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Live from New York: The IFA at the UN in January 2018

IFA – Live from New York

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

Please contact Dr Timmermann with any questions or comments.

A Successful 2017 and a Busy 2018 Ahead

The IFA through its representatives at the United Nations (UN) in New York continues to call attention to the challenges and opportunities presented by the ageing of the global population and to advocate for policy change.

Many at the UN are unaware of the issues so familiar to those of us in the field of aging such as elder abuse and neglect, the plight of older immigrants, age discrimination in the workplace, and other human rights violations against a vulnerable group. Additionally, they often do not consider the talents, experience and “spunk” of older people who have so much to contribute to their communities and to society but are often denied recognition because of age.

The IFA UN representatives in New York are vigilant, through their participation in UN meetings and events and their interface with UN Member States, in making sure that the needs, concerns and contributions of older persons are recognized and incorporated into policy and practice.

IFA in Action at the United Nations in 2017

Advocating for the Human Rights of Older Persons

  • IFA UN Representatives have alongside many other dedicated members of civil society been instrumental in promoting a Convention for the Human Rights of Older Persons. This is a long-range goal, but many activities throughout the year have focused on gaining support from UN Member States and other NGOs to move the agenda forward. IFA team members were visible and influential at the Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing held in July.
  • IFA played a leadership role in supporting ageing issues at the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe Ministerial Conference on Ageing in Lisbon in September. The Conference was convened to consider the third review and appraisal of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing submitted by UNECE Member States. Thanks to the efforts of IFA and other advocates, the Conference agreed on a Declaration entitled A Sustainable Society for All Ages: Realizing the Potential of Living Longer.

Sponsoring Important Events to Support Ageing Interests

  • One way that IFA and other NGOs can make an impact is to sponsor events at the UN in conjunction with important assemblies. This past year, IFA sponsored or was involved in a number of them.
    • IFA co-sponsored an event (February 2) on the occasion of the 55th Commission for Social Development entitled Eradicating Poverty as A Human Right for All. It was organized by the Permanent Mission of Argentina. Other co-sponsors included HelpAge International and the Stakeholder Group on Ageing,
    • The UN Department of Public Information selected IFA to organize and sponsor a briefing (June 1) on The Global Ageing Population: Impact and Implementation of Agenda 2030.
    • IFA played a prominent role on the planning committee and as speakers at an event sponsored by the UN Department of Public Information (August 1), Intergenerational Dialogues on the Sustainable Development Goals.

Joining Together with Other NGOs

  • UN Representatives continued to provide leadership to the NGO Committee on Ageing/New York, including serving on the Executive Committee and planning and chairing the International Day of Older Persons celebrated on October 5.
  • IFA is a member of the Stakeholder Group on Ageing and joined other NGOs in visits to UN Missions to inform Ambassadors and staff about the needs of older persons with the goal of creating greater awareness and furthering the support of a Convention.

What’s In Store for IFA at the UN in 2018?

2018 promises to be another busy year. To kick the year off, the IFA will be well represented and participating in the 56th Session of the Commission for Social Development (January 29 – February 7). IFA is one of the NGOs selected to read a statement on the floor. The side event, Ageism—A Prejudice Against Our Future Selves is organized by the IFA in partnership with UNDESA.

IFA representatives will also be active participants at the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (March 12 – 23), making sure that ageing issues are brought forward.

IFA will again be actively participating in the 9th session of the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing (July 23 – 26) when it will be focusing on autonomy and independence; and long-term care and palliative care, in the context of its discussion on a convention to protect the rights of older persons.

We are also pleased to announce that James O’Neal has joined the UN Team. James has a wealth of experience with some 20 years with the Visiting Nurse Service of New York and Beth Abraham Health Services, providing community healthcare education and caregiving to older adults in the five boroughs of New York City and as a member and Past President of the State Society on Aging of New York. James will be chairing the 2018 International Day of Older Persons, to be held in October.

Stay tuned as we keep you informed of UN activities, programs and policies in 2018!

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