Statement by Mr. Nurul Alam, PPD Permanent Observer at the 5th Working Session of UN Open-ended Working Group on Ageing

30 July 23, 2014

Statement by

M. Nurul Alam

Permanent Observer of Partners in Population and Development (PPD)

Fifth Working Session

Open-ended Working Group on Ageing

Agenda Item 4

United Nations Head Quarters, 30 July-1 August 2014

Mr. Chairman,

Distinguished Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you very much for giving me the floor for a brief statement on behalf of Partners in Population and Development (PPD).

PPD is a southern-led, southern-run Inter-governmental organization of 26 developing countries representing 58% of world population. The organization was established in 1994 at the fringes of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) with the mandate to promote South-South Cooperation on Reproductive Health, Population and Development in developing countries. Since its establishment, PPD has provided a collective advocacy platform for its members for generating increasing understanding of and political commitment to the complex and interwoven social and public health issues of Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights and issues relating to wider demographic dynamics such as adolescent health, youths and ageing of its member countries.

While PPD programs and projects support the priorities of its member countries’, it’s strength lies in convening policy dialogues on global, regional and national level priority issues of importance. The annual international inter-ministerial conferences of PPD over the years provided an effective platform for dialogue among policy makers of Southern countries. These conferences also generated many consensus declarations which drew collective public commitment on issues of common interest among its members.

Mr. Chairman,

According to a preliminary analysis, 26 member countries of PPD constituted 48.9 % of the world population over 60 years in 2012 and the rate is projected to increase to 57.4% by 2050. Eighteen of the member countries of PPD will have more than 10% of their total population over 60 years by 2050. While Governments of 14 member countries of PPD considered population ageing as a major concern in 2013, national policy or strategies on older persons exist only in a limited number of countries. Moreover, there is lack of data on policy and program gaps on situation of older persons, and data on polder population disaggregated data by age groups, sex, education, economic and social are inadequate, if not unavailable.

Mr. Chairman

With this background, PPD in technical partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) launched a ‘Global Commission on Ageing in Developing Countries’ on 24 October 2013 in Beijing. Its goal is to enable gender, equity and rights based policies and programming that will improve the quality of life of the ageing population in developing countries. The Commission consists of 16 Commissioners and 5 resource persons drawn globally who are reputed leaders in their respective fields and public life.

The scopes of the Commission include supporting national assessments on ageing; identifying policies, programs, gaps and best practices in developing countries and mobilize technical guidance in designing advocacy strategies to inform policy on ageing . One underlying principle guiding the work of the Commission would be increased South-South Cooperation to better prepare the developing countries to scale up the best practices. In its relatively short life span, the the Global commission has drawn significant interest from the member countries and stakeholders beyond.

Mr. Chairman

It is well known that as a corollary to the socio economic development, the ageing population is an emerging concern in developing countries. The problems associated with ageing in developing countries are characterized by changing social values, lack or inadequate public policy on older age population, limited ability to provide social protection, health care and income security for the growing numbers of older citizens. The opportunities and challenges of ageing must be addressed by appropriate policies, budget lines and program implementation as well an emancipation of a social mindset to understand and deal with these issues in real terms.

The second review and appraisal of the MIPAA (E/CN.5/2013/6) revealed, still, ageing and older persons are continued to be viewed and acted upon in policy silos e.g. health, pensions, social care etc. from a welfare-based based angle, when a rights-based approach has been recommended to ensure that the social integration of older persons and the promotion and protection of their rights (A/68/167) to realize the potentials.

While the national awareness on issues related to ageing population in ascending, existing responses are disjointed and outdated. Policy framework generated by the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing and the WHO Active ageing need to be updated and followed up with more up-to-date guidance and technical support to developing countries who are at the initial stages of formulation of national policy framework and responses.

Mr. Chairman,

PPD supports the need to generate a set of international standards on the rights of older persons which would serve as a norm or guide for the member countries. Such standards would underline the need to remove all legal and social obstacles to the realization of the rights of older persons. PPD is also advocating among its members to strongly consider protection of the rights of older persons in their socio economic policy frameworks and appropriate resource support for addressing issues related to programmes on ageing. In this context, PPD strongly reiterates that the rights of older persons must find its due place within the broader agenda post-2015 sustainable development goals. PPD supports the need for an internationally agreed instrument setting standards, monitoring trends and compliance in order to alleviate the rights and secured life of the older population.

Thank you very much for your kind attention

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