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Joint Nordic statement on the rights of the elderly

Mr. President,

I have the honour to make this statement on behalf of Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and my own country Iceland. 

Allow me to thank Ms. Kornfeld-Matte for her presentation and report. We also complement her for working with the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities on supporting the autonomy of older persons with disabilities. Such cooperation across mandates is exemplary.

Mr. President,

The Nordic population is growing. The average age of the population is also increasing, requiring the full implementation of existing obligations to ensure that the enjoyment of human rights for all is guaranteed. 

We fully support the work of the Independent Expert and are pleased to engage with her here today and in many other forums where we address the full enjoyment of human rights by older persons.

Mr. President,
We are proud of our Nordic welfare model that promotes equality through state policies that ensure universal access to education, health care and social protection through life. The basic values underpinning the model are compassion, tolerance and the conviction that all humans are of equal worth.

That does not mean, however, that there are no challenges in the region. The ability to continually adapt to new challenges is a prerequisite for preserving the Nordic model and for coming up with innovative new welfare solutions.

We therefore particularly welcome the focus of the report of the Independent Expert on social exclusion of older persons. We have seen many of the key recommendations pay dividend in our countries in reducing exclusion, such as universal pension coverage that includes both a contributory pillar and social pensions delinked from formal work. This is especially important for women who still tend to have shorter work lives and lower salaries.

We therefore ask the Independent Expert, how can we ensure the implementation of existing rights and recommendations, such as to social security for older persons, without discrimination of any kind and within the existing human rights framework?

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