28 September 2009

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

Amid Global Crises, It’s Even More Important to Treat Older Persons as Agents,

Beneficiaries of Development, Secretary-General Says in Message for Day

Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s message on the International Day of Older Persons -- “Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the International Year of Older Persons:  Towards a Society for All Ages” -- to be observed on 1 October:

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the International Year of Older Persons.  

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.  The Principles are founded on the need to build an inclusive society that emphasizes participation, self-fulfilment, independence, care and dignity for all.  To transform them into deeds, we have campaigned for policies that will enable older persons to live in an environment that enhances their capabilities, fosters their independence and provides them with adequate support and care as they age. 

The motto “towards a society for all ages” was adopted in 1999 and reaffirmed at the Second World Assembly on Ageing, held in Madrid in 2002.  It emphasizes the need to treat older persons as both agents and beneficiaries of development.  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.

The international community is also devoting increasing attention to the human rights of older persons.  We must put an end to age discrimination, abuse, neglect and violence against older persons.  I urge States to put the necessary legal protections in place, and I urge all partners to help countries develop the capacity and institutions to achieve this objective.

On this International Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to the vital work of upholding the United Nations Principles for Older Persons and achieving a society for all ages.

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For information media • not an official record