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Ageing Programme

Joint Programme on Rights, Health and Dignity of Older Persons

The COVID-19 pandemic has put a spotlight on the rights and health of older persons, demonstrating their increased vulnerability not only to the disease itself, but also to poverty, abuse, social isolation, discrimination and other situations that can take a dramatic toll on their physical well-being and mental health.

In an effort to use the global crisis to spur progress in building societies that protect and ensure the health, inclusion and dignity of people of all ages, UNFPA together with the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and HelpAge International have launched a new Joint Programme on Ageing that envisages collaborative action over the next three years (2020–2023) among agencies of the UN system and civil society stakeholders at regional and national level working closely with governments across Europe and Central Asia.

The Joint Programme supports countries in the region in strengthening the rights and dignity of older persons through improving health and social care provisions and enabling environments.

The programme will include activities at national and regional level and will support UN Country Teams’ active role in engaging national governments, civil society actors and older persons in the following three principle areas:

Enhancing preparedness and emergency response to mitigate the risks for older persons during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic;

Supporting the delivery of person-centred integrated health and social care for older people beyond the COVID-19 pandemic in the context of demographic and epidemiologic change in Europe and Central Asia to ensure ageing with dignity; and

Changing the narrative, promoting the human rights of older persons and creating participatory and enabling environments.

The Joint Programme builds on UNFPA’s existing work in the region, where it has been promoting the rights, protection and health of older persons for decades, and has played a leading role in advocating for the rights and health of older persons within the UN COVID-19 Response.

It forms part of UNFPA’s broader efforts to support countries in the region to strengthen their resilience in the face of rapid demographic change.

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