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Identifying good practices on using data for policy and advocacy on ageing

Population ageing is poised to become one of the most significant social transformations of the 21st century. Virtually every country is experiencing growth in the number and proportion of older people in the population. More than ever, there is need for good quality data on older people to support evidence-based policy dialogue, planning and programming.

HelpAge International, with funding support from the United Nations Population Fund, therefore requested Development Pathways to conduct a research project on good practices and barriers in the use of data for policy and advocacy on ageing.

The research report (available below) shows that the supply and comparability of data on ageing is improving, and that web-based portals and repositories are making it easier to access information. International development agencies, NGOs and civil society are also increasingly using data to influence agenda-setting and demand greater policy action for older people. However, national policies and plans of actions on ageing are insufficiently informed by data. Planning and policy-making is often done in the absence of data, because of a lack of sufficient timely data, because existing data are not disseminated or available in a format appropriate for policy makers and/or because policy makers lack the motivation and skills to use data.

Recommendations were made for overcoming barriers and promoting the wider use of data in policy development. We also developed four case studies on specific thematic areas: violence, abuse and neglect of older people; non-communicable diseases and ageing; social pensions; and national policies for older persons.