Older people can make invaluable contribution to development – Annan

1 October 2003

Older people represent a powerful but untapped resource for society and can make an invaluable contribution to achieving the goals set by the United Nations Millennium Summit of halving many of the world’s ills by 2015, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today in a message marking the International Day of Older Persons.

Older people represent a powerful but untapped resource for society and can make an invaluable contribution to achieving the goals set by the United Nations Millennium Summit of halving many of the world’s ills by 2015, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today in a message marking the International Day of Older Persons.

“Every one of us can help build bridges between generations by embracing the skills of older persons, whether in community or family affairs, agriculture or urban entrepreneurship, education, technology or the arts, poverty reduction or peacebuilding,” Mr. Annan said.

“The challenge before us is to bring the invaluable attributes of older people out of obscurity and into step with other instruments of development – including the work to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, our blueprint for building a better world in the twenty-first century,” he added.

The goals aim to cut poverty and hunger around the globe in half by 2015 and improve access to education and health services.

“On this International Day of Older Persons, let us vow to make the most of the powerful resource that older persons represent in the work for development,” Mr. Annan concluded.

Meanwhile, the President of the General Assembly, Julian Hunte of St. Lucia, issued a statement noting that the number of persons aged 60 or older was estimated to be 629 million, representing one in every ten persons.

“Let us now reaffirm our commitment to embrace older persons as a most cherished resource, with an essential contribution to make to social, economic and cultural development,” Mr. Hunte said. “Let us undertake to work with them to tap their wisdom, experience and skills in the building of our communities and societies.”

 

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