Introducing the IFA Post-Conference Education Webinar Series

Posted on January 9th, 2019 by Paula Colaso under Blog

In 2018 the IFA held its largest global conference to date, convening over 1200 delegates. However, there are many more people who wanted to participate and were unable. As such, it is with great excitement that the IFA announces a new Post-Conference Education Webinar Series featuring the most popular and emerging sub-themes within the framework of addressing inequalities, age-friendly environments, combating ageism and toward healthy ageing.

Throughout 2019 the IFA will host twelve webinars, divided into four learning programs representing the IFA2018/2020 Conference themes.

Combating Ageism is the first theme that the webinar series will address.  Discrimination against individuals based on their age has serious consequences on many aspects of an older person’s life, such as health, wellbeing, employment, housing and access to social and care systems.

Human Rights of Older Persons and Agenda 2030 is the first webinar in the series and will address key areas for implementation of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that ensures it fulfils its mandate for older persons.

The webinar is scheduled for Tuesday 29 January 2019, 12:00 – 1:00pm EST and will be presented by:

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Please contact Ms Hannah Girdler to be placed on the mailing list for further updates regarding the Post-Conference Webinar Series.

Addressing inequalities within a rapidly ageing global population

Posted on December 19th, 2018 by Paula Colaso under Blog

To address a rapidly ageing global population, governments, civil society and individuals have had to come together to work towards creating a world of healthy older people whose rights and choices are both protected and respected.

Organizations committed to advancing the rights of older people around the world have made tremendous strides, as demonstrated by the breadth and quality of work presented at the IFA 14th Global Conference on Ageing.  Advancements toward promoting healthy ageing, developing and maintaining age-friendly cities and communities, and new initiatives to combat ageism have all emerged in recent years and continue to improve the health and wellbeing of older people globally.

Yet, global inequalities persist that threaten these improvements.  Society often understates the fact that life experiences significantly impact, and at times jeopardize, the health and ability of older people to meet their basic needs.  Also, certain subpopulations of older people experience additional marginalization, which is known to further impact their lives.

In August 2018, the IFA in collaboration with the Government of Canada, hosted a pre-conference  Addressing Inequalities Summit that fostered discussions among participants interested in and committed to eliminating inequalities experienced by older people within marginalized subpopulations.  The summit explored the experiences of older women, older Indigenous people, older prisoners, older immigrants, older people living in rural and remote areas, older homeless people and older LGBTQ2 people.

Building on the new learnings gained during the event, a post-summit report was created that highlights the experiences of identified groups of older people, successful best practices and next steps for addressing inequalities experienced by marginalized subpopulations of older people.  The full report can be accessed here.

The themes and next steps identified within the Addressing Inequalities Summit report have the potential to be applied to all research impacting older people.  As the IFA and other organizations move into 2019, working towards promoting the rights of older people globally, it is critical that a conscious effort is made to ensure the diverse experiences of marginalized older people are included in policy and practice.

Free and equal across the life course?

Posted on December 10th, 2018 by Paula Colaso under Blog

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 70 years old today – Human Rights Day.  This document was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) on 10 December, 1948 and sets out the common standards of fundamental human rights to be universally protected, with 30 ‘articles’ spelling out specific rights.  Visit this interactive page to learn about each of these articles (including the rights to social security, health, education, and work).


The fight for further protections for older persons

While the Universal Declaration is an important tool, some demographic groups experience added discrimination and thus require extra protections to further ensure their rights are met, including older persons.  Some existing population-specific international human rights instruments include:

There is still no legally binding international human rights instrument that focuses specifically on older persons.

In 2010, the Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWG) was established to strengthen the protection of human rights of older people – the first official process for UN Member States, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and national human rights institutions (NHRIs) to examine how to do this better. Since then, nine sessions have been held where the OEWG examines existing international frameworks and identifies gaps and strategies for improvement.  During the 9th OEWG, some willingness to discuss the potential of a convention was expressed but still no concrete steps towards drafting an international instrument with implications for legislation.

OEWG meetings will now be held annually as part of the UN Calendar – a positive sign.  The upcoming 10th OEWG will be held on 15-18 April, 2019 at the UN Headquarters in New York (see below), where deliberations will continue with a specific focus on the rights to social security and education.   NGOs and NHRIs can submit inputs on these focus areas as well as the topics of autonomy and independence and long-term and palliative care (deadline 1 February 2019; see instructions here).

Moving forward with rights-based global development  

Civil society organizations, including the IFA, have pushed for governments to address the changing needs of ageing societies and led the charge for the first World Assembly on Ageing in 1982 in Vienna.  After this, the IFA emerged as an NGO that would become one of the strong voices for population ageing at the UN.

At the second World Assembly on Ageing, held in 2002 in Madrid, the IFA’s main UN representative, Helen Hamlin together with other IFA representatives informed the development and adoption of the UN Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA). This marked a turning point in how the world addresses the challenge of building a society for all ages.  Since then, the IFA has continued to advocate strongly for older persons to be recognized in development frameworks including the Sustainable Development Goals and the World Health Organization’s 13th General Programme of Work.

How can civil society continue to push forward so that the rights of older persons are promoted and protected?     

Let’s continue to #StandUp4HumanRights and call for change and commitment so that people can continue to maintain their rights as they get older.

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