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Participation of the representatives of the Red Cross of Serbia at the Ministerial Conference on Ageing, Rome, Italy


The Fifth Ministerial Conference on Ageing, entitled “A Sustainable Society for All Ages: Joining Forces for Solidarity and Equal Opportunities for Life”, was held in Rome from 15 to 17 June 2022, organized by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). The first day of the conference, June 15, was organized as a Forum of Civil Society Organizations and Researchers, at which a Declaration was adopted:

During the Forum, the importance of long-term care was discussed, especially in light of the pandemic that shed new light on the need to protect the rights of older persons and recognize the contribution of informal caregivers who represent a significant segment in the field of support for older persons. It was especially emphasized that research in this area is necessary, as well as a special fight against ageism and violence against older persons.

For the next two days, representatives of governments spoke about the implementation of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA), especially from the aspect of twenty years since the Second World Assembly on Ageing and the implementation of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing and five years since the Lisbon Ministerial Conference. Progress was discussed, but also problems in implementation. This conference was held in the light of observing the World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, June 15, but also the beginning of the Decade of Healthy Aging, which was proclaimed by the World Health Organization.

The Rome Ministerial Declaration was also adopted. This declaration reaffirms the commitment of Member States to the implementation of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Aging and its regional implementation strategy. It confirms that significant progress has been made in the last five years in recognizing the potential of older persons, encouraging longer working lives and ensuring dignified aging. It is recognized that many challenges remain in terms of social protection, long-term care or the labour market, as well as greater progress in health promotion, participation of older persons in society and policy making, ageing environment, intergenerational solidarity, ageism and recognising the role of older persons in emergencies and conflict situations.

As in previous Ministerial Conferences, representatives of the Red Cross of Serbia participated in the conference, as well as in special side-events. Natasa Todorovic from the Red Cross of Serbia participated as a panelist in an event organized by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, INPEA, on June 17, where she spoke about the results of a recent research study in the countries of the Western Balkans region, Moldova and Ukraine on violence against older women. In her speech, she particularly stressed the need to observe the entire life course of older persons and older women in order to identify the specific accumulated risks of specific types of violence and prevent them at different stages of life.

Representatives of the Red Cross of Serbia also met with Susan Somers, President of the International Networkfor Prevention of Elder Abuse,  Justin Derbyshire, CEO of HelpAge, Claudia Mahler, Independent Expert on the enjoyment of all human rights by older persons, and Maciej Kucharczyk, Secretary General of AGE Platform Europe

In addition, the Red Cross of Serbia had a poster presentation of the project “Strengthening the resilience of older persons and persons with disabilities during the COVID-19 crisis and future crises” funded by the European Union and the Austrian Development Agency, coordinated by the Red Cross of Serbia. This poster is a good example of how we can improve the quality of life of older persons in the Western Balkans region.