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International Conference on Ageing: High time for rights-based solutions as world population grows rapidly ‘greyer’ – UN expert

BRDO – SLOVENIA / GENEVA (14 April 2016) – “The challenges ahead are known,” said the United Nations Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons, Rosa Kornfeld-Matte, at the International Conference on Ageing in Brdo, while recalling that the number of over 60s is expected to more than double globally from about 900 million people in 2015 to more than 2 billion in 2050.

“For years the debate on ageing turned around identifying gaps in the international framework of the human rights of older persons,” Ms. Kornfeld-Matte said. “Addressing these gaps and improving implementation at the global level, is the way forward.”

Population ageing constitutes one of the most significant demographic transformations of the 21st century. For the first time in history, humankind will reach a point at which there are fewer children than older persons in the world.

“It is time to rethink ageing and to move towards rights-based solutions,” the Independent Expert stressed urging all governments to fulfil their obligations to ensure that older persons can enjoy the full spectrum of their human rights and age with dignity.

Representatives of States, regional and international organisations as well as civil society gathered on 11 and 12 April for the first time in Brdo, Slovenia, to discuss ways and means to effectively empower older persons. “I welcome the Conference’s contribution towards shifting the focus of the discussing from stocktaking to concrete action,” she noted.

The Independent Expert recalled that the UN Human Rights Council, by creating her mandate, made an important step towards addressing the existing protection gap. In that regard, in her comprehensive report to the Council in September 2016, Ms. Kornfeld-Matte will look at all aspects of the mandate and will include a collection of best practices and gaps in the implementation of existing instruments within various thematic areas related to older persons and an assessment of the human rights impact of the implementation of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing- one of the main political documents dedicated to older persons.

Ms. Rosa Kornfeld-Matte (Chile) was appointed by Human Rights Council as the first Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons in May 2014. Ms. Kornfeld-Matte served as the National Director of the Chilean National Service of Ageing where she designed and implemented the National Policy of Ageing. She has a long career as an academic and is the founder of the programme for older persons at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile. Learn more, visit:  http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/OlderPersons/IE/Pages/IEOlderPersons.aspx

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.

Human rights of older persons: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/OlderPersons/Pages/OlderPersonsIndex.aspx

For further information and media requests, please contact Mr. Khaled Hassine (+41 22 917 93 67, khassine@ohchr.org or Ms. Lydia Gény in Slovenia (+41 (0)79 444 47 02 lgeny@ohchr.org or write to olderpersons@ohchr.org.

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