Agewell's Oral Statement at 2012 ECOSOC High Level Segment

2012 ECOSOC High Level Segment on

“Promoting productive capacity, employment and decent work to eradicate poverty in the context of inclusive, sustainable and equitable economic growth at all levels for achieving the MDGs"

Respected President, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Over the years we at Agewell Foundation in India have realized that the right to work assuring both the income security and dignity should be available to all who are capable of working. Large part of the world, even in 2012 remain dominated by manual labour. This is low income occupation and poverty persists for a majority of the people.  While looking at employment and decent work in the context of both rights and employability, we invite governments to factor in the issue of AGE. Most countries in the world today are experiencing a gradual demographic transition from younger to older in their population pyramid. This is the time to project value that we all place on Ageing as a continuing resource.

Changes in economic policy and shifts in both public and private sector demands, challenge a workforce whose existing skills and capabilities may be losing value. In today’s world re-tooling opportunities are not available to everyone and even change of work does not guarantee a ‘decent’ work alternative. Most people in the world have to settle for whatever they can get. In today’s scenario where material resources are not assured, can the older worker be the ‘part’ of the resource rather than be regarded as a liability or a welfare recipient?

Among those driven to compromise is the older generation of workers. Their foothold in inclusive, sustainable and equitable economic growth is precarious, with both age and out-paced skills going against them. 

Pledged to inclusive social and economic justice for all, most of the world is shifting towards liberalization, and the private sector – industry and commerce – operates in a market it increasingly controls…. Still a larger proportion of people remain poor, with work and income security at a subsistence level.  With most old people seeking income security and viable occupation in the unorganized sector, the essential question may not be retention but redesigned utilization. Developing countries must pursue this possibility as an investment doorway, not as ‘kindness’

Billions in the world today are working with very poor returns, and the  worst-off, with the least bargaining capacity, are ageing workers

In bypassing the continuing potential of older workers, nations may be losing an available resource. There is a need for both realism and creativity in national strategy for productive employment. India and other countries should be encouraged to consult the very generation that is silently witnessing a period it could actually enrich.

Thank you very much.  +91 98100 30979
Himanshu Rath : - Founder – Agewell Foundation 

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