NGOs call on United Nations (UN) to reconsider discriminatory Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

25 June 2015 - In a letter published today in The Telegraph, Alzheimer's Disease International (ADI) joined other NGOs and academics in urging the UN to reconsider the wording of one of the SDGs, over concerns that a focus on "premature mortality" will encourage governments to deprioritise health care provision for people aged 70 and over.

Saving lives after 70

SIR – UN delegates meeting in New York this week have the opportunity to avoid discrimination being written into the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Target 3.4 reads: “By 2030 reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases.” Death before the age of 70 is described as “premature”. Therefore, the SDGs could exclude people over the age of 70, even though more than half of deaths from non-communicable diseases occur in this age group.

This definition would allow governments to deny prevention, cure or care to the majority of people suffering from heart disease, cancer, diabetes, lung disease and dementia. We ask the SDG negotiators to replace the discriminatory language of “premature” with “preventable” to send a clear signal that health care is a universal right and not a service determined by age.

Chris Roles
Director, Age International

Baroness Greengross
President and Chief Executive Officer, International Longevity Centre (UK)

Peter Lloyd-Sherlock
Professor of Social Policy and International Development, University of East Anglia

Caroline Abrahams
Charity Director, Age UK

Toby Porter
Chief Executive, HelpAge International

Martin McKee
Professor of European Public Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Shah Ebrahim
Honorary Professor of Public Health, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Desmond O'Neill
Director, Centre for Ageing, Neuroscience and the Humanities, Trinity College, Dublin Trinity College Dublin

Luigi Ferrucci
Scientific Director, National Institute of Ageing, USA

Rachel Pruchno
Director of Research, New Jersey Institute for Successful Ageing

Marc Wortmann
Chief Executive, Alzheimers Disease International

Jane Barratt
Secretary General, International Federation on Aging

Susan Somers
JD, President, International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse (INPEA)

Lia Daichman
President, International Longevity Center – Argentina

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