Over 140 UN Member States have endorsed a joint statement supporting the UN Secretary-General’s policy brief on COVID-19 and older persons. The UN policy brief was published on 1st May and included a number of important recommendations on how to strengthen the COVID-19 response with respect to older people.

The substantial number of signatories to the statement, almost three quarters of all UN Member States, provides evidence of a clear consensus across all regions on the need to step up efforts to ensure a stronger pandemic response that is fully responsive to the needs and human rights of older persons. The statement also recognises the escalating ageism and age discrimination against older people and directly addresses a number of the concerns raised in GAROP’s statement on COVID-19 on 7th April.

This latest initiative by Member States is also an indication of the growing international attention and momentum around the human rights of older persons. As stated in GAROP’s Open Letter to the UN Secretary-General, we trust that Member States of the UN General Assembly’s Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing will now accelerate their efforts to develop proposals for a UN convention on the rights of older persons. GAROP also continues to call for the 11th session of the Open-Ended Working Group to be rearranged as soon as it is safe to do so and that older people’s experiences and voices are embedded at the heart of this process.

  • Read the joint statement by 143 Member States here (unofficial French and Spanish versions available)
  • Read the UN Secretary-general’s policy brief on COVID-19 and older persons here