This year, as the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing approaches its 20-year milestone, there is an opportunity to generate renewed momentum for action to ensure that persons everywhere are able to age with security and dignity and to continue to participate in their societies as citizens with full rights.

The UN Secretary-General noted that the COVID-19 pandemic should be viewed as a stress test measuring how prepared Member States are for an ageing society. The consequences of the pandemic and responses to it have shown that existing normative frameworks at the international and national level have serious flaws and that the effective protection of the human rights of older persons is still a long way off.

This underlines the urgency of improving the international human rights framework. The Secretary-General has called upon the General Assembly open-ended working group on ageing to accelerate efforts to develop proposals for an international legal instrument to promote and protect the rights and dignity of older persons.

Many older persons around the world agree. In the run-up to the twelfth session of the working group, over 200 organizations signed an open letter calling for clear action on older persons’ rights.

The twelfth session will be held from 11 to 14 April in New York and will address two new themes: the contribution of older persons to sustainable development as well as economic security. Learn more here and follow via social media using the hashtags: #OEWG #AgeWithRights.