Dear Members and Friends of the European Federation of Older Persons!
First of all I hope that you and your families have been able to start the new year joyfully and in an optimistic mood. At the same time I wish you all a happy, interesting and reasonably healthy 2017 – as a good basis to energetically and successfully implement your life plans during the next 12 month and go on being an important and honoured actor in your family, in the circle of your friends as well as in society at large.
While present political, social and economic processes do not always produce results to our full liking, our own organisation – the European Federation of Older Persons – can look back to an excellent development during the last year:
We had two very good, well attended and forward looking General Council meetings in Ljubljana and in Bratislava where we experienced high recognition of our common work and could enjoy great hospitality rendered by our local friends and by public institutions.
We have very successfully finished our cooperation with high-level partners in the research project of the European Union named “Social Innovation on Active and Healthy Ageing for Sustainable Economic Growth”, SIforAGE, to which EURAG has contributed number of scientific and strategic papers. The project has ended with a remarkable international conference in Barcelona in October last and has published, on the initiative of EURAG, a White Paper titled “Making Choices for a Society for All Ages” in 9 languages. For more details see below.
In this context EURAG has continued its substantive reflection work within the NGO Committee on Ageing at the United Nations in Vienna – in particular on issues of participation of older persons in society – and has arranged, through its good contacts, for a conference of SIforAGE in the European Parliament titled “Towards ‘A Europe For All Ages’ – Social Innovation Strategies for Active and Healthy Ageing Policies in the European Union”.
In the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, the UNECE, we have served as representative of civil society dealing with ageing matters in the “Working Group on Ageing” and continued to advise governments of the 56 member states on crucial issues in European ageing society. In addition EURAG has also provided specific information and council to countries that are about to revise their ageing strategies and are looking for successful models of cooperation with civil society representing older persons or advocating for them.
Last but not least at all, the European Federation of Older Persons has again considerably grown in membership. We are happy and proud to warmly welcome again all the organisations and individuals who have joined our organisation over the year – and look forward to a close cooperation with them.
All these achievements would not have been possible without the constant involvement of all member organisations and individual members of EURAG together with the dedicated and efficient support of the EURAG Presidium – in particular the two Vice-Presidents and the Secretary General. I address my warmest thanks to all for this trustful cooperation, the remarkable initiatives taken and their on-going strong support.
For this new year 2017 we have again very ambitious plans that I would like to indicate just very briefly:
We shall have again two General Council meetings and a General Assembly – first in early May in Darlówko/Poland and later at the end of September/beginning October in Vienna/Austria. At the meetings in Vienna we will also celebrate the 55th anniversary of EURAG, the oldest transnational civil society organisation on ageing issues, and have a joint event with the UN Vienna NGO Committee on Ageing for the United Nations’ International Day on Ageing.
EURAG will also continue to assume the vice-chairmanship of the NGO Committee on Ageing Vienna and provide substantial leadership and input for the political and strategic work of this important alliance.
As to the “Working Group on Ageing” of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe we shall go on being represented not only in the working group but also in its Bureau. In addition the EURAG President will chair a Preparatory Committee responsible for the planning and implementation of the NGO section of a Civil Society Forum that is part of the 4th UNECE Ministerial Conference on Ageing of the 56 member states of the UNECE.
Another major activity will be the largest possible dissemination of the SIforAGE White Paper titled “Making Choices for a Society for All Ages” that has been conceived with major contributions from your President and is produced in 9 languages. It discusses in around 30 chapters key issues related to ageing in European society and proposes 138 recommendations to decision makers having responsibilities in shaping the future of society – may they be politicians, administrators, market actors, civil society leaders, or decision makers in science and research.
This White Paper “Making Choices for a Society for All Ages” of about 140 pages now exists in the following language versions: English, French, German, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Portuguese and Spanish.
The SIforAGE White Paper can be found on the project’s official website. It is in the tab publications, with the link to it: http://www.siforage.eu/publications.php
The document will be downloaded in a pdf file and in a user friendly interface.
You may also find it through the social networks’ publication links:
For the social networks there is no need to have an account neither in Facebook nor in Twitter to access the information; however for LinkedIn you need to be registered.
I strongly recommend to you all to read this White Paper carefully and to use it in your communications with decision makers, to discuss it with colleagues and friends, to further disseminate it and to make the best possible use of it.
Finally and once more, I wish you personally, as well as your families and friends, a very good year and look forward to the great pleasure of meeting you again, of communicating with you and of advancing with you the issues that are important for the living situation of older persons and for society at large.
Receive my warm regards – et, bien amicalement à vous.
Kronberg, 16 January 2017 Dirk Jarré, President of EURAG