HelpAge International which helps older people claim their rights, challenge discrimination and overcome poverty, so that they can lead dignified, secure, active and healthy lives signed a MOU with the African Union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The MOU has been necessitated by the recent Adoption of the African Protocol on the Rights of Older Persons by the African Heads of State and Governments during the 26th AU Summit.au-helpage-sign-mou

African Union Commission, HelpAge International sign pact to further rights of Older Persons

Addis Ababa, September 14: HelpAge International on Tuesday September 13th signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the African Union Commission with the aim of advancing the rights and well-being of older people and the ageing agenda in Africa.

The MoU highlights key areas of partnership where the two parties agree to work together to raise awareness and support members states and other institutions in the continent to develop evidence to inform policies that will effectively address the issues affecting older men and women.

The MoU comes soon after the adoption of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Older Persons in Africa, adopted in January 2016 during the 26th AU Summit of the Heads of States and Governments. The AU Protocol covers a range of fundamental rights for older persons and urges member states to work with key stakeholders and develop policies and programmes to address the key challenges facing older people in Africa.

“The MoU is as an important milestone in our work with the African Union and will pave the way for the HelpAge Network to engage the African Union and member states to promote the rights of older persons in Africa,” said Dr Prafulla Mishra, Regional Director, HelpAge International at the signing of the MoU.

He added that the MoU is another indication that the African Union Commission and its member states care for older persons in the continent. He further said the adoption of the AU Protocol gives an opportunity for member states to galvanise action that will support older persons in the continent to live a dignified life, enabling them continue to support families and communities and yet feel they are recognised, respected and still counted.

Speaking at the signing of the MoU, the Director of Social Affairs Department of the African Union Commission, Ambassador Olawale Maiyegun said addressing issues of older persons in Africa require concerted efforts and the MoU provides the basis for stronger partnership between the AU and key partners such as HelpAge.

“We must work together to ensure that the issues of older persons are highlighted and more importantly the Protocol on the rights of older persons is ratified and comes to force as soon as possible so that member states can be held accountable” Said Ambassador Maiyegun.

Signing the MoU, the Commissioner of Social Affairs of the African Union Commission, Dr. Mustapha Kaloko said that issues of older persons and people with disabilities are usually forgotten in a lot of discussions. He said there is a need for the African Union to ensure that these issues continue to be highlighted and ensuring that older people continue to be made relevant.

With the MoU, the African Union Commission and HelpAge International have agreed to continue close collaboration on a range of regional and global issues pertaining to protection and promotion of rights of older persons, such as furthering the AU Agenda 2063 and global Sustainable Development Goals.

The two parties will continue to work together under the framework of the MoU to lobby African parliaments and governments to ratify this Protocol that could offer respite to Africa’s estimated 66.5 million people aged 60. This number is predicted to reach 105 million by 2030[1].

[1] Calculated from World Population Prospects: 2015 Revision, http://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/

 

Henry Neondo

Regional Communications Coordinator,

HelpAge International,

Nairobi

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