STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY AMBASSADOR RIYAD MANSOUR (STATE OF PALESTINE), CHAIR OF THE GROUP OF 77, BEFORE THE TENTH SESSION OF THE OPEN-ENDED WORKING GROUP ON AGEING (New York, 15 April 2019)
1. I have the honor to deliver this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China.
2. The G77 and China welcomes the holding of the tenth meeting of the Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing. We extend congratulations and best wishes to the Chair and express our thanks to him and the other Bureau members for all the work they have done to prepare for this session.
3. The Group of 77 and China would also like to thank the UN DESA and OHCHR for their analytical papers and compilations which will surely add value to our deliberations and discussions.
4. The Group would also like to reiterate its appreciation for the work of the Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons. We stress the importance of close coordination between the work of the Independent Expert and the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing.
5. The Group reiterates its support for the Madrid Plan of Action and the Political Declaration adopted at the Second World Assembly. At the time of adoption, the international community committed to respond and tackle population and ageing in the twenty-first century and to create a "society for all ages." Our Group recommits to doing this and to pursuing policies that would enable people everywhere to age with security and dignity.
6. The Group of 77 and China recognizes the essential contributions that older persons make to the development of our societies. However, despite significant progress in the development and implementation of policies and programs focusing on older persons in many countries of the world, there is still much work to be done in mainstreaming ageing into relevant policy domains as well as in promoting and protecting their human rights.
7. In this regard, the Group of 77 expresses its concern that many challenges facing older persons still persist. Some of these challenges include access to health services and other health issues, including the right to previous and informed consent and access to palliative care. High rates of abuse, violence, neglect and abandonment are also among the most frequent scourges faced by older persons.
8. Therefore, the Group of 77 and China acknowledges the importance of exploring ways to increase the visibility of and attention to the specific challenges faced by older persons in the global development policy framework, including identifying possible gaps and how best to address them.
9. The Group stresses that population ageing can no longer be ignored. Globally, the proportion of older persons is growing at a faster rate than the general population. Today, persons 60 years or older number 962 million, which is more than twice as large as in 1980. This fact makes it even more clear that increased commitment and efforts are needed and required from governments, civil society and other key players to fully implement the goals and objectives adopted in the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing.
10. In this regard, the Group believes that as populations grow older, in addition to pursuing policies to mainstream older persons in development, advancing health and well-being into old age, and ensuring enabling and supportive environments, there must also be concrete measures taken to shift changes in attitudes, policies and practices. Such measures will help to ensure that older persons are not viewed simply as welfare beneficiaries, but as active participants in the development programs and projects, including the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
11. In this regard, the Group calls for increased efforts to eliminate structural and institutional discrimination, including prejudices, ageism and the stereotypical image of old age associated with disability and unproductivity, which are some of the main causes for exclusion of older persons and denial of their human rights.
12. Furthermore, the Group believes that in order to enhance their role and empower older persons, it is essential that Governments design innovative policies and public services that are especially targeted to older persons, including policies addressing education, housing, employment, health care, infrastructure and social protection among other aspects related to the fulfillment of their basic human rights.
13. The international community must work together to ensure the well-being of older persons, while addressing issues related to their social integration and the enjoyment of their human rights, and fostering intergenerational partnerships and solidarity.
14. The Group calls upon the Secretary-General to continue supporting the open-ended group, including by providing all necessary measures to ensure substantive and fruitful sessions.
15. Lastly, the G77 and China reiterates its firm support to the open-ended working group and emphasizes the need to contribute to its work to enable it to fulfill its existing mandate to strengthen the protection of the human rights of older persons. I thank you for your attention.