75 UNGA: Statement by the Cuban delegation at the general discussion of the 11th session of the United Nations. Open-ended Working Group on Ageing. New York, 29 March 2021

Madam Chair,

The work of the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing is of great significance for Cuba. Population ageing is one of the most complex socio-demographic challenges facing our country.

Thanks to the work of the Revolution in favor of the health and well-being of its population´s, today life expectancy in Cuba is 78.45 years; and by 2030, 30 percent of our population is expected to be 60 years old or older.

These positive results pose, at the same time, important challenges for a small developing country like Cuba, which is also subject to six decades of economic, commercial and financial blockade by the United States that has been tightened in times of pandemic, directly affecting older persons and making it difficult to meet their specific needs.

In this regard, care and protection for the elderly, as a shared responsibility between the family, the community and the State, is part of the efforts to update our development model, improve our legal-institutional framework, respond to the pandemic and recover from it.

Madam Chair,

Before COVID-19, senior citizens were already common victims of poverty, malnutrition, lack of medical care, prohibitive medication prices and economic insecurity.

However, the socio-economic crisis generated by the pandemic risks a significant worsening of the situation of millions of older people, including in highly developed countries, as social protection and social security programs are often the first to be sacrificed in fiscal adjustment packages.

Therefore, in this context, respect for human rights in old age should be promoted, and an environment should be created that enhances all the capabilities, autonomy and independence of the elderly.

To this end, we support efforts to develop a comprehensive and integral legally binding international instrument to promote and protect the rights and dignity of older persons. This would allow dealing in greater depth and breadth with areas not sufficiently addressed in current norms, including those contained in the United Nations human rights conventions and those developed by the practice of the human rights treaty bodies.

Cuba is fully willing to participate in that endeavor in order to contribute to ageing with quality of life and dignity for all.

Thank you.