The Case for the Convention & UN Developments


The Case for the Convention & UN Developments

By: Jessica Grant, Intern, AARP Office of International Affairs-NY

Publish Date: November  06,  2015


 The Case for the Convention

Life after the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing

More than a decade after the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, the international ageing community is still left facing a number of obstacles. The Assembly was pioneering in addressing and developing plans for problem areas ranging from human rights, security, empowerment, enjoyment opportunities, and gender equality in older persons. Additionally, MIPAA represented the first time “governments agreed to link questions of ageing to other frameworks for social and economic development and human rights, most notably those agreed at the United Nations conferences and summits of the past decade.”[1]

Where do we go from here?

In 2010 the UN Open-ended Working Group on Ageing was established by the UN General Assembly for the purpose of strengthening the protection of the human rights of older persons. The group would consider the existing international framework of the older persons, identify possible gaps, strategies to address them and look for the feasibility of future instruments and measures.

In the 5th working session of the United Nations Open-ended Working Group on Ageing they elaborated on the need for a legal instrument that would hold member states accountable.

“…A Convention on the Rights of Older Persons would provide clarity on governments’ human rights obligations towards older people.  It would create an enforceable monitoring mechanism to hold those in authority accountable for their actions towards older people.  It encourages a shift in attitude from older people being considered welfare recipients to rights holders with responsibilities.  We need to make it clear that human rights apply to older people the same way as they apply to people of all ages and to make it illegal to treat people unfairly because of their age.  This should be in line with the international human rights treaties which already exist and not weaken the rights in any way.”


UN Representation and Developments (Independent Expert)

Within the past two years AARP has seen an increased presence in advocacy and representation in the United Nations.  In May 2014, the Human Rights Council appointed Ms. Rosa Kornfeld-Matte as the first Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons.

Rosa is the first expert in connection to the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons. At the UN Third Committee Session she outlined her main responsibilities:

“To assess the implementation of existing international instruments on older persons, look into best practices and current legislation to protect the rights of older persons.”


                 *Watch Ms.Rosa Kornfeld-Matte's Statements:  UN General Assembly (Third Committee, 70th Session)


UN Representation and Developments (Third Committee, 70th Session)

*Starting October 6th, 2015

The Third Committee underneath the General Assembly at the United Nations was established to address the Social, Humanitarian and Cultural needs of its member states. They held their first meeting on October 6th, 2015 where the Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons (Ms.Rosa Kornfeld-Matte) made her opening statements. Since then, the committee has held daily sessions addressing topics such as: the needs of the ageing population, the rights of youth, domestic violence, immigration policies, drug trafficking, security concerns and a host of others.

For an extensive description of the third committee sessions click here.

Listed below are a few member state representatives who have expressed the need for better practices for the ageing population include in third committee sessions:

*Supports the need for a legally binding instrument for member states:

SABRI BOUKADOUM (Algeria) ,*ARIEL DAVID GONZÁLEZ SERAFINI (Argentina),SAHAK SARGSYAN (Armenia), Larysa Bel Skaya (Belarus),MYRIAM AMAN SOULAMA (Burkina Faso),CARLOS OLGUIN (Chile),MILDRED GUZMAN (Dominican Republic),DIEGO ALONSO TITUAÑA MATANGO (Ecuador),RUBEN ZAMORA (El Salvador),MASNI ERIZA (Indonesia),MOHAMMED AL-OBAIDI (Iraq),EMILIA GATTO (Italy),COURTENAY RATTRAY (Jamaica),ARINO YAGUCHI (Japan),KAIRAT ABDRAKHMANOV (Kazakhstan),ALIA ABDULLAH A Y ALMUZAINI (Kuwait),TALAIBEK KYDYROV (Kyrgyzstan),Ms. HERNANDEZ (Mexico),JUANA SANDOVAL (Nicaragua),HAHN CHOONG-HEE (Republic of Korea),EGOR SHULGIN (Russian Federation),GORGUI CISS (Senegal),NG WOAN CHYI (Singapore),LINDA LEE (Singapore),ANDREJ LOGAR (Slovenia)associating with the European Union, SHERINA SARAN (South Africa),*ZANDILE BHENGU (South Africa),KARIMA BARDAOUI (Tunisia), MURAT UĞURLUOĞLU (Turkey), RAMADHAN MWINYI (United Republic of Tanzania),NGUYEN PHUONG NGA (Viet Nam)

2015/2016: Calendar of UN Conferences & Meetings


December 2015

15 - 16 December: General Assembly High-level Meeting to review the implementation of the outcomes of the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS+10)

18 December: International Migrants Day (SDG: Poverty)

January 2016

25 January - 3 February: Committee on NGOs, 2016 Regular Session 

February 2016

25 January - 3 February: Committee on NGOs, 2016 Regular Session

3-12 February :54th Commission for Social Development

03-12 February: Commission for Social Development

16 February: Committee on NGOs, regular session

20 February: World Day of Social Justice

22-24 February 2016: Session of the ECOSOC Operational Activities

Feb 2015: GA High Level Thematic Debate on MOI

March 2016

1 March:  Zero Discrimination Day

8 March: International Day of Women

7 - 18 March: 10th Session, Committee on Enforced Disappearances

8-11 March: Statistical Commission

15-16 Mar: UN Briefing Series w/AARP

14-15 Mar: Women's Empowerment Principles Annual Event

14 - 24 March: Sixtieth session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW60)

March 14-18: Committee on Policy Development Plenary Meeting

31 March: ECOSOC Forum on Partnership

April 2016

7 April: World Health Day

 11-15 April: Commission on Population and Development

18 - 19 April: High-level Meeting of ECOSOC with the Bretton Woods Institutions, WTO and UNCTAD

18 - 22 April : Committee of Experts on Public Administration

May 2016


02 - 04 May: ECOSOC Integration segment


10-11 May : GA High Level Thematic Debate on Peaceful Settlement of Disputes


09 - 20 May: Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues


23 May - 01 June: Committee on NGOs, resumed session


23 -27 May: United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) – Nairobi, Kenya


May 2016: Women Deliver Conference in Copenhagen

June 2016

23 May - 01 June: Committee on NGOs, resumed session

10 June: Committee on NGOs, resumed session

15 June: World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

July 2016

July 11- 15: HLPF under ECOSOC

18 - 22 July: ECOSOC High-level segment: The Theme "Implementing the post-2015 development agenda: moving from commitments to results"

August 2015


September 2016

13-26 September : General Assembly, 70th session


October 2016

United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III)

1 October : United Nations International Day of Older Persons

17 October: International Day for the Eradication of Poverty


November 2016


December 2016

3 December : United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities

5 December: United Nations International Day of Volunteers








[1] "Madrid Plan of Action." Madrid Plan of Action. Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) - Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), n.d. Web. 04 Nov. 2015.