The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia hosted an international conference to discuss ways to effectively promote and protect the rights of older persons.
The ‘Ageing: Rights for Empowerment’ conference took place in Brdo, Slovenia, on 11-12 April 2016. Gathering representatives of States, regional and international organisations, experts as well as civil society, the conference aimed at discussing the current state of protection of the rights of older people as well as possible future action to improve the existing policy and legal framework. The meeting took stock of the existing normative framework and provided an opportunity to discuss rights-based solutions outside the frame of the UN Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWG).
AGE Platform Europe was represented by our President, Marjan Sedmak, who spoke about efforts that can be made to achieve progress at EU level and our Vice-President, Ebbe Johansen.
Representatives of the UK, German, Austrian and Slovenian Ministries, the United Nations (UN) and the European Commission, stakeholders involved in the OEWG, including the Argentinian Chair, as well as the Independent expert on the rights of older persons were very active in the discussion.
The debate evolved around how to improve the protection of older people’s rights using the available mechanisms but also on the potential of a new UN Convention. Participants agreed that there is a need for substantive discussion on the issues that require better protection. The Independent Expert’s report, which is expected in September 2016, will include a collection of best practices and gaps and an assessment of the human rights impact of the implementation of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing. This report will provide an excellent basis for further reflection on elements of a new legal instrument and ways to improve the application of the existing framework, in advance of the OEWG that will take place in December 2016.
The role of national governments and parliaments to increase awareness of older people’s rights and contribute to the OEWG debate was also discussed. Older people’s organisations can use the opportunity of the release of the Independent Experts report in September to influence their government’s position.
This high-level event showcased the growing acceptance from within the EU that more needs to be done to ensure an equal protection of older people’s rights. It also mobilized national representatives to be more constructively engaged in the international debate regarding the content of a convention, but also to consult older people’s organisations on the ground. Some participants suggested holding a follow – up meeting in autumn to strategically discuss how to push this agenda forward.
For more information, visit the event webpage and read the press release of the Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. You may also contact Nena Georgantzi, AGE Policy Officer, email@example.com