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Sustainable Development: For Older Person

Prasamsa Shrestha                                                                                                                         25 Sep 2018

Sustainable Development: For Older Person

Considering the global problems “Poverty, Inequality and Climate Change”, 193 Member States of the United Nations adopted Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development-a set of 17 goals aiming to transform the world over the next 15 years,on 25th September 2015.

Nepal, being the least developed country with the population of about 30 million is an active member of the global initiative for sustainable development. Its development plans and programmes are geared towards the implementation of Sustainable Development Agenda whereas its target to achieve the SDGs has fortified the country’s drive to the path of prosperity.

SDGs and Old Age

According to data from World Population Prospects: the 2017 Revision, the number of Older person (60 years or over) is expected to more than double by 2050 and to more than triple by 2100, rising from 962 million globally in 2017 to 2.1 billion in 2050.

SDGs do not stand alone. Its achievement of one goal has implication on others. Therefore, if older person are left behind, SDGs cannot achieved with its major theme of “Leaving No one Behind”. These goals are comprehensive and challenging which demand huge resources, efforts across countries and inclusion of people of all ages.

Issues & Challenges

Even though SDGs has been focusing on the pledge ‘Leaving no one behind’, Nepal lacks targets focusing particularly on older person. Most of the older people compel to suffer from poverty, poor health care and undernourishment. Although government has set target to address the nutritional needs of adolescent girls, pregnant, lactating women and children, there are no specific interventions mentioned or planned particularly for older persons.

Furthermore, SDG 3 lacks the target and indicators for the healthy life of older person. People are still unaware about geriatric health. A concern to Reproductive health has always concentrated on child bearing women although its consequences are seen mostly in older age.

Many studies have revealed that globally one in six elder face abuse. In Nepal, a majority of the elders even do not realize that they are being abused. It is estimated that each year about 4000 older people suffer from elder abuse in Nepal. Similarly, when catastrophic earthquake hit Nepal in 2015, there were no emergency preparedness services for older people. Older persons are extremely vulnerable in such emergency situation but still their concerns are being ignored.

Nepal has been addressing the issues of gender inequality since decades. But because of the long history of gender inequality that prevailed in Nepali society, most of the women are now illiterate in their older age. The present day society is prohibitive to illiterates especially older people alienating them from mainstream of society. To address this issue, Ageing Nepal – a NGO – piloted Basic Literacy Class for Older Persons in 2016 with support from UN Committee of Ageing. Despite the success achieved and replications made, literacy for older person is not yet included in any educational programme of the government. This leads to conclude that older persons are left behind as far as SDG 4 is concerned.

SDGs have provided an important platform for Nepal to address many developmental issues including concerns of older persons. It has given opportunity to identify elder issues through research and implement evidence based policies and programmes. Therefore, it is high time for our Government to achieve sustainable development goals ensuring betterment of older person.

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