7 October 2009
Press Release
Note No. 6219

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Note to Correspondents

Joint United Nations, Civil Society Event, ‘Ageing Activism: Global Tool to Create

a Society for All Ages’, will Commemorate International Day of Older Persons

Tomorrow, 8 October, an event to commemorate the International Day of Older Persons will be held at United Nations Headquarters in New York to seek new ways to strengthen older persons’ involvement in global efforts to improve their quality of life, and to harness the social and economic opportunities that ageing offers.

The New York event -- taking place one week after the official Day was observed on 1 October -- will bring together United Nations officials, Member States and representatives of communities of older persons from around the world.  The day-long celebration will also mark the tenth anniversary of the International Year of Older Persons:  Towards a Society for All Ages.

The event is being organized by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the Committee on Ageing of the Conference of NGOs (CoNGO), New York, under the overall theme of “Ageing Activism:  A Global Tool to Create a Society for All Ages”.

“Over the past decade, we intensified our efforts to build a ‘society for all ages’ and to promote international commitment to the United Nations Principles for Older Persons,” said United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in his message for the International Day of Older Persons.  The motto “towards a society for all ages” emphasizes the need to treat older persons as both agents and beneficiaries of development, he explains.  “This emphasis -- and the United Nations principles -- take on even greater importance as the world struggles to confront global food, energy, climate, financial and economic crises,” Mr. Ban added.

The meeting opens in the morning with a discussion forum involving ambassadors from Benin, Brazil, Jordan and Spain.  Later in the afternoon, participants will be engaged in three simultaneous panel discussions organized around specific issues, such as promoting ageing activism to ensure the rights of older persons; educating and empowering for implementation; and confronting emerging challenges -- climate change, aging and providing effective social services.

“More and more, older persons are standing up and speaking on their rights. They are trying to ensure not only that their unique needs are acknowledged and addressed; but also that their legacy is preserved,” says Jessica Frank, Chair, Committee on Ageing of the Conference of NGO ( CoNGO), New York.  “Citizen activism has been one of the main engines of human progress, and older persons activism is particularly needed today,” she added.

The CoNGO committees bring together non-governmental organizations, members of the United Nations Secretariat and Government delegations to discuss current themes and issues before the Organization and the global community.

The International Day of Older Persons is celebrated on 1 October each year in accordance with United Nations General Assembly resolution 45/106 of 1991.  Commemorations of the Day and related activities are meant to raise awareness of the challenges faced by older persons around the world as well as celebrate older persons’ contributions to their communities.

For further information, please contact Rosemary Lane, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, tel.: +1 212 963 5090, e-mail: lane@un.org or Franck Kuwonu, Department of Public Information, tel.: +1 212 963 8264, e-mail: kuwonu@un.org.

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For information media • not an official record