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  • Michelle Arnot

GPNYC VP, Michelle Arnot, Delivers Remarks at the UN General Assembly, July 10, 2023

I am Michelle Arnot, representing Gray Panthers NYC, a member of the Stakeholder Group on Ageing.

There is no doubt COVID19 has exacerbated what was already an untenable situation with respect to implementation of the SDGs. Even before the pandemic it was clear that many targets will not be met by 2030, and ECOSOC reports only 12 percent of targets are on track.

Let us never forget---never-- that older persons represent the vast majority of Covid related deaths around the world.

Further, older persons are disproportionately suffering from conflict, climate change and natural disasters. At what age are we considered of no value? At what age are we less deserving? Ageism is prejudice against our future selves.

Member states are here today to ensure that no one is left behind. Everyone in this room aspires to become an older person. With an adequate income, a roof over our heads, food on the table and medical care we can hope for a long life.

Yet we know there are tens of millions of older persons around the world in poverty, suffering because their governments have failed them. In some cases civil society has stepped up where governments have forsaken those in need. However, often civil society is considered an enemy of the State since we shine a light on government shortcomings.

We have heard from our moderator that we must sound the alarm.

Mr. Mercredi urged more resources and preventive measures.

We all know what it takes to have equitable, inclusive and sustainable societies – we have seen the reports, read the data and heard recommendations. What seems to be lacking is respect for humankind.

If we cannot agree on how to move forward here at the United Nations, where else do we turn to ensure that people of all ages can live a life of dignity everywhere, no matter their economic and social situation?

We do not need any more recommendations.

What we need is action – now.

The rights of Older Persons must be protected.


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