Brussels, Belgium – 28 April 2020
EU Day of Solidarity between Generations, 29th April
While half of the world’s population has been confined in their homes for several weeks, and heated discussions are going on about lifting lock out measures at least for some, many experts, citizens of all ages, backgrounds and political orientations are starting to wonder if time has not come to reinvent completely the way our societies are functioning and tackle climate at the same time as the risks of future pandemics. Both crisis are clearly linked to globalization and need to be addressed together to save humankind and ensure that current and future generations will have a decent future to look forward to.
Examples of intergenerational active citizenship initiatives to save our planet existed already before the COVID19 crisis. Remember how young protesters calling for urgent action were supported by “older” citizens in many countries. But also more locally, older citizens and younger ones, including very young children joined forces to clean up their environment and adopt more climate-friendly lifestyles such as buying more local, saving water, recycling and reducing waste, reducing one’s mobility to what is really necessary and using as much as possible “clean” transport systems, etc.
For AGE members, young and old largely agree on the areas that governments should prioritise: fighting against poverty and unemployment, ensuring adequate income and support for all, guaranteeing access to education for every child and life-long learning opportunities regardless of age, introducing fair taxation, and ensuring a sustainable ecological transition. Older people stand side by side with young people expressing their mutual concern for the planet and fight for a sustainable future.
Meanwhile many remain skeptical that such actions are going to help reduce the impact of mankind activities on climate change. All that matters to them is that the economic activities should go back to “normal” as soon as possible, people should consume and spend as before because that is believed to be good for everyone’s prosperity. Yet, stunning satellite images from around the globe show drastic reduction of air pollution, demonstrating to the skeptical that there is a direct link between human activities and pollution thus climate change.
For AGE Platform Europe and the European Youth Forum we need to be imaginative and involve all generations in the huge challenge of reinventing our world putting humankind and our planet at the heart of our societies.
“We must draw the lessons from the COVID-19 crisis lockdown and design together new ways to produce and consume the goods and services that people around the globe need for a healthy and decent life, now and in the future. Going more local and climate-friendly as citizens and consumers, should go hand in hand with stronger support and solidarity to all regions in the world which need to develop more stable economies and more resilient healthcare systems to cope with future pandemics.”
Anne-Sophie Parent, Secretary General of AGE Platform Europe (AGE)
“We must not return to business as usual after the Coronavirus crisis. To create a sustainable, healthy future for all we need to put people, from all ages, and the planet over profit. Solidarity and inclusion must be at the heart of the post-pandemic world.”
Carina Autengruber, President of the European Youth Forum (YFJ)
To mark the EU Day of Solidarity between Generations celebrated on 29 April, we therefore call on EU and national decision-makers to tackle the long-term consequences of COVID-19 and climate change by:
- Not delaying the reflection process announced by the Commission on demographic change and ageing; this discussion is urgent and cannot be postponed any further.
- Implementing all the provisions of the European Pillar of Social Rights. The Covid-19 has sadly proved how crucial it is to safeguard and strengthen a social Europe based on solidarity among countries, regions, societies and generations.
- Building synergies between the EU economic post COVID-19 recovery strategy and the European Green Deal to adequately address the persisting social and environmental challenges.
- Adopting an ambitious EU budget 2021-2027 which will allow a comprehensive and coordinated action to support our economies, social protection systems and collective effort to tackle climate change.
- Leading a global discussion on how to mobilize all generations to save both humankind from this pandemic and our planet from climate change, as both are interlinked and will continue to impact very negatively the lives of everyone living on earth if we do not take urgent action to review fundamentally the way our societies are organised and interact.
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- AGE webpage on COVID-19
- AGE webpage on Solidarity between Generations
- AGE General Assembly Declaration 2019
- Examples of intergenerational initiatives
For more information, please contact:
> Anne Mélard
Information and Communication Officer
Tel: +32 2 280 14 70
> Inès Abbas
+32 2 793 75 36