Live From New York: IFA at the UN in January

IFA – Live from New York

Guest post by Ms. Frances Zainoeddin, IFA UN Representative, and Dr. Sandra Timmermann, IFA UN Representative and Editor of Live From New York.

Please e-mail Dr. Timmermann with any questions or comments.

Update on UN Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing  

In the last edition of Live from New York, the IFA UN team was gearing up for the United Nation’s Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWGA) December 12-15, 2016.  We are happy to report that the meeting resulted in a big step forward.  Delegates decided that, in July 2017, the OEWGA will meet to discuss possible elements for an international instrument to protect and promote the rights of older persons.  Six previous sessions have addressed ageing issues and concerns of older persons, with many panels and experts providing research and analysis.  The NGOs present felt that enough evidence had been presented over the past six years to warrant further discussion on the content of a convention, and pushed to move forward.

While delegates must tread lightly to avoid antagonizing governments unconvinced of the need for a human rights instrument, the Chair of the OEWGA will be soliciting suggestions for the first round of discussions in the coming months.  Issues suggested by the NGOs present include equality and non-discrimination; violence, neglect and abuse; and autonomy and independence.

NGOs at the national level should make every effort to lobby their governments to participate in the July discussions, and to suggest other main elements of a potential convention.

UN International Day of Older Persons

Each year, the United Nations holds the International Day of Older Persons (UNIDOP), a public event focused on aging issues.  The 2016 celebration took place on October 6, 2016, and was organized by the NGO Committee on Ageing in New York in partnership with the United Nations Focal Point on Ageing. The theme of the event was “Take a Stand Against Ageism,” and the keynote speaker was Ms. Ashton Applewhite, author of “This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism.” She spoke on confronting ageism, and an expert panel discussed combating ageism in different contexts.

The UNIDOP event explored and challenged negative stereotypes, including cultural and media representations of ageing and older persons.  It called for improved collection, analysis, and reporting of age-disaggregated data to better understand the experiences and needs of older persons. It also called for evidence-based interventions to empower and uphold the rights of all people as we age. The deliberations of the 2016 UNIDOP are available in this United Nations webcast.

The NGO Committee on Ageing, with IFA as an active member, is now planning the 2017 celebration.