At the 13th Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWG) session, Member States adopted a decision proposing intersessional work up to the 14th OEWG session in 2024. The decision was adopted by consensus without any voting required. This is an important political step forward for the OEWG process and will lead to some more detailed work between the 13th and 14th OEWG sessions. You can read more about the decision and its implications in this short briefing.
The Chair of the OEWGA, H.E Ms. María del Carmen Squeff, Permanent Representative of Argentina, has appointed Ambassador H.E. Ms. Ana Paula Zacarias, the Permanent Representative of Portugal, and H.E. Mr. Ronaldo Costa Filho, the Permanent Representative of Brazil, as the two co-facilitators who will lead this process. Read the letter from Ambassador Squeff confirming these appointments.
The decision requests the two co-facilitators to collaborate with national human rights institutions, non-governmental organizations and the Independent Expert in conducting open, transparent and inclusive informal intergovernmental meetings between the 13th and 14th OEWG sessions. The co-facilitators to submit proposed intergovernmental negotiated recommendations to be considered at the fourteenth session of the Working Group and to be presented for consideration by the General Assembly.
GAROP will be sharing updates about the opportunities for civil society organisations to get involved in this process here as we receive them.
The Co-facilitators have now released this draft timeline for the intersessional work this year. This includes a questionnaire and a series of briefings by key stakeholders, including one by NGOs and NHRIs on 20th November.
Click here to view the timeline shared by the Co-facilitators. Please note that this timeline and the details in it are subject to change.
Our member, HelpAge International, has produced a helpful briefing about this OEWG intersessional work and how NGOs can engage. Click here to view this briefing.
Requests for the Co-facilitators from the GAROP Steering Group
The GAROP Steering Group sent a letter to the Co-facilitators on 2nd June with the requests below around the participation of civil society and the process and timeline of the intersessional work up to the 14th OEWG session. The requests below were also shared in a virtual briefing with the Co-facilitators on 12th June and reiterated in a further follow-up letter from the GAROP Steering Group to the Co-facilitators on 23rd June. GAROP continues to advocate at every opportunity for the requests below to be taken into consideration throughout all aspects of the Co-facilitators intersessional work.
To support the full, effective and meaningful participation of older persons and civil society, pursuant to the decision adopted by the Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWGA) at its 13th session, we request the following:
- Full participation of civil society in all of the intergovernmental meetings.
- Opportunities for civil society and National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) to contribute to the intergovernmental negotiations, as is the right of civil society and NHRIs in any human rights process.
- Participation of civil society and NHRIs in the form of an interactive dialogue throughout any intergovernmental meetings or briefings, not only interventions at the end if time allows.
- Organisation by the Co-facilitators of a virtual briefing by civil society, including older persons and their representative organisations, and NHRIs, as key stakeholders, with participation open to all NGOs and NHRIs.
- Virtual meetings and briefings to ensure diverse voices and richer contributions directly from older people, civil society, NHRIs, and other stakeholders.
In terms of the broader process and approach, we request the following:
- Sufficient time allocated to the thorough preparation of any calls for inputs, including questionnaires, along with an adequate timeframe for stakeholders to respond, including consulting with their wider constituencies or members.
- Full inclusion of civil society substantive input into the development of any call for input documents, including questionnaires, before the final versions are circulated for input or response.
- Maximum accessibility and inclusive approach to any call for inputs, including questionnaires, using the six UN official languages, an easy-to-read version, larger font, and accessible formatting, including braille. We will support the wide dissemination of the call for input including through further translation into local languages and grassroots participation of our network.
- Timely circulation to all stakeholders of written summaries of any meetings or briefings as well as its publication on the official OEWG website.
- Full account to be taken of sources such as Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reports and studies and Human Rights Council (HRC) resolutions, the submissions, statements and presentations already made to the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWG) and the analytical working documents prepared for the OEWG sessions in any calls for inputs, including questionnaires, and the zero draft of the recommendations.
In the interests of ensuring fruitful negotiations and adequate time to successfully deliver each stage of the process, we request the following:
- Circulation to all stakeholders of the agreed timeline for the full process before end of June, as well as its publication on the official OEWG website.
- Commencement of the process immediately, in order to ensure gathering of input from all stakeholders by mid to end of September 2023 to allow for sufficient time for analysis and developing recommendations.
- Circulation of zero draft of recommendations by 1 December 2023 for discussion and negotiation prior to the 14th session of the OEWGA, taking due account of the number of ECOSOC functional commissions that take place in the first quarter of the year.