2018 was special in many respects. The 70th anniversary of the Human Rights Declaration in December offered a unique momentum for AGE to draw attention to ageism and its negative and multifold impacts on the enjoyment of our human rights in older age. Our work reached its climax with our 70-day #AgeingEqual campaign, the first one at European level, which gave a strong impetus to the fight against ageism.
2019 will also be special in its own way with several key moments that will structure our work. We will obviously keep consistent adherence to the course established over the past year: the 50-year anniversary of the term “ageism”, first used in 1969 by Robert Butler, an American physician and author, will be the perfect occasion to revitalize our advocacy for respect of human rights and dignity in older age.
We will expect older people to give voice this year again, and do it hand in hand with other generations too: next 29th April will mark the 10th anniversary of the European Day of Solidarity between Generations, launched by AGE in 2009 to raise awareness of the importance of intergenerational solidarity in improving social cohesion and addressing demographic ageing.
But these few anniversaries will only be the tip of the iceberg…
The European elections
In May 2019, Europe will elect a new Parliament for the next five years (2019-2023), and a new European Commission will be appointed. AGE will closely follow those developments to ensure the fight against age discrimination and the protection of older people’s rights are higher on the EU agenda for the years to come. This will also include advocating towards the re-establishment of the Intergroup on Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations.
Our advocacy work will be supported by three major tools:
- our Manifesto for the European Elections 2019
- our European Parliament blog where you will read about the work achieved over the last term of office and news about this new campaign
- our Campaign toolkit to support citizens, in particular older Europeans and their representative organisations, engaging into the European Parliament elections
You will find out more details AGE campaign for the European elections in our next Special Briefing (to be published in early February).
The United Nations work on Ageing
This year again, the 10th session of the United Nations Open Ended Group on Ageing (OEWG) will be the opportunity for AGE to advance the rights of older persons at global and European level. The 2018 edition, which addressed the issues of autonomy and independence and long-term and palliative care, allowed us to give greater visibility to violations of older persons’ dignity.
In 2019 the OEWG on Ageing will deal with social protection and education, lifelong learning and capacity building. In parallel, the discussions in relation to long-term and palliative care, as well as on autonomy and independence and age limits in legislation will keep on going with work dedicated to the concrete provisions that could be included in a new convention on the rights of older people.
The event will finally be the opportunity to examine with our international partners how to further develop positive narratives around older age, building on the outcome of last year #AgeingEqual awareness-raising campaign.
AGE Barometer to assess older people’s situation at national level
Based on EU statistics and qualitative assessments received from our members, AGE will release the first part of its barometer by the end of the year. This tool will aim to increase the visibility of the situation of older people’s rights across the European Union. AGE barometer will assess the situation of older persons in five areas: non-discrimination; social protection; health & prevention; disability, autonomy & inclusion; formal & informal long-term care; and violence & abuse. The first edition will focus on the issues of gender equality, age-friendly labour markets, support to find employment, work-life balance, adequate pensions and the fight against poverty and social exclusion.
Meeting the 21st Century challenges
AGE decided to take up key challenges where the voice of older persons should be strengthened. Both from a policy and project perspective, we will pursue our work on issues related to new technologies, taking stock of rapid developments in the fields of big data and artificial intelligence. Looking at environmental issues, we will start exploring the impact of climate change and air pollution on older persons’ health, as a key component of the right to a healthy environment. Other topics, such as accessibility with the European Accessibility Act and our involvement into the work of the Central Bank, have been on AGE agenda for several years.
The final stages of the Brexit negotiations
Finally, we could not close this briefing about our work in 2019 without a thought for our British friends. AGE will keep a careful eye on the negotiations related to the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Brexit) and its impact on the rights of older persons, following the internal discussions started last year with our British member organisations.
Another busy year for AGE, which we hope will help us pave the way for more equality and age diversity in Europe.
We wish you a very happy year!