About the Open-ended Working Group (OEWG)

What is the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing?

The Open-ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWG) is a UN working group that meets in New York. It was established by a resolution at the 2010 General Assembly [here]. Since the establishment of this working group, nine sessions have been held. GAROP’s own summaries of the outcomes of these sessions are available [here].

Why is the OEWG important?

Discrimination in old age and the violation of older people’s rights continue to be tolerated around the world. As populations age, the number of older people facing this discrimination will increase. Despite this, attention to older people’s rights by governments, those working on human rights, and NGOs has been woefully inadequate. The OEWG sessions represent the first time that a process has been set up for UN Member States to specifically examine how to better protect older people’s rights.

What is the OEWG’s mandate?

The OEWG’s main purpose is strengthening the protection of the human rights of older people.  The OEWG has been given a wide mandate to examine the existing international framework in relation to the human rights of older people, and to identify possible gaps and how best to address them, including through considering the possibility of new human rights instruments (A/RES/65/182 (undocs.org)). The General Assembly extended the OEWG’s mandate to consider and report on what should go into a new international legal instrument on older people’s rights in Resolution 67/139, adopted in December 2012.

How is the OEWG organised? 

Any Member State of the UN can participate in the OEWG. NGOs can apply for accreditation. The OEWG has a Bureau of representatives from five Member States to manage its work.  Currently, this Bureau is composed of:

  • Chair: Ambassador María del Carmen Squeff (Argentina)
  • Vice-Chair: Ms. Roseny B. Fangco (Philippines)
  • Vice-Chair: Ms. Béatrice Maille (Canada)
  • Vice-Chair and Rapporteur: Mr. Tomáš Grünwald (Slovakia)

Where can I find more information?

The OEWG: https://social.un.org/ageing-working-group/index.shtml
Older people’s rights: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/OlderPersons/Pages/OlderPersonsIndex.aspx