7 October 2005

Easing Plight of Elderly Poor Should Be Part of Millennium Goals, DPI/NGO Briefing Is Told

NEW YORK, 6 October (UN Headquarters) -- The President of the General Assembly, Jan Eliasson (Sweden), today called for "solidarity between generations to remove artificial borderlines between young and old, north and south", at a Headquarters briefing for non-governmental organizations (NGOs), organized by the Department of Public Information (DPI) in cooperation with the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and the NGO Committee on Ageing.

Mr. Eliasson urged the group of about 400 NGO representatives who attended the event to "press their respective Governments that the Millennium Development Goals are known and respected".

The briefing, entitled "Poverty Reduction Strategies with and for Older Persons:  Regional Perspectives", was held in observance of the International Day of Older Persons.  It focused on policies and programmes related to poverty reduction that include the participation and decision-making of older persons.

In his keynote address, Jomo Kwame Sundaram, Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, said that "age disaggregated data in developing countries would provide the basis for poverty analysis among older persons and facilitate the establishment of indicators within poverty reduction plans.  Good data and analysis would also provide the hard evidence needed to bring more attention to poverty among older persons".

During the panel discussion, representatives from regions around the world shared their experiences with poverty-reduction strategies and older persons in their respective regions.  They included:  Prince Bengha Ngochia Martin, President, Regional Center for the Welfare of Ageing Persons in Cameroon; Win Win Kyi, Associate Professor, Bergen Community College, New Jersey; Irma Loemban Tobing-Klein, co-founder and Executive, MDG Global Watch NGO and former Permanent Representative of Suriname to the United Nations; Kamal Khaldi, Director, Distribution Center of Arab References, Sociologist, Social Worker; and Dorothy Rosenberg, Policy Advisor, Millennium Development Goals and Civil Society, Poverty Group, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The speakers agreed that the plight of poverty-stricken older persons should be included in the Millennium Development Goals, and emphasized that older people continued to be active participants in societies around the world, and were often primary caregivers to the young, as was the case with grandparents and AIDS-orphans in sub-Saharan Africa.

During the event, there was a screening of "Supercentenarians, a slideshow of photographs from Jerry Friedman's book, Earth's Elders:  The Wisdom of the World's Oldest People.  The programme ended with Jazzberry Jam, a musical piece featuring Carline Ray accompanied by Dotti Taylor.

Note:  Archived webcast of the event is available at  and/or .  DPI/NGO briefings are held every Thursday in the Dag Hamarskjöld Auditorium at the United Nations Secretariat.  For more information, please visit .

* *** *