Live from New York: IFA at the UN in April

Posted on April 10th, 2017 by Kate MacRae under Blog, News

IFA – Live from New York

Post by Dr. Sandra Timmermann, IFA UN Representative and Editor of Live From New York.

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


The 61st Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61) convened at the United Nations from March 13-24 with over 6,000 women from around the globe attending. The theme was “Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Changing World of Work.” The UN team advocated throughout the two weeks with a prepared handout to share at parallel and side events that addressed older women’s issues. There was tangible progress made in getting references to “ALL women,” “women of all ages,” and “throughout the life cycle” infused in 45 agreed conclusions of CSW61.

For the first time in the history of CSW, the empowerment of indigenous women was covered substantially as an emerging issue/focus area. Given the long history of efforts to place indigenous people’s issues on the agenda, it was an achievement.

The report on CSW deliberations included the following conclusion: “The Commission recognizes that the sharing of family responsibilities creates an enabling family environment for women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work, which contributes to development, that women and men make a great contribution to the welfare of their family, and that in particular women’s contribution to the home, including unpaid care and domestic work, which is still not adequately recognized, generates human and social capital essential for social and economic development.”

The theme for CSW62 in 2018 is “Challenges and Opportunities in Achieving Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Rural Women and Girls.”


Preparations have begun for the eighth session of the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing which will meet from 5 to 7 July 2017 to continue discussions on the protection of rights of older persons. Member States, national human rights institutions, and non-governmental organizations have been asked to comment on two specific issues: (1) equality and non-discrimination; and (2) neglect, violence, and abuse. Deadline is 5 May 2017. Learn more here.


Cynthia Stuen, one of IFA’s UN Representatives, delivered a statement to the United Nations Commission on Population and Development on 6 April, on behalf of the Stakeholder Group on Ageing, of which IFA is a member.  The statement drew specific attention to issues affecting older persons around the world: income security, health and care, and violence and abuse.  It was stressed that there was an urgent need for adequate data in order to ensure measurement of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Click here to read the full statement.


IFA UN Representative Cynthia Stuen will be receiving the prestigious Maggie Kuhn Award for her exceptional dedication and work in ageing and social services, nonprofit leadership and public advocacy, on 11 May 2017. Helen Hamlin, long-time UN Representative and team leader, received the award several years ago. To find out more about the Maggie Kuhn Awards, click here.

Food a basic need life necessity?

Posted on March 17th, 2017 by Kate MacRae under News

The United States President, Mr. Donald Trump is coming under fire for proposing a budget that includes the complete elimination of federal funding for the Meals on Wheels Program (MOWP). Meals on wheels services provide food to the elderly, poor, veterans, disabled and others who often can’t leave their homes.

Reported in the New York Times this week, under the proposed budget, the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s entire $3 billion Community Development Block Grant program would be eliminated. The grants fund services for low-income Americans ― including grants for Meals on Wheels programs. While it is acknowledged that many meals on wheels service providers receive funding from a range of sources, there is no doubt that providers who rely on federal funding will be forced to make cuts of their own.

“Increasing the vulnerability of older people, many of whom have helped shaped a nation, their community and family is unacceptable if these budget cuts are true. Where is the humanity in society if we take away from those who have not”, said Dr. Jane Barratt, Secretary General of the International Federation on Ageing (IFA).

Meals on Wheels America have also reacted to the news with a statement on the budget blueprint also known as the “skinny budget,” sent to Congress by the President. This blueprint focuses on discretionary spending levels for Fiscal Year 2018, and makes investments in defense programs, paid for through deep cuts to non-defense discretionary (NDD) programs, such as Meals on Wheels.

“The problem with a skinny budget is it is lean on details. So, while we don’t know the exact impact yet, cuts of any kind to these highly successful and leveraged programs would be a devastating blow to our ability to provide much-needed care for millions of vulnerable seniors in America, which in turn saves billions of dollars in reduced healthcare expenses” said Ellie Hollander, President and CEO Meals on Wheels America.


Live from New York: IFA at the UN in March

Posted on March 10th, 2017 by Kate MacRae under Blog, News

IFA – Live from New York

Post by Dr. Sandra Timmermann, IFA UN Representative and Editor of Live From New York.

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

IFA Proposes a Life Course Approach to Eradicating Poverty at UN Side Event  

Dr. Jane Barratt, at an IFA sponsored side event at the 55th United Nations Assembly of the Commission for Social Development, challenged the audience to think more broadly about eradicating poverty among older people. Instead of focusing solely on the ageing population, she said, we should be thinking about the life course approach, and include people of all ages in our efforts.

The event, held on February 3, 2017, was developed by IFA’s UN Representatives and hosted by the permanent Mission of the Argentine Republic. Mr. Mateo Estreme, Deputy Permanent Representative of Argentina, noted that global poverty statistics do not reflect age, and pointed again for the pressing need to collect data on the ageing population.

One way to alleviate poverty is through a universal social pension system. Justin Derbyshire, Interim CEO at HelpAge International, one of the event’s co-sponsors, spoke about the increase in and positive impact of Social Pensions, particularly in poorer countries like Bangladesh, Ghana, Myanmar and Zanzibar.

Other speakers included Rosemary Lane, UN Focal Point on Ageing; Nora Moran, International Federation of Settlement Houses; and Virginia Duarte Walsh, IFA.

Economic Empowerment Theme of Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61)

CSW61 convenes March 13–24, 2017 when once again over 6,000 women advocates, policy makers and NGOs from all over the world come together at the UN. The priority theme this year is Women’s Economic Empowerment and the Changing World of Work. In addition to the general sessions, hundreds of side events are planned at the UN and in offices of NGOs, focusing on a range of topics including equal pay platforms, human rights of refugee women, women in politics, the reconciliation of work and family life, securing land rights, and preventing violence against women.  IFA UN Representatives will be at the general dessions and at selected side events to make sure that the needs and resources of older women are not forgotten.

To see what is happening at CSW61, visit

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