As part of this year’s Global Intergenerational Week (24 – 30 April)1, the Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Future Generations Commissioner for Wales and Older People’s Commissioner for Wales have joined forces to highlight the importance of solidarity between generations as we deal with the challenges we face as a society.
They say there are many common issues and concerns shared across generations, and that opportunities for people of different ages to come together to share knowledge, experiences and ideas are crucial to help tackle problems and strengthen our communities.
They are also encouraging everyone to work together to end the discourse that pits generations against each other, so that more energy is focused on uniting society to deliver change and progress.
Children’s Commissioner for Wales, Rocio Cifuentes, said:
From food poverty to climate change, I’m hearing regularly from children and young people about the importance of taking action on these issues, and of working with people of all ages and backgrounds to achieve this.
“Going around Wales, I’ve seen so many brilliant examples of intergenerational solidarity and communities working together to meet shared challenges, and I think we should be celebrating and supporting this.”
Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, Derek Walker, said:
“Wales is a place where all people should, by law, be supported to thrive, no matter their age, background or circumstances.
“Collaborating with all generations, listening and ensuring their voices are heard, can help us combat loneliness, break down barriers, find long-term, community-based solutions to our problems and create a Wales we can all be proud of for generations to come.
“There’s already some fantastic intergenerational projects happening across Wales, but we need to see this action being supported more widely. I urge all public bodies to involve all generations in their work as they use the Well-being of Future Generations Act to leave behind a liveable planet for our children and grandchildren.”
Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Heléna Herklots CBE, said:
“By bringing different generations together, we can build stronger, more cohesive communities that support us all to age well and enable people of all generations to reach their potential. This will be crucial as we deal with the challenges ahead of us in both the short- and longer-term.
“But too often we see issues being framed in a way that stokes conflict between generations, which acts as a barrier to moving forward and making improvements that would benefit us all.
“On an issue like Climate Change, for example, we know that levels of concern are broadly similar across all generations, yet this is not reflected in the coverage we see. Instead, discussion and debate is often wrongly focused around alleged tensions between different age groups about the need to tackle this issue, rather than on how we can take forward the policies and action needed.
“We can achieve so much more when we are united, when people from different generations work together and learn from each other – as we’ve seen through the work of the Senedd Cross Party Group on Intergenerational Solidarity2 – so I’m pleased to be working with the other Commissioners to highlight why building solidarity between generations and creating more opportunities for generations to come together is so important.”
1 Global Intergenerational Week aims to inspire individuals, groups, organisations, local/national government, and NGOs to fully embrace intergenerational practice, and provides opportunities to identify creative and effective new ways of connecting generations. More information here: https://generationsworkingtogether.org/global-intergenerational-week
2 The Senedd Cross Party Group on Intergenerational Solidarity was established in November 2020 to promote solidarity and understanding between generations, including projects that bring younger and older generations together, and to explore evidence and develop policy proposals that would benefit both younger and older generations. More information here: https://business.senedd.wales/mgOutsideBodyDetails.aspx?ID=695