UNPFII: Independence, Autonomy and Rights of Older Persons in the African Context

Statement by Chargé d'affaires Marianne Loe at the side event on Independence, Autonomy and Rights of Older Persons in the African Context, 17 April 2019.

| Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues

Thank you to Argentina, Chad, Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa, OHCHR and the UN DESA for co-hosting this event.

It is a sign of success that more and more Africans enjoy longer lives. Increased life expectancy is a measure of increased welfare for all inhabitants.

We are impressed by the stories we have heard during the last couple of days of how various African countries are building up systems of social protection and security to provide health and care systems for their older inhabitants.   

A strong social protection system is for the benefit of all and is built on an inter-generational contract. We have a common interest across generations to ensure wellbeing for all.

Lifelong learning and access to health services are fundamental to achieve a society where no one is left behind, regardless of age. Gender equality pays off.

Norway is today a society with a robust social protection system. Furthermore, discrimination on the basis of age was recently prohibited as part of the new Norwegian discrimination law.

Still, many people of old age experience ageism and negative attitudes in their daily lives in Norway. There are both physical and invisible barriers that limit the degree to which older people can take full part in society.

I believe Norway has a lot to learn from African countries when it comes to how people of old age are treated with respect. We need to take further action to change our image of older people, and of being older, and change practices and actions.

I look forward to learn more from the presentations and the debate here today.

Thank you.