Poor countries need help in managing ageing populations - Annan

1 October 2004

The global trend towards ageing populations will be felt most acutely in developing countries which have only limited resources to respond to the challenges involved, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today in observance of the International Day of Older Persons.

The global trend towards ageing populations will be felt most acutely in developing countries which have only limited resources to respond to the challenges involved, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan said today in observance of the International Day of Older Persons.

"The challenge will be to ensure that those countries do not experience the ageing of their societies as a burden, but derive from it added value and opportunities for development through an actively engaged older population," Mr. Annan said in a message on the Day, which is observed each year on 1 October.

This year's theme - "Older Persons in an Intergenerational Society" - recognizes the important role that older persons play in their families, communities and societies.

"Older persons suffer because of outdated stereotypes that depict them as frail and needing care," the 66-year old Secretary-General said. "What is overlooked is that many older persons, far from receiving care, actually provide care for others - as with grandparents who care for grandchildren while the parents go to work."

The Second World Assembly on Ageing, held two years ago in Madrid, marked a turning point in the international community's thinking by recognizing ageing as a global phenomenon which must be included in the international development agenda.

"Among its many recommendations, the Madrid Plan encouraged Governments to review policies to ensure generational equity, and to promote the idea of mutual support and solidarity between generations as key elements of social development," Mr. Annan said.

"Only in this way can we hope to build a truly intergenerational society," he concluded.

 

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