The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the world to an unprecedented halt and upended societies, and its ramifications are expected to be long lasting. The crisis has also intensified or brought to the forefront other trends, including rampant and growing inequalities, the vulnerability in economies around the world and in our social protection systems, including health care, and the impact human development has on the natural world.
Yet, such a volatile environment provides the opportunity to choose a different type of future. A deliberate concerted action could harness recovery efforts towards building more inclusive communities, and a more sustainable world. Older persons, who have faced specific and differentiated challenges during the pandemic, will continue to require an informed, inclusive and targeted response as countries engage in recovery efforts.
In the Policy Brief “The Impact of Covid-19 on Older Persons”, the UN Secretary-General already identified some of the issues that policies will need to pay attention to in ensuring the full inclusion of older persons in recovery efforts. These include, but are not limited to, strengthening health care and social protection systems, improving access to care and support -including long term care, addressing ageism in all its forms, close the digital divide, strengthen services to prevent and protect older persons from violence and abuse and promote the disaggregation of relevant data so that policies are evidence-based. Some sub-groups of older persons, such as those in humanitarian crises or convicted older adults will require targeted action. Further, policies must integrate the intersectional discrimination faced by many older persons.
Building forward better initiatives should also harness the opportunities provided by demographic ageing, by changing the prevailing narrative on old age whereby older persons are considered a burden to society, towards one that recognize their contributions, realize their right to participation, and identify areas where older persons could further support recovery efforts if given the appropriate conditions.
With the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as a background for discussions, this Expert Group meeting will bring together international experts, representatives of member states and relevant stakeholders to explore and propose some specific recommendations on how to ensure that ageing and older persons are adequately addressed, included, and actively engaged in post COVID-19 recovery efforts.
The conclusions and recommendations of this expert group meeting will serve to position DESA to better support Member States in the context of two important policy processes:
(a) The implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
(b) The General Assembly open-ended working group for the purpose of strengthening the protection of the human rights of older persons
Agenda, pre-recorded presentations and written inputs
Tuesday, 2 March 2021
- Introductory remarks: Daniela Bas, Director, Division for Inclusive Social Development, DESA.
- Objectives of the meeting and organization of work: Julia Ferre, Social Affairs Officer, Programme on Ageing Unit, DESA.
Setting the stage: Building Forward Better for Older persons post COVID-19
- Andrew Scott, Professor of Economics at London Business School – Background paper
- Claudia Mahler, Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of all Human Rights by older persons – Paper
Session I. Economic and Social Inclusion post COVID-19
Facilitator: Florian Juergens, Global Advisor on Social Protection at HelpAge International.
- Amanda Lenhardt, Research Associate Overseas Development Institute(ODI) – Kenya_Oct20, Kenya_Jan21, Nepal_Oct20, Nepal_Dec20
- Florian Juergens, Global Advisor on Social Protection at HelpAge International. “Older people’s livelihoods, income security and access to social protection during COVID-19 and beyond” – Paper, Presentation
- Rio Hada, Team Leader, Human Rights and Economic and Social Issues Section, OHCHR. “Addressing the age-old problem: Impact of intersectional discrimination on older persons in the COVID-19 pandemic” – Paper, Presentation
- Israel Doron, Head of the Center for Research and Study on Ageing, University of Haifa. “Care and Support for Older Persons: Post Covid-19” – Paper, Presentation
Testimonies: Rosita Lacson, President, Confederation of Older Persons Association of the Philippines (COPAP) – Presentation
Wednesday, 3 March 2021
Session I. Economic and Social Inclusion post COVID-19 (Continued)
Facilitator: Julia Ferre, Social Affairs Officer, Programme on Ageing Unit, DESA and Amal Abou Rafeh, Chief of the Programme on Ageing Unit, DESA.
- Ignacio de la Puerta Rueda, Director of Territorial Planning and Urban Agenda of the Basque Country, Spain. “Urban Agenda for the Basque Country” – Paper, Presentation
- Yumiko Kamiya, Population Affairs Officer, Fertility and Population Ageing, Population Division, DESA “Living arrangements” – Presentation
- Natasa Todorovic, Health and Care Program Manager, Red Cross of Serbia. “Wakeup call: Prevention and response to the violence, abuse and neglect” – Paper, Presentation
- Ruthy Lowenstein Lazar, Head of the Center for Clinical Education (“Matters”) and Lecturer at the Haim Striks School of Law. “Me too? The inviable older victims of sexual violence” – Paper, Presentation
- Heidrun Mollenkopf, Board Member, German National Association of Senior Citizens’ Organizations “The Digital Divide” – Paper, Presentation
- Angela Mwai, Leader of the Human Rights and Social Inclusion Unit, UN-Habitat. “Age friendly cities” – Presentation
Thursday, 4 March 2021
Session II. Learning from COVID-19 to strengthen health care for older people
Facilitator: Peter Lloyd-Sherlock, Professor, School of International Development UEA.
- Dr. Ritu Sadana, Unit Head, Ageing and Health, WHO “Fostering older people’s capacities and abilities – scenarios from 2021 to 2030” – Paper, Presentation
- Dr. Yuka Sumi, Medical Officer, Ageing and Health, WHO “Learning from COVID-19 to strengthen care for older persons” – Paper, Presentation
- Peter Lloyd-Sherlock, Professor, School of International Development UEA. “Vaccinations and trials” – Presentation
- Rose Gahire, NSINDAGIZA Organisation, Rwanda “Testimonies” – Presentation
Friday, 5 March 2021
Facilitator: Masumi Ono, Chief of Social Inclusion and Participation Branch, Division for Inclusive Social Development, DESA.
- Andrew Byrnes, Professor of International Law, University of New South Wales. ‘Building forward better with human rights law and procedures and law reform’ – Paper, Presentation
- Pytrik Oosterhof, Founder and Senior Sustainable Development Consultant at O-land Consulting. “Ageing and the ‘Decade of Action’ to Deliver on the SDGs” – Paper, Presentation
- Karen Gomez Dumpit, Commissioner Republic of Philippines Commission on Human Rights. “Rights-based Approach to Socio-economic Response Plans at the Country Level” –Paper, Presentation
- Aneta Trgachevska, Health and Ageing Advisor for Europe at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) & Ina Girard Representative of the Austrian Red Cross in the South Caucasus. “Study of Impact of COVID-19 on older people and caregivers in the South Caucasus – key findings” – Paper, Presentation, Study
- Jeremiah Dery, Regional Statistician, Ghana Statistical Service “Response to data” – Presentation
- Aleksandr Mihnovits, Consultant “COVID-19 and older people: the data challenge” – Paper
- Naiara Costa, Senior Sustainable Development Officer, Division for Sustainable Development, DESA – Paper
- IFRC Study of Impact of COVID-19 on older people and caregivers in the South Caucasus – Pre-recorded video
- Testimonies from Rohiyanga refugee camp – Pre-recorded video
- Amal Abou Rafeh, Chief of the Programme on Ageing Unit, DESA.