I thank you for your excellent leadership as the Chair of the Open-ended Working Group on Aging. You can count on my delegation’s full support in your work.
Bangladesh aligns itself with the statement of G-77 and China. In my national capacity, allow me to highlight two points:
First: In Bangladesh, higher life expectancy has resulted in increased percentage of elderly population. Nearly 14 million people in Bangladesh are above the age of 60, which is a 57% more than the number in 1991.
We see older persons, not as burden, rather as assets for our society. Their knowledge, experience and perspectives offer valuable inputs to our efforts to achieve sustainable development goals. Our societal structure and family values allow natural benevolence for the elderly and they are taken care of by the family.
Yet, older persons, specially those stricken by poverty often face neglect and challenges. We have adopted a National Policy on Ageing in 2013 and a National Action Plan for its implementation. The Maintenance of the Parents Act 2013 has been enacted for protection of parents in their old age. The National Social Security Policy of 2006 and the Social Security Strategy of 2015 ensure inclusion of older persons to social security benefits, which also ensures inclusion of women, people with disability and other vulnerable groups.
In last 10 years, the number of beneficiaries of the old age allowance has been increased by 2.53 times the budgetary allocation by 4.25 times. The Parliament has passed a Universal Pension Management Bill in January this year to allow all Bangladeshi nationals aged from 18 to 50 years to participate in national pension scheme.
We have created enabling environment for the NGOs and other civil society actors to promote rights of the elderly people in the areas of their participation in policy-making, life-long learning, access to government services, access to justice, and addressing violence against them.
Second: Bangladesh is fully committed to the promotion human rights of older persons. The Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of all Human Rights by Older Persons Ms. Claudia MAHLER visited Bangladesh last year and exchanged views with the Government, civil society and other stakeholders.
We recognize the importance of 2012 Madrid Plan of Action as well as the recommendations of this Open Ended Working Group in guiding age inclusive policies and measures at the national level. However, we believe a more comprehensive analysis of gaps is needed to address all aspects of the rights of older persons.
We are happy to be part of a group of countries that introduced a draft decision contained in document A/AC.278/2023/L.1 to initiative an intergovernmental process for identification of possible gaps in the protection of the human rights of older persons and how best to address them.
We call upon the member States to cosponsor the decision and support its adoption in the current session.
I thank you.