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The Administrator for the Administration for Community Living and Assistant Secretary for Aging Announces Adoption of the United Nation's Economic Commission on Europe Ministerial Declaration

HHS Administrator for the Administration for Community Living and Assistant Secretary for Aging, Kathy Greenlee, who served as the Head of the U.S. Delegation, announced the adoption of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Ministerial Declaration, “Ensuring A Society for all Ages: Promoting Quality of Life and Active Ageing.” This declaration was negotiated and agreed to by the assembly of member countries at the 2012 UNECE Ministerial Conference on Ageing held in Vienna, Austria, September 19-20, 2012. The declaration reaffirms the commitments made in the Ministerial Declarations in Berlin in 2002 and in Leon, Spain in 2007 to implement the Regional Implementation Strategy of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA) adopted at the Madrid World Assembly on Ageing.

Assistant Secretary Greenlee provided the U.S. statement during the ministerial session of the closing day of the assembly. In her statement, she indicated that under the leadership of President Obama, the U.S. reaffirms its commitment to the themes addressed by the MIPAA. Ms. Greenlee reported that ten years following the adoption of the MIPAA, the U.S. has continued to make significant progress toward addressing the objectives of MIPAA. Of particular note, are the successful reforms of the health care system made possible by the Affordable Care Act.

In addition, Greenlee highlighted the importance of focusing on elder abuse, neglect and exploitation as a means of protecting vulnerable seniors and assisting them to maintain health and financial security; the goals of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act to dedicate resources to research and services to address the issues faced by many older individuals and their families; and the creation of the Administration for Community Living within DHHS to further enhance community living opportunities for older individuals and people with disabilities. Further, Ms. Greenlee spoke about the wide diversity of people living in the U.S. and the importance of forums like those sponsored by the U.N. to enhance learning and to collaborate as we strive to address and to be sensitive to the cultural differences and uniqueness of our diverse populations.

Click here for additional information on the conference and the final declaration agreed to by the member countries, visit the UNECE website. Click here for the Assistant Secretary's Ministerial Statement