United Nations Inter-Agency Group on Ageing (IAGA): Strengthening the inclusion of older persons in the work of the United Nations system.

Overview

The United Nations Inter-Agency Group on Ageing (IAGA) is an informal network of interested entities of the United Nations* that coordinate on issues of relevance to ageing and older persons, identify areas of cooperation, work together to raise the profile of older persons and ageing issues within the United Nations system, and integrate ageing and older persons into the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and systematically integrate the concerns and interests of older persons into the work of the Group.

Composition

The Group consists of representatives from UN entities whose work is relevant to ageing issues. The following entities are members of IAGA:

  1. Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA)
  2. Development Coordination Office (DCO)
  3. Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)
  4. Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)
  5. Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE)
  6. Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)
  7. Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA)
  8. International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
  9. International Labour Organization (ILO)
  10. United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
  11. Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
  12. United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UNHABITAT)
  13. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)
  14. United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UNWOMEN)
  15. United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
  16. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
  17. United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
  18. United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD)
  19. World Health Organization (WHO)
  20. The World Bank (WB)

Joint Activities:

As a step to strengthen and support cooperation, members of IAGA have jointly undertaken various activities, including joint publications and initiatives addressing ageing and older persons, such as:

IAGA and its response to COVID-19

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the IAGA has provided a forum for cooperation and support to ensure a cohesive response in the context of older persons. The Secretary-General’s Policy Brief on the Impact of COVID-19 on Older Persons galvanized an unprecedented level of joint actions by the United Nations system to protect older persons in the pandemic and to support Member States in building ‘forward’ better:

  • High-level commitment among UN agencies to jointly address the challenges faced by older persons in the pandemic. The Policy Brief sparked a number of webinars and events organized by several UN agencies and partners such as DESA, OHCHR, UNFPA, WHO as well as UN Regional Commissions in collaboration with partners from civil society including the International Federation on Ageing, HelpAge International and the NGO Committees on Ageing in New York, Geneva and Vienna. These webinars featured UN Principals, UN Resident Coordinators and Government and civil society leaders, who expressed strong commitment to protect the rights of older persons in the pandemic and to build forward better, through increased collaboration and coherence and building on existing initiatives such as the UN Decade of Healthy Ageing 2020-2030.
  • Integrating older persons in UN Socioeconomic Response Framework. IAGA developed a checklist of potential actions, tools and resources, which was designed in line with the Policy Brief. The checklist aims to support the UN Country Teams in integrating older persons in developing socio-economic impact assessments, responses and recovery plans with a human rights-based approach to help countries tackle the devastating social and economic dimensions of the pandemic, with a focus on older persons as a priority group.
  • Regional initiatives to build forward better In response to the Policy Brief’s call for a long-term and collaborative actions by UN and stakeholders, UNFPA Regional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, WHO Regional Office for Europe, UNECE, OHCHR and HelpAge Regional Office for Eurasia and the Middle East, supported by the United Nations European Regional Issue Based Coalition on Health and Wellbeing have established a joint initiative to support the work of United Nations Country Teams in the Europe and Central Asia region and help governments implement the response measures for older persons as part of the wider programme on ageing.  The initiative builds on the individual organizations’ efforts and responds to the SG call for a long-term and collaborative action by UN agencies and other stakeholders. It will ensure that older persons are consulted on a regular basis and have access to the essential information, goods and services they need, including to essential healthcare and lifesaving procedures and to social care and support services during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. This joint programme proposes collaborative action over the next three years (2020-2023) among agencies of the UN system, civil society stakeholders, working closely with governments across Eastern Europe and Central Asia. In another example, ESCAP organized a regional breakout session of an expert meeting on “Socially Just Transition towards Sustainable development: The Role of Digital Technologies on Social Development and Well-being of All” to examine trends in digital technologies in the Asia-Pacific region, including the opportunities they bring and the risks they pose to older persons, women and persons with disabilities. A particular focus was on the role of these technologies in addressing the challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.
  • Increased attention to older persons in UN human rights monitoring, protection and humanitarian work Since the beginning of the pandemic, UNHCR has worked with operations and partners to monitor the protection risks and access to COVID-19 prevention and response services of older persons of concern to UNHCR by setting up a Global Protection Dashboard.  In its human rights monitoring work, OHCHR paid particular focus on the situation of older persons and persons with disabilities living in institutions in countries and regions affected by COVID-19.  OCHA ensured the inclusion of older persons as high risk group in the UN Global Humanitarian Response Plan (GHRP) covering the period of April – December 2020 (July Update) which highlights their specific needs, vulnerabilities and resilience and focuses on the response required to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on older persons.
  • Collecting further data and evidence UNFPA launched a new COVID-19 Population Vulnerability Dashboard which includes age-specific data. ILO is monitoring and collecting data on social protection measures in response to the COVID-19 crisis. DESA Population Division and WHO established a Technical Advisory Group on COVID-19 Mortality Assessment that will serve as a broad scientific and strategic platform to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and application of methods on COVID-19 mortality.
  • Members of IAGA have produced a number of technical guidance and updates. For activities carried out by IAGA partners regarding the pandemic please visit the website Relevant UN System Resources on COVID-19 and Older Persons.

 

Contact Us

You can contact IAGA by emailing ageing@un.org