This statement is made on behalf of the Global Alliance for the Rights of Older People (GAROP), a global network of over 300 organisations united to strengthen and promote the rights of older persons. I represent ACAMAGE from Cameroon, which is a member of GAROP.
We commend the decision of the 73rd UN General Assembly which put this Working Group into the official UN calendar, and is indicative of the growing international support for this process. We also note the increasing number of useful intersessional meetings that are enabling a deeper discussion of this Working Group’s focus areas, including the normative elements of the rights of older persons.
We underline the importance of all older persons bringing our diverse voices and everyday experiences into the heart of discussions in the Working Group and intersessional meetings on our rights. We draw attention to the growing involvement of older women and men in consultations, campaigns, and multi-stakeholder meetings in many countries, which has enhanced the quality of debate and our understanding of our rights. We warmly welcome the participation of a number of older activists, experts, and campaigners in this session and urge Member States and all stakeholders to listen to our voices and create further opportunities for us to contribute to the Working Group.
We support the Working Group’s continued emphasis on the substantive debate of key focus areas, in particular the discussion on normative elements for a future instrument. We call attention to and welcome the substantial increase in the number of written submissions on the normative elements by Member States, National Human Rights Institutions and Non-Governmental Organisations. Despite this, we note the inadequate time allocated to discussions of normative elements and preparation of written submissions. We therefore call on the Chair and the Bureau to ensure that sufficient time is given to a thorough debate on normative elements – so fundamental for the Working Group successfully fulfilling its mandate.
The case and supporting evidence for a new instrument becomes stronger with every Session. The Working Group has already heard ample and convincing evidence of significant failures of existing human rights instruments and procedures to devote adequate attention to our human rights, including adequate enforcement.
We urge the Working Group to strengthen its substantive and normative discussions through agreed conclusions of the key outcomes from the 9th, 10th and future sessions of the Working Group. This will provide greater clarity and certainty of Member States’ understanding of how to better protect the rights of older persons.
We underline the urgent need to strengthen the promotion and protection of our rights world-wide. We reiterate our call for the drafting of a new instrument to commence in 2020. As the fundamental framing elements of a convention continue to take normative shape, we see no justification for further delays.
The Global Alliance for the Rights of Older People (GAROP) is a network of over 300 civil society organisations from 80 countries working together so that all older people can live free from discrimination and are able to fully enjoy their rights. We believe a UN convention on the rights of older persons is essential for older people to fully enjoy their rights.
 See UN General Assembly Resolutions 65/182 (2010), 67/139 (2012), 69/146 (2014) and 70/164 (2015)