population of Asia and the Pacific is projected to reach 5.7 billion, more than half of the world’s
the year 2050. The number of older persons in the region is expected to rise dramatically, and by
year 2025 the region will have 56 per cent of the world’s older persons. The
rapid ageing of populations and the growing cohort of older persons have
particular implications for the socio-economic development of the countries
in the region. Furthermore, the social issues associated with population
ageing and their impact on society are often underestimated and thus not
adequately dealt with.
UN General Assembly, in its resolution 47/5
of 1992 on the Proclamation on Ageing, decided to observe 1999 as the International
Year of Older Persons with the theme "Towards a society for all ages."
The General Assembly invites the regional commissions to bear in mind the
goals of the Year in convening regional meetings in 1998 and 1999 at which
to mark the Year and formulate action plans on ageing for the twenty-first
century. It also encourages relevant UN departments, bodies and specialized
agencies to support national and international programmes and projects
for the Year.
the regional level, the 1994 Manila Declaration and Agenda for Action on
Social Development in the ESCAP region calls for efforts to bring the active
older persons into the development stream and meet the basic needs of the rural
and urban elderly who lack social security. Supportive action is also called
for in ESCAP resolution 54/5, International
Year of Older Persons: Towards a society for all ages. In response to these
mandates, ESCAP Secretariat activities on behalf of older persons and in
preparation for the Year are underway.
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United Nations Principles for Older Persons
1990, the UN General Assembly designated 1 October as the "International
Day of Older Persons." In 1991, the Assembly adopted the "United
Nations Principles for Older Persons", resolution
46/91, encouraging Governments to incorporate them into national programmes
whenever possible. The Principles call for action in many areas, among
Older persons should have access to food, water, shelter, clothing, health
care, work and other income-generating opportunities, education, training,
and a life in safe environments.
Older persons should remain integrated into community life and participate
actively in the formulation of policies affecting their well-being.
Older persons should have access to social and legal services and to health
care so that they can maintain an optimum level of physical, mental and
emotional well-being. This should include full respect for dignity, beliefs,
needs and privacy.
persons should have access to educational, cultural, spiritual and recreational
resources and be able to develop their full potential.
Older persons should be able to live in dignity and security, be free of
exploitation and physical or mental and be treated fairly regardless of
age, gender and racial or ethnic background.
a society for all ages
that the ageing of the world's population "represents an unparalleled,
but urgent, policy and programme challenge to Governments, non-governmental
organizations and private groups", the United Nations General Assembly
in its resolution 47/5 decided that the year
1999 be observed as the "International Year of Older Persons".
population ageing is proceeding more rapidly in developing regions, the
international community has further urged Governments to consider policies
and programmes for older persons "as part of overall development strategies."
respect to national policies, the Proclamation on Ageing, contained in
that same resolution, proposes that "the entire population" be engaged
in "preparing for later stages in life", and that "old and young generations
cooperate in creating a balance between tradition and innovation in economic,
social and cultural development."
"Conceptual framework of a programme for the preparation and observance
of the International Year of Older Persons in 1999", presented by the United
Nations Secretary-General to the 50th General Assembly (document 50/114),
introduced four facets for further exploration, an overall objective and
a unifying theme.
four facets of the conceptual framework include:
The situation of older persons; (2) life-long individual development; (3)
multi-generational relationships; and (4) development and the ageing of
Year's unifying theme is "Towards a Society for All Ages". This concept
grew out of the broader notion of a "society for all" promoted by the World
Summit for Social Development in Copenhagen in March 1995, attended by
117 Heads of State and Government.
Copenhagen Programme of Action, adopted at the World Summit for Social
Development in March 1995, urges Governments to make "particular efforts"
to protect older persons by: (1) creating a financial environment
that encourages people to save for their old age; (2) strengthening measures
and mechanisms to ensure that retired persons do not fall into poverty,
taking into account their contribution to the development of their countries;
and (3) encouraging and supporting cross-generational participation in policy and
programme development and in decision-making bodies at all levels.
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