On 30th May, GAROP held the fourth in its series of webinars help in partnership with the International Federation on Ageing. The discussion focused on Mobilising for the ninth session of the Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing (OEWG), which will be held in New York on 23rd-26th July 2018.

The webinar was moderated by Ken Bluestone (Co-chair of GAROP) and the panellists were Rosemary Lane (UNDESA) and Rio Hada (OHCHR).

You can hear and watch a full recording of the webinar here.

Practical points emerging from the discussion included:

  • There has been an increase in the number of accreditation applications from NGOs this year.
  • NGOs who are not coming to New York can watch the whole session live on UN webTV.  The written statements received from all stakeholders for the 9th session will be posted to the website as soon as possible. Following the debate online and monitoring this information can provide NGOs with a sense for their government’s position and the degree to which they are engaging in the OEWG enabling them to follow up at national level and urge their governments to get more involved. 
  • Accredited NGOs who wish to submit relevant background documents or reports can send them to ageing@un.org and these will be added to the official website.
  • The submissions to the consultation will be posted to the official website this week and the analytical compilation will be available around the middle of June. NGOs attending the session will be able to make statements following governments and National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs). Statements will be time-limited and should be strategic in addressing the specific issue of older people’s rights in your country or region, rather than talking about your organisation and its activities. It is useful to share concrete examples of challenges, violations or good practice. NGOs can play an important role in amplifying the voices of older people in the discussions.
  • A staff member from the UN Secretariat will act as a point person and liaise with NGOs to keep a list of those wanting to speak. The procedure for signing up to speak will be communicated in advance. Please bring hard copies of your statements (recommended 15 copies).
  • NGOs may have the opportunity to intervene in the interactive debates if invited to do so by the moderators. These interventions should include reactions to the topic of that panel discussion and relate specifically to what governments and panellists are saying.
  • The NGO morning briefings will take place each day of the session and are helpful in enabling NGOs to be more organised and prepared, which has an impact on governments.
  • NGOs are encouraged to make use of the resources on the GAROP website and GAROP members are able to input to the development of GAROP’s joint statement over the next few weeks.

Points emerging regarding the substantive items:

  • There has been a good response to the UN call for submissions on the focus areas, including from NGOs, which was similar to the last session.
  • There are indications in the responses received to the consultation of a normative gap at national and international levels on the focus areas of rights. There were a number of references in the submissions on independence and autonomy to the gender dimension in older age. Few of the submissions mentioned participation and legal capacity specifically.
  • On long term and palliative care, a key question is around the role of the State as well as other non-state providers. It will be important to think about the definition of care from a human rights perspective. The participation of older people in the design of long term care services is important.
  • Normative elements from the 8th session are being compiled in a concise document with key elements of the rights as well as normative sources of these rights. These will be shared ahead of the 9th session.

Click here to find out more about the preparations for the 9th OEWG session.