On 30th July, GAROP held the seventh webinar in its series organised in partnership with the International Federation on Ageing. The webinar focused on the F.A.I.R. Guidelines, recently launched by HelpAge International, that set out four key steps that organisations can follow in their national advocacy work around a UN convention on the rights of older people.

Bridget Sleap from HelpAge International was the panelist introducing the F.A.I.R. Guidelines and Ken Bluestone, Chair of GAROP, moderated the session.

You can hear and watch a full recording of the webinar here.
Download Bridget’s webinar presentation slides here.
Access the F.A.I.R. Guidelines on the HelpAge website in English, Spanish, Russian and Arabic here.

Key points emerging from the presentation and exchange:

  • Year-round national advocacy, including by many GAROP members, has had an important impact on governments’ participation and positions in the UN Open-Ended Working Group on Ageing process.
  • The first step is to find out your government’s position. This means finding out which ministries are responsible for decision-making on the issue of older people’s rights and a convention and understanding who influences them both inside and outside of government.
  • The second step is preparing to argue your case. This involves gathering evidence about older people’s in your community about their experience of discrimination and looking at existing laws and policies in your country to see if they are in line with international human rights standards.
  • The third step is to involve older people in the discussions and advocacy or campaign planning and ensure that they are part of any meetings with decision-makers.
  • The fourth step is to review your progress and assess how well you are achieving your goals and how you might improve your approach and messaging.
  • In some countries the responsibility for older people’s rights is spread across different ministries. NGOs have an important convening role to play in bringing together representatives of different ministries and departments to support better coordination. It is important to engage with different political parties and a manifesto can be useful if an election is approaching.
  • Academia and other stakeholders such as National Human Rights Institutions can play an important role in providing useful evidence and data about discrimination. Organising tripartite meetings between older people, National Human Rights Institutions and governments is a valuable way of stimulating debate and raising awareness of older people’s rights and the UN process.  Making connections between the discussions at the OEWG in New York and those in the Human Rights Council in Geneva is also critical in advancing how human rights are understood for older people and ensuring synergy between these important UN processes.
  • Working towards a convention is a long term process and in order to continue to have an impact, it is important to review what is working or not working and to be flexible and adapt arguments and approaches where necessary.
  • A number of useful events and moments throughout the year between the OEWG sessions can be relevant to our advocacy, such as International Day of Older Persons and World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, as well as intersessional events and opportunities such as the GAROP members regional workshops in Africa and Asia and another intersessional event in Serbia involving governments.

Click here to access recordings of other GAROP webinars and other advocacy tools and information.