Message by the UN Secretary General António Guterres. International Day of Older Persons 1st October 2023

Message by the UN Secretary General António Guterres. International Day of Older Persons 1st October 2023

Category : Message 70 en

“This year’s International Day of Older Persons coincides with the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

To realize the promise of the Declaration, we must do more to protect the dignity and rights of older persons everywhere.

Challenges abound. Ageism is rampant in societies. From the COVID-19 pandemic to poverty and climate emergencies, older persons are often among the first victims of crises.

Addressing these and other issues is a human rights imperative that will benefit everyone.

Older persons are invaluable sources of knowledge and experience and have much to contribute towards peace, sustainable development, and protecting our planet.

We must ensure their active engagement, full participation, and essential contributions – including through social and workplace policies built around their specific needs.

We must promote lifelong learning, quality healthcare, and digital inclusion.
And we must foster intergenerational dialogue and unity.

Together, let us build more inclusive and age-friendly societies and a more resilient world for all”.

The UN International Day of Older Persons has the following objectives:

  • “To increase global knowledge and awareness of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and generate commitments among all stakeholders to strengthen the protection of the human rights of current and future generations of older persons around the world;
  • “To share and learn from intergenerational models for the protection of human rights around the world;
  • “To call on Governments and UN entities to review their current practices with a view to better integrate a life course approach to human rights in their work, and to ensure the active and meaningful participation of all stakeholders, including civil society, national human rights institutions and older persons themselves, in the work on strengthening solidarity among generations and intergenerational partnerships”.

The ILO has specifically addressed the particular situation of older workers (usually taken to be those aged 50 and above) as long ago as 1980, in the Older Workers Recommendation, No. 162. This offers a constructive framework for decent and productive conditions of work for older workers who choose or need to have paid employment.

Today, the percentage of people over the age of 65 represents 18.6% worldwide, 21.1% for the EU, 22.1% for the United Kingdom, 21.7% for France, 23.3% for Finland.

By 2030, 1 in 6 people in the world will be aged 60 years or over. At this time, the share of the population aged 60 years and over will increase from 1 billion in 2020 to 1.4 billion. By 2050, the world’s population of people aged 60 years and older will double (2.1 bil-lion). The number of persons aged 80 years or older is expected to triple between 2020 and 2050 to reach 426 million.

(Sources UN, ILO and WHO)