Message to NGO representatives having participated in the NGO Forum in Vienna on 18 September 2012 and/or in the UNECE Ministerial Conference 19 to 20 September 2012

Dear NGO Friends and Colleagues,

My message to you sent right after the UNECE Ministerial Conference in Vienna provoked multiple echoes from all over the UNECE region – so to say“from Vladivostok to Vancouver”.

A great number of NGO representatives expressed enthusiastically their strong support for the maintenance of a regional communication, information and cooperation network between their organizations interested in ageing matters and policies. Literally no organization has declined to see its name or other contact details appear in the participants list of the NGO Forum in Vienna which I proposed to circulate to all of you.

So please find this list attached.

In case you have corrections to suggest please do not hesitate to send them around to all.

With my mail of 24 September 2012 I had sent to you the final and official versions of the “Vienna Ministerial Political Declaration” as well as the final version of the “NGO Political Declaration” as presented at the second day of the Ministerial Conference in Vienna. Both texts were, at that time, only available in English. We hope that very soon you can also find them in French, Russian and German on the website of the UNECE under the address:

http://www.unece.org/pau/ageing/ministerial_conference_2012.html

By the way, on this website you can also find most of the contributions made during the panels of the Ministerial Conference in Vienna by government representatives, researchers and NGO experts.

Many NGO representatives reported that they are already in communication with the governments of their respective countries – or intend to do so very soon – in order to see how the government and organized civil society can cooperate in further and intensified implementation of MIPPA and RIS. This is very much in line with para 15 of the “Vienna Ministerial Declaration” which declares “We acknowledge the contribution of civil society and older people themselves in taking forward the provisions of the RIS/MIPAA and are committed to sustain the continuing partnership between all major stakeholders in the implementation process” and it corresponds also with para 12 of the “NGO Political Declaration” where we say “we the NGOs expect the UNECE Member States to: i) recognize fully the role of NGOs in achieving the commitments entered into both at the present Ministerial Conference and in the original MIPAA agreement; ii) convene planning meetings with organized civil society at the national level in each Member State by March 2013 to take forward those commitments; and iii) report publicly, both nationally and regionally, on the results of those meetings by the end of June 2013”.

In order to further promote dialogue and cooperation between organized civil society and governments in all the 56 member states of the UNECE it would of course be most helpful if we had both documents, the “Vienna Ministerial Political Declaration” as well as the “NGO Political Declaration” in all the languages used in the UNECE region. This would enable NGOs to present these texts to all their partners in public institutions and to other NGOs which may not yet be aware of the outcome of the important events having taken place in Vienna in September 2012.

I know from recent correspondence with NGOs that some of them have already produced translations of the two documents into their national language. It would be most welcome if those who have done so could send me these translations so that I can forward them to colleagues in the UNECE secretariat who have promised to put them all on the UNECE homepage so that they can be used as broadly as possible. I would also very much welcome to receive relevant information on this issue from those NGO representatives who still intend to produce such translations or who have possibilities to obtain them from their governments.

Last but certainly not least, we would like to touch on two other very important issues.

Firstly: The Fifty-First Session of the Commission for Social Development of the United Nations will take place in New York 06 to 15 February 2013. The priority theme this year is «Promoting empowerment of people in achieving poverty eradication, social integration and full employment and decent work for all». In this context the implementation of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing of 2002 will also be on the agenda.

This will obviously be another important moment for our organizations to lobby for faster and better action in this area. It is important that civil society worldwide prepares thoroughly it contribution to the CSD session in February 2013. So it would be interesting to know whether you have already developed ideas on content and strategy and whether you have partners who could join in this effort.

Secondly: It might be that you are not (yet) aware of the fact that a very important report on “Ageing in the Twenty-First Century: A Celebration and A Challenge” has been published last month, October 2012, by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and HelpAge International. I strongly recommend this important report as it aims at stimulating dialogue, sharing of best practice and it recommends how we can better organize society in the light of 21st century demographics.

You can download the full report and an executive summary from the website of HelpAge International at: www.helpage.org/ageing21.

I hope that by this circular message to all the participants in the NGO Forum in Vienna on 18 September and/or in the UNECE Ministerial Conference 19 to 20 September 2012 we can start a very active and inspiring network for the exchange of information, for cooperation and for mutual learning.

Please do not hesitate to involve also other civil society partners from your country or your sub-region interested in ageing issues and relevant policies.

All best and warm regards

Yours

Dirk Jarré