The United Nations must avoid being ageist
- Northern Ireland
- Republic of Ireland
In this month CARDI's guest blog, PETER LLOYD-SHERLOCK, School of Development Studies, University of East Anglia, sets out a plea to challenge the United Nations on their Sustainable Development Goals.
In September, all UN member states will sign a new treaty setting out the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). These will replace the Millennium Development Goals and will have a major influence on national and international policy for the next 15 years. One of the SDG targets is to reduce "premature mortality" from non-communicable disease (cancer, heart disease, stroke, etc.) by at least a third by 2030. Premature mortality is defined as dying before age 70 in the document. In other words, the target sends a strong message to all countries that they should deprioritise health care provision for people aged 70 and over. It also suggests that deaths of people aged 70 or over are less important than deaths of younger people.
There may still be time to change this ageist target. We are asking the UN to make a small change to the wording, by replacing "premature mortality" with "preventable mortality". The concept of premature mortality, which has come to the fore in the SDGs, has the potential to undermine the cherished, fundamental principle of health as a universal right for all. A SDG based on 'premature mortality' will drain resources from services of relevance to older people—services that are already woefully inadequate in many countries.
Policy makers have to make choices, and these choices are most demanding in settings of scarce resources. Rather than designing targets that explicitly exclude important population groups, would a policy that focuses on the key risk factors that contribute to easily prevented mortality in people of all ages not be better?
We are also calling on all UN member states to refuse to sign the SDG Treaty until this change is made. Public opinion matters here and the time to influence the UN is very limited.
So please share this link with your networks and try to persuade people to sign the petition.
Read more here: http://plloydsherlock.wix.com/ageist-sdg