STATEMENT ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA BY AMBASSADOR PEDRO L. PEDROSO CUESTA, SPECIAL REPRESENTATIVE AND COORDINATOR FOR CUBA'S CHAIRMANSHIP OF THE GROUP OF 77, DURING THE 13TH SESSION OF OPEN-ENDED WORKING GROUP ON AGEING (New York, 3 April 2023)
1. I have the honor of delivering this statement on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, and in that capacity, I would like to express the Group's appreciation to your leadership of the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing of the General Assembly. The Group trusts that the current session will contribute to the overall aim of improving the promotion and protection of the human rights and wellbeing of older persons.
2. We take note with appreciation of the work of the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing in the past sessions, and we recognize the positive contributions of Member States and other relevant actors in that regard. We encourage Member States to continue presenting measures and views on how to enhance the promotion and protection of the human rights and dignity of older persons.
3. The Group looks forward to the discussions on the focus areas of the current session of the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing, as it is convinced that health and social inclusion are vital to advancing the dignity and wellbeing of older persons. Madam Chair,
4. The Group reaffirms the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, 2002, which provides a roadmap for addressing challenges of an ageing society, the realization of the human rights of older persons and the promotion of their wellbeing. Member States should take legislative and policy measures in line with the Madrid Plan of Action to promote social, economic and emotional security for the older person. The Group underscores the need for enhanced international cooperation to support developing countries in their efforts to implement the Madrid Plan of Action. This would involve sharing best practices, exchanging knowledge and expertise, and providing financial and technical assistance where needed.
5. As a reflection of such commitment, the Group presents the annual resolution on the "Follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing" in the Third Committee. The purpose of this resolution has become even more relevant in the current international context, as older persons continue to face growing inequalities and discrimination. The Group's steadfast commitment to promoting the rights and wellbeing of older persons is reflected in its presentation of the annual resolution on "Follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing" in the Third Committee. Against the backdrop of persistent inequalities and discrimination facing older persons globally, the importance of this resolution has only grown more pronounced in today's international context.
6. By continuing to highlight the urgent need for action on ageing issues, the Group seeks to ensure that older persons are not left behind in the pursuit of sustainable development and social justice. Through this resolution, the Group calls on Member States to redouble their efforts to address the challenges facing older persons, including through the implementation of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, and to take concrete steps to promote their social inclusion, economic security, and access to essential services
7. The Group reiterates the importance of enhancing international cooperation, solidarity and support in the global efforts towards an age-inclusive implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and of mobilizing all necessary resources to that end, according to national plans and strategies. The Group emphasizes the need to strengthen international cooperation, solidarity, and support in achieving a more age-inclusive implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This includes mobilizing all necessary resources in accordance with national plans and strategies, to ensure that the needs and priorities of older persons are fully integrated into sustainable development efforts at all levels.
8. The Group believes that it is of the utmost importance to recognize the challenges that older persons face in the enjoyment of their human rights, in different areas. Member States must ensure the full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for older persons, including by progressively taking measures to address protection gaps and combat age discrimination, neglect, abuse, and violence, and to provide social protection, access to food, adequate nutrition and housing, health-care services, employment, legal capacity, and access to justice.
9. We would also like to emphasize the urgent need to ensure the right of all older persons to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. In this regard, facilitating the development of robust health systems and universal health coverage is essential, particularly in developing countries, who continue to grapple with the far-reaching impact and challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.
10. In that regard, the Group recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on older persons, in particular older women, and that the response to and recovery from the pandemic must promote and respect their dignity, wellbeing and human rights, as well as address all forms of violence, discrimination, stigmatization, exclusion, inequalities, neglect, social isolation and loneliness.
11. To conclude, the Group believes that it is high time to intensify efforts towards identifying ageing as an opportunity, and to recognize the essential contribution that older persons continue to make to the functioning of societies and towards the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. It is therefore essential to ensure the full and effective enjoyment of their human rights, including access to social protection, healthcare, and justice.
I thank you.