9 July 2019
ILC Global Alliance joined the Stakeholder Group of Ageing (SGA) which hosted a side event titled “Confronting ageism and empowering older persons “ on July 9, 2019 at the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, UN, New York.
The purpose of the event was to put together experts to examine “how ageism and discrimination contribute to growing inequality, and how legal and policy frameworks are necessary for addressing older people’s exclusion.” It explored “the potential for positive impact for individuals, societies and economies if older people are empowered, ageism is combatted, and a new understanding of ageing is embedded across all generations.”
Ms. Anal Abou Rafeh, Chief of Programme on Ageing, UNDESA, gave a welcome speech. Mr. Paul Ladd, Director of UNRISD, moderated the panel which featured a wide range of international experts from South America, Africa, Europe and other regions:
- Ambassador Martin Garcia Moritan, Permanent Representative of Argentina to the United Nations
- Nasly Bernal Prada, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Chile to the United Nations
- Ashton Applewhite, Anti-ageism activist, author of This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism
- Elie Mugabowishema, Executive Director and founder of NSINDAGIZA in Rwanda
- Karoline Schmid, Chief of the Fertility and Family Planning Section of the UNDESA Population Division
- Moana Genevey, Equinet, European Network of Equality Bodies
During the Q&A session, issues were raised of the right to lifelong learning, the exclusion of older persons by states and the need to address the disabilities that come alongside of ageing which heighten the burden of an older person.
Throughout the event, there was an emphasis on the benefits of political, social and economic development that can occur when older persons are given a voice and listened to. However the discussants portrayed the dangers of the current system of ignorance and exclusion of older persons by society and policy makers, and the need for a human rights based approach in protecting the rights and welfare of older persons. Ms. Ashton Applewhite put it “Everyone is old or future old,” and asserted that older persons’ rights are human rights, and they must be treated as such.
In her closing remark, Ms. Erica Dhar, co-chair of the SGA, thanked the panelists and audience for the hugely successful event. She stressed that member states must be aware that unless they address the exclusion of the elderly, they will be leaving a large and growing group behind, and it will inhibit them from achieving the 2030 Agenda. Quoting the Office of the Human Rights Commissioner, Ms. Dhar also iterated “development is an issue of rights, and therefore the 2030 agenda is a universal development agenda steeped in human rights. “
Author: Naiara Osako, student volunteer for the ILC Global Alliance, Ltd.
Photo caption: Anti-ageism and author, Ms. Ashton Applewhite giving a talk at the side event.
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