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UN Social Development Commission calls for active inclusion of older persons in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda

The UNECE region is experiencing population ageing earlier than other regions. This brings significant challenges, but also many opportunities if the potential that living longer holds for individuals, economies and societies at large is properly harnessed.

Last year, UNECE member States reaffirmed their commitment to realizing this potential through the implementation of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA) and its Regional Implementation Strategy, as enshrined in the 2017 Lisbon Ministerial Declaration. This was the outcome document of the 4th Ministerial Conference on Ageing that concluded the 3rd review and appraisal of MIPAA in the UNECE region.

On 31 January 2018, Mr. José António Vieira da Silva, Minister of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security of Portugal and Chair of the 4th Ministerial Conference on Ageing, spoke on behalf of the UNECE region at a High-Level panel discussion on the Third Review and Appraisal of MIPAA, held in the context of the 56th session of the Social Development Commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in New York.

In his statement, he affirmed that “I have no doubt that the 2030 Agenda and MIPAA support each other. I believe the 4th cycle [of MIPAA implementation], which we are now launching, could increase the opportunities for inclusion of older persons in the sustainable development goals and thus ensuring that no one is left behind”.

The session concluded with the Social Development Commission recommending four draft resolutions, including one on the Third review and appraisal of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA), which encourages member States “to further strengthen the implementation of the Madrid Plan of Action on Ageing and use it as a tool for the inclusion of older persons in the implementation and attainment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals”.

It further “acknowledges the essential contributions of the United Nations regional commissions to the implementation, review and appraisal of the Madrid Plan of Action, including the organization of regional review and appraisal meetings and the preparation of their outcome documents, and calls upon the Secretary-General to strengthen the work of the regional commissions on ageing to enable them to enhance their regional implementation activities”.

The draft resolution also “requests the regional commissions to continue to facilitate, including through their intergovernmental bodies, the further implementation of the Madrid Plan of Action based on the priorities identified in the outcomes of their regional review and appraisal exercises and as a modality for the inclusion of older persons in the implementation and attainment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals”.

The UNECE Working Group on Ageing, which celebrates its 10th year of operation in 2018, is positioned to support these efforts in the UNECE region. The Working Group provides an institutional framework for the exchange of information and good practice and for engaging stakeholders, including civil society and the scientific community, in ageing-related policymaking.

Acknowledging the important role of this inter-governmental body in advancing the implementation of MIPAA/RIS in the region, the UNECE Executive Committee has renewed its mandate for the duration of the 4th implementation cycle of MIPAA until 2022. The UNECE Working Group on Ageing is currently chaired by Portugal (Chair) and Norway (Vice-Chair).