Time to turn words into actions! called AGE during United Nations’ discussions on ageing


From 11 to 14 April 2022,we participated in the 12th session of the United Nations’ Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWG12), in which AGE members and partners from the civil society advocated for the adoption of a UN convention on the rights of older persons.

AGE Preparation

Prior to the OEWG12, we organised online meetings with our members to prepare written contributions to the UN discussions.

AGE and several members participated in the Global Alliance for the Rights of Older People (GAROP) Global Rally on 03 March 2022, a global online rally asking to “age with rights”. This mobilisation gathered older people around the world to urge governments to take their responsibilities and act. It took place a month ahead of the OEWG12, where governments have shown little progress in defending the human rights of older persons.

On 1 April 2022, AGE participated in a meeting organised by Spanish members, the Confederación Española de Organizaciones de Mayores (CEOMA), to prepare the OEWG12.

AGE Members Strong Advocacy

Self-advocate and former AGE Vice President Ms. Heidrun Mollenkopf, for the German organisation BAGSO, represented AGE in-person while Mr. Vassili Louziotis from the Greek organisation 50+Hellas, brought his own experience and expertise in the panel on normative inputs on the right to work and access to the labour market.

Ms. Heidrun Mollenkopf delivered two powerful statements on the first and last day of the OEWG12. In her Way Forward statement delivered on behalf of AGE and BAGSO, she called for more Member States to join the cross-regional core group. She concluded her statement by saying that ‘it is time to turn words into actions and with this we strongly support Argentina’s initiative’.

You can listen to Ms. Mollenkopf’s full statements on 11 April and on 12 April (starting at 01:35).

‘Normative elements, once adopted as part of a new convention, will not happen overnight, and will not immediately improve the status and wellbeing of older persons. However, they are in line with the basic principles, which all of us seem to agree on: equality and non-discrimination, autonomy and choice, inclusion, participation and remedy.’, stated Mr. Vassili Louziotis.

AGE President Ebbe Johansen prepared a pre-recorded video statement to be delivered at the Opening session. However, the statement was not delivered due to time limitations allocated to NGOs.

Although AGE secretariat was not able to participate in-person, AGE Policy Officer, Ms. Sarah Loriato, and AGE Human Rights Manager, Ms. Nena Georgantzi, made two oral interventions.

A UN convention would be an important acknowledgement that older citizens are of equal value to society. It would impose a duty of participation wherever decisions are made and create space for rights holders to participate in public affairs and demand their rights’, underlined Ms. Sarah Loriato in an oral statement on the contribution of older persons in sustainable development.

Ms. Nena Georgantzi, spoke on the third day, stating that…

‘A UN convention could trigger an assessment of the adequacy of statutory minimum pensions and social benefits that are necessary to live in dignity and participate fully in society, including in situations with health and long-term care needs.’

AGE inputs on the contribution of older persons in sustainable development and economic security are available here.

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