Leuven, 2015 Foto: H.S.
Vereinte Nationen - 07.08.2015 - von Dr. Jane Barratt
Civil Society is here to stay in the fight for a Convention on the Rights of Older People.
As the dust settles on the 6th Session of the UN Open-ended working group much can be said about the increasing number and voices of civil society urging action toward a Convention on the Rights of Older People. There is indeed progress, but as is human nature, it never ever seems fast enough.
Over the past two years the work of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Older People, known as GAROP has been steered by a group of committed individuals representing four NGOs, namely the International Association of Homes and Services for the Ageing (IAHSA), HelpAge International, Age Platform Europe and the International Federation on Ageing (IFA).
Behind the scenes substantive work has been realised in the governance structure and processes including terms of references, a new website http://www.rightsofolderpeople.org/ which has up to date information and connections to GAROP members, e-newsletters and postings to members about associated rights-related events in various regions of the world. “In Our Own Words” is the latest report from GAROP in which older people talk about the ageism, discrimination and denial of human rights that they are subjected to in their everyday life. This report is based on a survey which attracted just over 2,000 voices of older people. Each member state at the UN OEWG received a copy of the report as a clear signal that the voices of older people are present, going nowhere and increasingly loud.
GAROP has led to “GAROP Australia” (http://www.rightsofolderpeople.org.au/) which is the beginning (I believe) of the bottom up strategy feeding into UN agencies in New York, Geneva and Vienna as well as outreaching to the National Human’s Rights Institutions (NHRI).
While much has been achieved with few resources there is now an urgent need to transform GAROP from a relatively silent conveyor of information and messages to a vibrant and active campaign machine that helps to build the capacity and capabilities of civil society at a national level while building bridges to the UN systems including UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), United Nations High Commission for Human Rights (UNHCHR), National Human Rights Intuitions (NHRI) as well as the Organization of the American States and the like.
GAROP needs to be a coordinator, an activator and an enabler with the sole goal of a Convention on the Rights of Older People. To achieve this transformation GAROP must have a fully funded secretariat, dedicated staff, accountability members and be strongly guided by an advocacy strategy that in large part uses a campaign approach while at the same time being present to important policy developments.
Therefore I have great pleasure on behalf of the GAROP Steering Group to announce that on Friday 18th July 2015 in principled agreement was attained with HelpAge International to host GAROP as we move forward to 2016. The process of transition will be conducted in a systematic and thoughtful way, with While much has been achieved with few resources there is now an urgent need to transform GAROP from a relatively silent conveyor of information and messages to a vibrant and active campaign machine GAROP needs to be a coordinator, an activator and an enabler with the sole goal of a Convention on the Rights of Older People.
the first step being the development of an appropriate governance and management framework that builds upon our current foundations.
The current GAROP Steering group will remain in suite, being part of the thinking and planning for the future, until the transition has been completed. There are many aspects of the new phase of GAROP to
be considered and by whom and by when.
One motto that we are all familiar with is “leave no one behind” and as the outgoing Chair you can all be assured that the goal is to be walking together playing the same tune with and on behalf of older
Dr Jane Barratt
Chair, Global Alliance for the Rights of Older People
Secretary General, International Federation on Ageing
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