NGOs restate their call for a new convention, whereas states remain divided in the 5th Session of the UN Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing

The fifth session of the Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWGA) took place in New York from 30th July until 1st August 2014, gathering just over 100 Member States, civil society organisations and representatives from the International Labout Office (ILO). For the first time an EU state supported the road towards a convention.

The panels of the fifth session addressed human rights violations in the context of care, violence against older women, financial abuse, and planning for end-of-life. There were also discussions on the implementation of theMadrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA), the new Independent Expert, the 2014 Human Rights Council Social Forum and the post-2015 development agenda.

The EU front was represented by its delegation, whereas some States also took active part in the discussions, in particular France, the Netherlands, Slovenia and Sweden. Slovenia expressed their support for the exploration of a new legal instrument. This is a significant development as it is the first EU state officially supporting this option. Slovenia is also a member of the Group of Friends of Older Persons, which was established after the 2013 session and delivered a joint statement in favour of developing a working document on the elements of a new convention.

Civil society maintained its strong call for a new convention and expressed its concern that the OEWGA was not fulfilling its mandate to consider the main elements of a new international instrument. Member States however remained divided on this issue, with some still strongly opposing to elaborating a new instrument. The new Independent Expert, Ms Rosita Kornfeld Matte, presented her initial views on her mission and the need for a strengthened collaboration with all stakeholders.

In his concluding comments, the Chair of the OEWGA pushed for a change in gears now that the 5th session was complete. A twin-track approach was proposed, aimed at strengthening the implementation of existing mechanisms, as well as progressing discussions around the main elements of a new instrument in line with the extended mandate set out in GA Resolution 67/139. The next OEWGA session may happen earlier in 2015 where a working document may be presented.

AGE Platform Europe was represented in this meeting by our Vice-President, Mr. Ebbe Johansen, who also spoke on the occasion of a side event on the Chicago Declaration on the Rights of Older Persons, presenting older people’s views and concerns. AGE’s member association the Bulgarian Red Cross was also present at this session.

In the below links you may find AGE statements and all the relevant documentation of the fifth session. For more information you may contact Nena Georgantzi, Legal Officer.

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