Annan urges implementing global action plan on challenges of ageing population

Annan urges implementing global action plan on challenges of ageing population

Marking the International Day of Older Persons today, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan called for efforts to implement a global action plan aimed at meeting the challenges of the world's ageing population.

In his message on the Day, Mr. Annan said the convening in April of the Second World Assembly on Ageing in Madrid marked a "groundbreaking" development, and urged efforts to translate the meeting's International Plan of Action into reality.

That Plan calls on the international community to fully address the link between older persons and development, and challenges society's stereotypes about the elderly.

The document, noted Mr. Annan, also makes clear that ageing is not a problem but an achievement. Highlighting the holistic nature of the matter, he said, "it is not merely an issue of social security and welfare, but one of overall development and economic policy."

"The challenge before us now is to implement the Madrid Plan of Action and place global ageing firmly on the development agenda for this century," said Mr. Annan, stressing that "there is no time to lose." He pointed out that the older population of the year 2060 has already been born and will "occupy an unprecedented share of the world's total population."

Mr. Annan said that the Plan provided a broad spectrum of social, political and economic recommendations to improve the conditions of older people, but that now, all must join the effort to craft a "new era for ageing in the twenty-first century."