Inclusion of Older People in SDGs Crucial for Africa's Development

18 April 2019

Marrakesh — The number of older persons worldwide is expected to grow from 69 million in 2017 to 226 million in 2050, according to UNDESA. With lack of adequate policies to ensure the needs of older persons are met, HelpAge International, the Economic Commission for Africa, SGA-Africa, UNFPA and other partners, organized a discussion during ARFSD 2019 to discuss why the SDGs must include older people to 'leave no one behind'.

They are advocating for appropriate policies to be put in place by governments, and a belief in the potential of older people, particularly older women, that population ageing can be a stimulus for sustainable development.

Agendas 2030, 2063 and ICPD@25 offer an opportunity to reverse the exclusion of older people in public, social, economic, cultural and political spheres, they agreed.

Here are some of the cross cutting key messages from the meet.

- Programmes, policies, plans, budgets and monitoring and evaluation framework need to be responsive to the needs of different cohorts of older persons. Issue of multiple vulnerabilities such as climate change related stresses, gender or disability or poverty vulnerability and how they impact older persons need to be considered

- Integrate older persons in discussions and action plans of Sustainable Development Goals and the Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) while supporting National Statistical Offices to gather, systemize and disaggregate data to ensure systematic inclusion of upper age groups in SDG monitoring and reporting.

- Progress and commitments on older persons in Sustainable Development Goals and national planning and budgeting processes should integrate ageing and older person into monitoring and evaluation framework. Data management systems should recognize the needs and progress made on different cohorts of older persons.

- Increase meaningful participation of older persons in all planning and decision making processes through empowering them on their rights and public policy making processes.

- Recognize and promote the contributions of older persons in social, economic and cultural spheres.

Goal 4

- Promote life-long learning opportunities including reskilling, training and retraining older persons to continue contributing to society but also live independently.

- Adapt learning opportunities, content and methodologies to the interests and issues of older persons.

- Ensure basic literacy and numeracy for all older persons, a prerequisite to fulfilling the right of all to education and ensuring full participation in society.

Goal 8

- Recognize and utilize the skills and capacity of older people in both urban and rural settings. Work, whether unpaid, volunteer or remunerated, is a reality for older persons, especially for older women.

- Provide social protection and flexible working arrangements in order to facilitate and improve conditions for older persons in the informal and formal labour markets.

- Remove age restrictive policies on access to microcredit, loans and financial investments.

- Enact and enforce national and global anti-age discrimination legislation. Anti-age discrimination legislation empowers older persons and benefits families and national economies.

Goal 10

- Ensure all people across the life course have age, disability and gender-equitable social protection and pension systems by means of the universal implementation of Goal 1, Target 1.3 on social protection floors and other measures.

- Enact affordable, high‐quality, person-centered and accessible [urban, rural and in emergencies] social services, including health and long‐term care, for all older persons.

Goal 16

- Implement "leave no one behind" commitment through ensuring the needs of people of all ages, abilities and genders have access to services to enhance coexistence and solidarity among population groups.

- Contribute to the development, adoption and implementation of a binding international legal instrument to protect the rights of older persons and accelerate the ratification and implementation of the African Union Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Older Persons in Africa.

- Ensure that the domestication, implementation and monitoring of SDGs is taking into consideration the international and human rights commitments as it relates to the older people's rights and entitlements.

Goal 17

- Prioritize and finance the capacity development of national statistical offices on data disaggregation and collection of age-disaggregated data at the national and regional level. This will go a long away in ensuring availability of evidence and data necessary for designing, implementing and monitoring age, disability and gender sensitive policies, programmes and budgets.

- Take notice of, finance and support the ongoing work of the Titchfield City Group on Ageing-Related Statistics and Age-Disaggregated Data.

- Forge collaborative ventures among national Statistical Offices, civil society organisations and national human rights institutions to develop methods for improving the availability of disaggregated data.

- Including older persons in the big data discussions and agenda to ensure visibility of older persons' data, analysis and reports.

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