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IFA Virtual Town Hall Chat Summary 1 May 2020

The following chat summary is from the IFA Virtual Town Hall on 1 May 2020 with Ms. Peggy Hicks sharing a human rights perspective.
Watch the full town hall recording here:


Resources and connections

  • UN Secretary-General Policy Brief:
  • UNHCR Guidance Note on Age, Gender and Diversity Considerations in COVID-19 Response that considers the rights of older persons living in forced displacement:
  • Regional Geriatric Programs of Ontario Campaign “Social Distancing Yes – Social Isolation No”
  • ROSEnet COST ACTION “Combatting exclusions and ageism for older people during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Four Key Messages”:




Leadership and Accountability

  • Leadership is a necessary action to bring about changes in responses to the pandemic and beyond. It critical that Members States respond to this call to step up their efforts.  What can be done to make that happen?
  • How to be sure that any recommendation will be actually practiced and implemented? How to observe and evaluate?
  • One of the best mechanisms in this subject is social protection. There are some legal international instruments in social protection, but there are gaps between theory and implementation.  How can we solve this issue?


Inclusion of older people in consultations and responses

  • How will OHCHR include older persons and their rights in the capacity building activities at regional and national levels?
  • Agree that the need now is to work with UN Country Teams. UNFPA priority is supporting the UN Resident coordinators to mobilize UN Country Teams to advocate for the rights, health and protection of older persons together with WHO, OHCHR and civil society.
  • We are particularly concerned about the case fatality rate in residential care settings in our region and are scaling up UN responses across the region.
  • How can we support to make the next meeting of the UN OEWG on Ageing happen? How can we make it a priority of the UN?
  • Need to make sure that older people are included in the next humanitarian response plan itself.


Long Term Care

  • In Canada 79% of the deaths are in long-term care. Current protection is clearly inadequate. Canadian NGOs are working together at home and at the OEWG to push Canada to support a UN Convention. Are there other opportunities at other UN Organizations to push the Canadian Government to do the right thing.
  • In the Philippines 70% of the COVID-19 fatality older adults, how can this be mitigated going forward?


Digital Technology

  • Support the idea and programs to launch “digital literacy class for ageing population” across the world as part of the national education systems of all countries.
  • In doing so, we need to be aware that a majority of older persons in developing countries may not be literate, particularly older women.  So, we need to provide letter and number literacy first before pushing ahead with “digit literacy for older adults”.


Data and Surveillance

  • Are disaggregated statistics available which show the proportion of ethnic minorities that areCOVID-19 victims?
  • ILC (International Longevity Centre) has some helpful data on the disparate impact on different ethnic communities.
  • Would it be helpful to compile the poignant cases of how older persons’ human rights are being violated during this pandemic and therefore make very strong case for a Convention?
  • Is there an opportunity to prepare a brief report on the recent experiences and recommendations of this international community on older people?



  • Repeated concerns from journalists on how can we (better) protect older people without calling “them” a risk group (also as the risks lay with obesity, inflammatory conditions, etc. rather than age). Any suggestions how to deliver the messages without being ageist?
  • Any suggestions on addressing stigmatization of older people during COVID-19 pandemic?



  • Recommendation to take initiative to work both with regional development banks as well as with World Bank as there is interest now in including ageing issues into their plans. A lot of financing is now going to COVID-19 activities, which presents a big opportunity now.


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