue to build alliances with other groups to strengthen our influence. These include groups on issues such as disability, health, social protection and women groups.
- We will continue working with UN agencies such as UNDP, UNFPA, UNICEF and UNDESA to maximise the impact.