Over the next twenty years the number of older persons in the Caribbean will double. This ageing of the population has important implications for public policy in areas such as pensions, health and social care services. There is an urgent need to strengthen social protection against the risks associated with ageing, for example loss of income, ill health, disability, loss of independence, isolation and abuse. At the same time, with older persons making up an increasing proportion of the population, societies must embrace the contribution that older people can make to economic, social and family life.
International efforts to address population ageing are closely linked to the protection of the human rights of older persons which has become a subject of increasing concern to the international community over a number of years. In the San Jose Charter on the Rights of Older Persons in Latin America and the Caribbean, approved by the member States of ECLAC in 2012, representatives expressed support for a universal convention on the rights of older persons. In June 2015, the member states of the Organization of American States (OAS) approved the Inter-American Convention on Protecting the Human Rights of Older Persons.
The Caribbean Conference on Ageing, Elder Abuse and the Rights of Older Persons will be an important opportunity for representatives of Caribbean governments to come together with academic experts, professionals, and organizations representing older persons to collectively address issues related to ageing and human rights. We anticipate that the conference will serve to raise the profile of these issues across the subregion and orient the work of governments and non-governmental organizations towards the promotion and protection of the human rights of older persons.