Open-ended Working Group Discusses Ageing

On Friday, August 1st, 2014, member states met in the General Assembly to discuss ways to strengthen the rights of older persons through enhanced implementation of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA). Ms. Rosita Kornfeld-Matte, the Independent Expert of the Enjoyment of all Human Rights by Older Persons, led the discussion and answered various member states’ and NGOs’ questions and enquiries. Throughout her speeches, Ms. Kornfeld-Matte emphasized that it is not possible to do everything that needs to be done with regard to ageing in just three years. However, this does not mean actions should not be taken to defend the rights of older persons, women, disabled persons, and children. She promised that her organization will work with people to help vulnerable individuals. Many member states, including Uruguay, believe that there should be more binding aspects of MIPAA, as opposed to its current nonbinding properties. In their eyes, a binding mechanism will make it possible to generate an international standard for the treatment and rights of older persons. Many also believe that NGOs play an extremely crucial role in the area of older persons’ rights. This is because NGOs are the ones who tell member states what needs to be done, while working with and maintaining close contact with older persons. However, it was emphasized that member states need to be careful about working jointly with NGOs without paying close attention to the needs of older persons. According to member states, visibility of older persons is not nearly enough. The agenda also needs to include the right for people to bageinge as autonomous as possible until the very end of their lives. Preventive measures need to be taken so that people are not forced to live in nursing homes. The passion for older persons’ rights, as well as the motivation to work with all member states in achieving consensus on the “ageing” issue, were evident during this meeting. There were also a lot of questions asked and points made by NGO representatives, portraying the significance of civil society engagement in this issue. 

Meeting: Open-ended Working Group on Ageing – Fifth Working Session
Friday, August 1st, 2014
10:00 to 13:00
Conference Room 1 (CB), UN Headquarters, New York
Ms. Rosita Kornfeld-Matte, the Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of all Human Rights by Older Persons; Ms. Monica Roqué, Chair and Rapporteur of the 2014 Human Rights Council Social Forum; Representative of Costa Rica; Representative of Uruguay; Representative of China; Representative of the European Union; Representative of El Salvador; Representative of Brasil; Representative of Mexico; Representative of Chile; Representative of National Association of the Community of Central Australia (NGO); Representative of High Age International (NGO); Representative of the Grey Panthers (NGO)
Written by WIT Representative:
Suzy Hallak

The Development, Transfer, and Dissemination of Clean and Environmentally Sound Technologies


Today, a meeting was convened to discuss the development, transfer, and dissemination of clean and environmentally sound technologies in order to inform the General Assembly on options for technology facilitation mechanisms. The moderator, H.E. Mr. Patriota, began the panel discussion by giving a statement on the progress made in environmentally sound technology inclusion in the Open Working Group of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The outcome document recognizes the importance of technology in the SDGs, with 19 targets in 11 different goals dedicated to promoting the development and transfer of sustainable technologies.

Following, H.E. Mr. Seger of Switzerland gave a statement on how the president of the General Assembly suggested that a procedural resolution would be welcomed to provide the basis for the continuation ofthese discussions on sustainable technology implementation.

Next, ASG Mr. Gass from DESA spoke about how the UN can support existing technology mechanisms, build on existing legal frameworks, and facilitate additional access to information about technologies. He recommended three options: improve information and mapping of existing technology facilitation activities, increase synergies and coherenceamong existing facilities, and conduct an analysis of technology needs and gaps in order to address them.

Furthermore, Mr. Christensen, the Senior Partnerships Advisor for the Executive Office of the SG, stated how multi stakeholder coalitions, including private sector and non-state actors, are necessary for effective technology dissemination. “When we bring multiple stakeholders together, thesum is bigger than each of its parts; each of these partnerships have technology transfer components,” he said.

Concluding the panel discussion, Professor Naboth van den Broek from Georgetown spoke about the private sector view on technology development and transfer, and the elements which are important from a private sector perspective when thinking about international technology dissemination. The key factors he highlighted include how technology solutions tend to be local, the challenge of the lack of technology infrastructure in the developing world, the need for a stable and predictable legal and regulatory environment, the need for education and capacity building on the ground, and the barriers to markets and trade like existing tariffs on clean technology products in certain developing countries. These factors affect the extent to which a private company can engage in local partnerships for sustainable technology solutions.


Meeting Title: Fourth Structured Dialogue of the General Assembly to Consider Possible Arrangements for the Facilitation Mechanism to Promote the Development, Transfer, and Dissemination of Clean and Environmentally Sound Technologies
Speakers: H.E. Mr. Guilherme de Aguiar Patriota, Deputy Permanent Representative of Brazil; H.E. Mr. Paul Seger, Permanent Representative of Switzerland; Mr. Thomas Gass, Assistant Secretary General (ASG), Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA); Mr. Thomas Christensen, Senior Partnerships Advisor, Executive Office of the Secretary General; Professor Naboth van den Broek, Georgetown University
Date: 23 July 2014
Location: Trusteeship Council, United Nations HQ, New York
Written By WIT Representative: Marli Kasdan