United Nations


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

26 August 1998


                                                        Original: English

General Assembly       
Fifty-third session
Item 103 of the provisional agenda*
Social development, including questions 
  relating to the world social
  situation and to youth, ageing, 
  disabled persons and the family

     * A/53/150.

         Preparations for the International Year of Older Persons

                    Report of the Secretary-General


                                                    Paragraphs   Page

  I.  Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .  1-2        2

 II.  Core concepts and strategies and their evolution  3-16       2

      A.   Core concepts and strategies. . . . . . . .  3-8        2

      B.   Evolution of core concepts. . . . . . . . .  9-16       2

III.  Steps towards a society for all ages . . . . . . 17-66       3

      A.   Investing in the phases of life . . . . . . 21-46       4

      B.   Fostering enabling environments . . . . . . 47-62       6

      C.   Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 63-66       8

 IV.  Highlights of worldwide preparations 
      for the Year . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67-121      8

      A.   Raising awareness . . . . . . . . . . . . . 70-80       9

      B.   Looking ahead: beyond 1999. . . . . . . . . 81-90      10

      C.   Reaching out to non-traditional actors. . . 91-97      12

      D.   Networking, research and information 
           exchange. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98-108     13

      E.   Coordination by the lead agency . . . . . .109-121     15

  V.  Conclusions and recommendations. . . . . . . . .122-125     17

        I.     Introduction

1.   In its resolution 47/5 the General Assembly designated
1999 as International Year of Older Persons. In resolutions
50/141 and 52/80, it took note of the conceptual framework
(A/50/114) and the operational framework (A/52/328) for
the Year. Also in resolution 52/80, the Assembly welcomed
the activities undertaken by States, United Nations
organizations and bodies and non-governmental
organizations in preparation for the observance of the Year
and encouraged them to continue their efforts. It also
requested the Secretary-General to report to it at its 
fifty-third session on the implementation of the resolution.

2.   This report has been prepared in response to that
request. In section II the core concepts behind the Year,
their recent evolution and the current status of the debate
are summarized briefly. In section III a number of issues are
explored which should help to develop further the concept
of a society for all ages. Section IV contains highlights of
national, regional and international activities in relation to
the observance of the Year. A number of observations and
recommendations for the consideration of the Assembly are
set out in section V.

    II.  Core concepts and strategies and their evolution

        A.     Core concepts and strategies

3.   Observance of the International Year of Older Persons
will be guided by concepts and strategies which have their
origin in the World Assembly on Aging, held in 1982. 1/ As
lead agency and secretariat for the International Year of
Older Persons, the United Nations programme on ageing,
located in the Division for Social Policy and Development
of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, is
promoting those concepts and strategies in close
collaboration with Governments, United Nations agencies
and bodies, and civil society.

4.   The Vienna International Plan of Action on Aging, 2/
adopted at the World Assembly, establishes the broad
foundations for activities on ageing. Its 62 recommendations
focus, inter alia, on education, employment and income
security, housing and the environment, health and hygiene,
social welfare and the family. The recommendations formed
the basis of a set of target strategies promulgated in 1992
for the year 2001 (A/47/339), which the Assembly, in
resolution 47/86, urged States to consult when setting
national targets on ageing. Both the Plan of Action and
extracts from the related target strategies are being widely
distributed to help guide observances of the Year in keeping
with the priorities identified by the Assembly.

5.   The 18 United Nations Principles for Older Persons,
promulgated in 1991 in resolution 46/91, provide guidance
in the areas of independence, participation, care, self-fulfilment 
and dignity. Promotion of the Principles is the
overall objective of the Year.

6.  The economic, social and cultural rights of older
persons have been set out in general comment No. 6
(1995), 3/ adopted by the Committee on Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights on 24 November 1995. The general
comment is being widely distributed.

7.   The Vienna International Plan of Action, the United
Nations Principles and general comment No. 6, together
with the Programme of Action of the World Summit for
Social Development 4/ and other recent internationally agreed
programmes, guided the formulation of the conceptual
framework for the Year which provides a theme, an overall
objective and four facets for debate and action. The theme
is "Towards a society for all ages"; the overall objective is
the promotion of the United Nations Principles for Older
Persons; and the four facets are:

               (a)     The situation of older persons;

               (b)     Lifelong individual development;

               (c)     Multigenerational relationships;

               (d)     The interplay of population ageing and development.

8.   At its fiftieth session the Assembly reviewed the four
facets. They were further developed and integrated into the
operational framework, which the Assembly reviewed at its
fifty-second session. Four dimensions were identified:

               (a)     Raising awareness: towards a society for all ages; 

               (b)     Looking ahead: beyond 1999;

               (c)     Reaching out: non-traditional actors;

               (d)     Networking: research and information exchange. 

        B.     Evolution of core concepts

9.   The situation of older persons, the first of the four
facets, is addressed comprehensively in the 62
recommendations of the International Plan of Action on
Aging and the 18 United Nations Principles for Older
Persons. Current thinking stresses the need for a new
"culture of ageing" -- one that sees older persons as agents
and beneficiaries of development and which finds a
sustainable balance between supporting dependency and
investing in the continuing development of older persons.
The nature and extent of older persons' participation,
income security and health depends largely on the
opportunities and experiences of their earlier years. 

10.  Individual lifelong development, the second facet,
requires recognition that the lifecourse is a series of
interrelated stages and an integrated whole. Well-being in
later years depends to a large extent on earlier experiences  
on opportunities for healthy lifestyles, lifelong education
and skills development, incentives for saving and pension
schemes, and measures fostering age-inclusive family and
community enterprises and networks. 

11.  The third facet, multigenerational relationships, has
several components. It pertains to the changing generational
roles and relations in the family and to age-segregation in
such institutions as kindergartens, schools and elder
housing. It also pertains to the emergence of communities
of interest, such as organizations of older persons and youth.
It may be said to encompass multigenerational
"citizenship", implying an historical awareness of legacies
from past generations and bequests to future generations.
Finally, it may pertain to relations between birth cohorts
which, in ageing societies, tend to revolve around questions
of funding for social security and health care. 

12.  The fourth facet, ageing and development, addresses
the ageing process in its totality. It requires a recognition
that ageing is generating new kinds of production,
consumption, savings, and investments as well as
adjustments in health, education, employment, housing and
leisure. These changes are underway throughout the
developed economies. They are incipient in the developing
countries, where the immediate challenges are enabling
older persons and supporting their continued participation
and integration in family and community networks. 

13.  The first two facets of the conceptual framework
pertain to the stages of individual life. The second two
relate to the social milieu that can enable or hinder
individual lifelong development while also determining the
quality of life.

14.  The steps towards a society for all ages, outlined
below, which have been developed collaboratively, are
intended to lead to many further explorations of the theme
of the Year, in accordance with national and sectoral
aspirations and realities. Such explorations should draw
on -- but not necessarily repeat -- the provisions of the
International Plan of Action on Ageing, the United Nations
Principles for Older Persons and other recently adopted
socio-economic standards pertaining, inter alia, to social
development, human rights, human settlements, children and
the advancement of women. 

15.  In particular, the meaning of a society for all ages may
be explored within the framework of social integration, or
the "society for all", as elaborated in the Programme of
Action of the World Summit for Social Development,4 while
taking into account the Programme's measures for the
alleviation of poverty and the creation of employment. 

16.  While the basic ideal underlying a society for all and
a society for all ages is that of equality and equity for all
citizens, the adjustments needed to bring about such an ideal
are many and will affect thinking, planning and practical
arrangements for decades to come. The 1999 debate can
help clarify what are the best adjustments to make, and that,
in turn, may help lay the foundations for a research agenda
and long-term strategy on ageing into the next decades. 

      III.     Steps towards a society for all ages

17.  The idea of a society for all ages may be approached
from many directions. The approach taken here is that of the
individual lifecourse and that of the social milieu of family,
neighbourhood, communities of interest and the macrosocial

18.  Individual life and the social environment are being
affected by demographic change. The nature and scope of
demographic ageing will be explored, among other things,
at the follow-up to the International Conference on
Population and Development, at a special session of the
General Assembly in 1999. The following statistics
demonstrate what is involved:

               (a)     Twenty years have been added to the average
lifespan in the second half of the twentieth century. This life
extension has been too recent and rapid to have been
integrated into our concept of life as a unified whole, a
progression of interrelated stages;

               (b)     The age structures of families are changing. The
traditional pyramid of many youth and few elders is giving
way to the inverse family pyramid of potentially one child,
two parents, four grandparents and several great-grandparents. 
Two and more generations may be over age 60;

               (c)     The world is entering a millennium in which,
soon, a third of the population will be over age 60. Several
countries will reach that stage by 2030; the world as a
whole, by 2150;

               (d)     In the developing countries the tempo of ageing
is more rapid than in the developed ones, and their resources
fewer. Already, the majority of older persons live in
developing countries, and that proportion will exceed 70 per
cent by the year 2030. Currently, every fifth person over age
60 is living in China;

               (e)     The older population itself is ageing. Today,
about 10 per cent of the population over age 60 are already
in aged 80 and above, and the proportion will rise to 25 per
cent before the year 2050;

               (f)     The majority of older persons worldwide are
women, constituting 55 per cent of the over-60 age group,
and 65 per cent of the over-80 age group. The majority of
older persons live in urban areas (51 per cent today, and

19.  Individual and population ageing are interacting with
technological and cultural evolution, generating change and
complexity. Within this increasingly ambiguous and
interdependent environment, lives progress along many
planes -- biological, psychological, societal, political,
cultural and spiritual. The needs and rhythms of these
phases of human development vary as individuals move
through childhood, youth, adulthood, midlife, and "young"
and "old" old age. Each phase needs a supportive
environment, built on indigenous systems, incorporating
innovations. Finding a satisfactory synthesis of tradition and
innovation in response to ageing is a particular challenge
to developing economies as they simultaneously combat
widespread poverty.

20.  In all cultures, accumulated life experience can make
late life a period of potential enrichment and fruition, even
though it is also a time of decline and loss. The synthesis
of these two factors -- fruition and loss -- is what gives late
life its particular dynamic and its unique contribution of
"wisdom" to society.

        A.     Investing in the phases of life 

21.  Individual life needs to be viewed and experienced as
a unified whole, a continuum of interrelated and overlapping
phases. The consequences of certain early life experiences
take effect in later years. Late-life realities, and awareness
of them, may influence choices made by younger
generations. Longevity is transforming the second half of
life and has implications for those in earlier stages. Those
implications are examined briefly, starting with late life and
working back sequentially through the earlier stages.

        1.     Late life: rewriting the script

22.  Today, older persons are demographic and social
pioneers. Grandparents now range in age from 35 to 105,
and grandchildren from newborns to retirees, giving rise to
a wide variety of grandparenting styles. 

23.  In addition to grandparenting roles, older persons have
a wide range of socio-cultural roles or scripts, particularly
in pre-industrial cultures. Industrialization has tended,
through the institution of retirement, to marginalize older
persons in some ways. In some places, the media have
stereotyped older persons as patients or pensioners. 
Post-industrialization promises more flexibility for older persons
to recover opportunities they customarily enjoy in pre-industrial 
settings and to explore new roles and meaning for
late life. The net effect is a worldwide population of older
persons sufficiently varied, flexible and complex to defy
easy categories and clear-cut roles.

24.  Programmes to combat poverty, continuing education,
literacy campaigns, new technologies, changing values and
the addition of years to life are helping older persons
explore and express a wide range of "doing, becoming and
being". Thus the place of elders in society and their impact
on socio-cultural development continue to evolve.

25.  Late-life encounters with frailty and finality can be
understood as essential components of continuing
development. The experience of loss can be transmuted into
understanding and compassion. The approach of death is
viewed by many as a transition. Thus, the decline
experienced in old age can be transmuted into development
or wisdom.

26.  Despite a prevalence in many places of narrow
stereotypical images of older persons, human diversity
actually increases with age: 80-year olds are more
heterogeneous than eight-year olds, a natural consequence
of varied lifetime choices. In varying ways throughout the
world, the status, opportunities, entitlements and images of
older women are more restrictive than those of older men
-- discrepancies to be examined in 1999 and further explored
in the context of the high-level review to be held in the year
2000. Yet, older women frequently enjoy close and
enriching emotional attachments within families. 

27.  Gender convergences and divergences are frequently
noted from midlife onwards. Stated briefly, the divergence
is physical: men tend to die earlier and women later, but
with more ailments. The convergences are more
psychological: from midlife onwards, many men and women
develop potentials which their earlier lifestyles had
inhibited -- more relational competence and emotional
expression for men in the case of some cultures, and more
opportunities for developing political and intellectual
competence for women in other cultures. These gender
trends become less pronounced as societies across the world
broaden opportunities throughout the life course for men
and women. 

28.  For debate: The developmental potential and diversity
and the health care and income security needs of late life
need to be explored and supported. New terms, images and
scripts are needed. Practical opportunities for participation
in socio-economic life need to be preserved and expanded,
including, for example, training and access to credit. 

        2.     Midlife: a time of adjustment

29.  Midlife has become an important transitional phase.
Though it occurs at varying times and with varying
schedules across the world, research has shown that it is a
developmentally flexible time. It may be considered the
prelude to active ageing, as adolescence is to active

30.  As with youth, the potential of midlife can only be
developed in the absence of poverty. Strategies to eradicate
poverty include measures to develop a wide range of human
potential, encompassing the four kinds of education laid out
by the UNESCO Commission on Education for the Twenty-first 
Century, 5/ which include: learning to know, learning to
do, learning to live together, and learning to be.

31.  For debate: Midlife is a time of adjustment in family
life, work and personal identity. Some experience it as a
time for life review and preview, when they assess past
experiences and plan for the future. Two distinct benefits
could accrue from educational investments in midlife:
release of individual potential, and relatedly, reduction of
the potential for disease, decline and exclusions in old age,
together with their high human and financial costs. 

        3.     Adult years: a time for building up capital

32.  The adult years are a time for launching career and
family and, when feasible, for engaging in continuing self-development 
and civic activities. Through such activities,
individuals build up their economic, social and human
capital and thereby help ensure well-being in late life.

33.  With industrialization, men's and women's lives are
increasingly dominated by work or the search for it.
Worldwide unemployment mires adult lives in material
poverty, particularly in developing countries, and has led
to many concentrated efforts to address it, including the
Programme of Action of the World Summit for Social
Development and the designation of 1997 2006 as the first
United Nations Decade for the Eradication of Poverty. 6/ 

34.  Conversely, employment can create "time poverty"
when it occupies the centre of the day, week and year so that
other important institutions -- family, community, and
school -- become relegated to peripheral times in the
evening and weekend. 

35.  Opportunities for education, work and leisure could
be distributed vertically and flexibly throughout the entire
course of life rather than in the more horizontal sequencing
now prevalent in many places of education (youth), work
(adult years) and leisure (after retirement).This would allow
individuals to accumulate human, social and economic
capital in their most active years.

36.  For debate: For those in their adult years, an
integrated system including flexible scheduling of work,
education, family and social life could be developed. Pre-
and post- industrial societies, which tend to be more flexible
in time scheduling than industrial ones, may find it possible
to explore convergences in their efforts at creating a society
for all ages. 

        4.     Youth: when lifestyles for longevity begin

37.  Youth today are likely to live longer than their
parents, adding longevity to the many challenges already
outlined in the World Programme of Action for Youth to the
Year 2000 and Beyond. 7/ Youth cannot know the distant
future, but they can know the likely consequences of early
lifestyles, habits of mind and missed or missing

38.  The consequence of missed or missing educational and
work opportunities is likely to be poverty. The consequence
of hunger, stress, addictions and other manifestations of
material and psychological poverty is chronic disease in mid
and late life, restricting one's ability to participate mentally
and physically. And the consequence of age-prejudice -- a
habit of mind cultivated by predominantly youth-oriented
media -- is the perpetuation of a mental "age ghetto" which
is detrimental to society and, obviously, to youth themselves
as they grow old. 

39.  Applying an athletic metaphor, it can be said that
longevity requires the ability to envision the years ahead as
a challenge requiring certain mental, physical and practical
preparations -- pacing, saving, and innovating. With tragic
exceptions, generated by violence, disease and poverty,
lives worldwide are lengthening, becoming more like
marathons than short sprints. 

40.  For debate: Longevity challenges youth to acquire
foresight and an ability to blend the best elements of
innovation and tradition. Foresight and flexibility in the face
of change can be fostered in many ways, using local and
national resources, including school curricula, community
consultations, radio and television debates and dramatic
productions which could stimulate inquiry.

        5.     Childhood: the cradle of longevity

41.  The physical, intellectual and emotional foundations
of long life are laid in childhood. Consistent with the
Convention on the Rights of the Child, much is being said
and done about the material and intellectual needs of
children. The emotional needs are known to be equally

42.  Beyond the full range of physical, intellectual and
emotional needs of children, there is a need for the presence
of calm, insightful and supportive adults. Interactions with
such adults can impart knowledge about how to be and how
to live together. This knowledge can cultivate resilience and
trust, independence and interdependence, which are
qualities to guide and sustain an individual throughout the
course of life. 

43.  In industrializing societies, work tends to dominate
the parental day, week and year, curtailing the time fathers
and mothers have for their children and other family

44.  With urbanization and migration, age-segregation
increases so that children have fewer opportunities for
knowing elders including their grandparents. 

45.  For debate: Flexible work scheduling is necessary to
allow parents more time with their children.
Multigenerational design of the living environment is
necessary to allow children and elders to encounter each
other. Grandparents and other elders can often fill in time
and care gaps left by busy parents and teachers. Older
persons can be trained in emotional counselling for children
at risk, including street children, orphans and troubled or
abused children. 

46.  Measures to support more age interactions in families,
neighbourhoods and society at large could help ensure that
childhood is truly the cradle of longevity. 

        B.     Fostering enabling environments

47.  Individual lives are influenced by their environments
including the interrelated milieu of family, neighbourhood,
communities of interest, marketplace and State. All of these
are changing and interacting in new ways under the impact
of globalization, technological change, cultural evolution
and demographic revolution. To assist an age-related
examination of these institutions during 1999, some
reflections are outlined below.

        1.     Families: who cares?

48.  Families are microcosms of many interacting systems,
as highlighted during the International Year of the Family,
in 1994. Their caregiving role is examined below.

49.  As a primary caregiving system in many societies, the
family is the first resource and last resort for individuals
throughout life -- a launching pad for early life and the
landing pad of late life. 

50.  With demographic ageing, care recipients are
changing: there are fewer children needing care and more
of the very old. With women's increasing participation in
the paid workforce, caregiving patterns are changing, with
more men participating in direct and instrumental
caregiving. Yet, in most places, family care remains a
euphemism for a single   usually female   caregiver. In an
ageing world, the double task of caregiving for old and
young usually falls to the "sandwich generation", those
ranging in age from 40 to 70. Though intensive elder
caregiving is generally confined to the last few years of life,
it can be burdensome, involving long hours. In contrast with
child care, which is characterized by progress towards
independence, elder care usually intensifies over time.

51.  For debate: As families age, family care needs to be
increasingly provided by a network of family members and
to be supported by organized formal care. Family networks
have unique resources -- proximity, affection, lifelong
commitment and intense knowledge of the older person.
Formal care has the vital resources of expertise and money.
Family care and formal care are often mediated by
community care, combining health and social services.
Family-friendly work places are needed, providing
opportunities for family leave, job-sharing, respite care and
day-care facilities for dependent family members.

        2.     Neighbourhoods and communities of interest

52.  In many parts of the world, neighbours function as an
important extension of families. Some neighbourhoods are
ageing rapidly. In many cities of the developed world and
rural areas of the developing world a quarter or a third of
the population are over age 60. Urban design is increasingly
age-segregated, in institutions such as kindergartens,
schools and elder residences. Apartment dwellings are
frequently too small for multigenerational co-habitation. In
a follow-up to Habitat II, barrier-free universal design is
being promoted worldwide but has yet to be taken up by

53.  The out-migration of youth from the countryside is
creating an age imbalance in rural areas. Rural development
strategies that include multigenerational cooperatives and
enterprises could help stem the rural exodus and restore a
better age-balance to rural areas.

54.  Another kind of age-differentiation occurs with the
rise of communities of interest. Transcending locality, such
communities are defined by common intellectual, social,
economic and psychological interests. In recent years,
associations of retired and older persons have increased in
number across the world -- a result not only of population
ageing but also a response to age discrimination and
exclusion. While generating a sense of solidarity among
older persons, these associations also support community
development, environmental protection, violence-free cities
and global peace through direct actions and through
partnerships with youth and other organizations. They also
give rise to a need for new channels of communications
between the age groups. 

55.  For debate: Many rural and urban neighbourhoods are
becoming more age-segregated because of migration and
age-segregated urban design. Modernization is giving rise
to various age-group institutions. These trends calls for
measures that will restore easy interaction and collaboration
between the generations.

     3.  Multigenerational citizenship: expanding awareness

56.  Beyond neighbourhood and community lies the
concept of "multigenerational citizenship", involving an
awareness of one's heritage from earlier generations as one
participates in creating legacies for succeeding generations,
in terms of economic, social, and environmental capital. A
culture infused with a sense of multigenerational citizenship
would harmonize tradition and innovation and imbue its
present undertakings with a broader sense of historical time.
Successful follow-up to the United Nations Conference on
Environment and Development depends in large part on
fostering a sense of multigenerational citizenship.

57.  Multigenerational citizenship, while calling for an
expanded awareness of the needs of present, past and future
generations, would also encompass the needs and
aspirations of all citizens, many of whom may have been
marginalized, including refugees, indigenous persons,
persons with disabilities and migrants.

58.  For debate: Multigenerational citizenship encourages
expansive levels of awareness, which could be fostered by
honouring ancestors as well as descendants when making
decisions, as has been the custom among many indigenous
and other groups worldwide; and reflecting in debates, plans
and programmes on the varied needs and aspirations of all
citizens, supporting thereby the establishment of a society
for all. In pursuit of expansive and inclusive levels of
awareness, there may be contradictions and tensions to

        4.     Macro-societal response

59.  As the demographic contours of societies, families and
individuals change, so must the production, consumption,
savings and investments patterns. Economic, health and
education strategies need adjustment. The living
environment needs modification.

60.  The ageing of individuals calls for a developmental
perspective encompassing interventions to promote self-reliance 
over the entire course of life. As the interventions
are improved and refined, they could cumulatively help to
expand the capabilities and resourcefulness of each
successive birth cohort, enabling each cohort to arrive at old
age with improved health status and work and life skills.
Moreover, since ageing affects social institutions, including
families, neighbourhoods and workforces, measures are
needed to ensure that they remain viable and age-integrated. 

61.  In some ageing societies, the media have called
attention to incipient "age wars", citing age-based
competition over resources, particularly health care and
income security. As populations age, some shift of resources
in favour of an expanding population group is necessary.
This shift can be made in ways that would not burden the
working population, favour one age-group over another, or
add to the national debt. Such adjustments may include, in
addition to investing in individual lifelong development (as
outlined above), increasing productivity so as to increase
resources; expanding, as feasible, the female and immigrant
workforce so as to balance the old-age dependency ratio;
and making economies, as possible, in, for example, military

62.  For debate: Responses to individual and population
ageing have evolved piecemeal. A comprehensive,
integrated yet flexible approach is required in order to
explore the developmental opportunities of ageing, as they
combine with the technological and cultural transitions of
our time. Features of this comprehensive approach might

               (a)     Continuing to call attention to questions of
ageing in the major international programmes for socio-economic development
launched during the 1980s and 1990s;

               (b)     Adjusting production, consumption, savings, and
investments in keeping with demographic change;

               (c)     Coordinating four methods of attaining income
security: individual savings, occupational pensions, social
security, and self-help. Self-help, for example, can
encompass part-time work, access to credit for older
persons, and family enterprises and cooperatives that
include older members; 

               (d)     Combining four kinds of health care: preventive,
primary, humanistic, and heroic. Preventive measures were
the focus of the 1997 World Health Report. 8/ The guiding
principles of primary health care were set out at the
International Conference on Primary Health Care, in Alma-
Ata, in 1978. 9/ Humanistic care is mainly concerned with
improving the quality of life of frail elders, and of ensuring
the necessary support for caregivers and caregiving systems.
Heroic care is concerned with delaying death by fighting
deadly diseases through new technologies;

               (e)     Integrating four kinds of education into curricula
for all stages of life: learning to know, learning to do,
learning to live together, and learning to be; 

               (f)     Creating a socio-economic environment that
fosters accumulation of various kinds of capital throughout
the course of life, including old age: economic,
environmental, social, human, cultural and spiritual capital. 

        C.     Summary

63.  Moving towards a society for all ages will require
policies that simultaneously strengthen both individual
lifelong development into late life, focused on self-help and
independence and, relatedly, enabling environments of
families, neighbourhoods, communities of interest and
broad societal institutions based on principles of reciprocity
and interdependence.

64.  It will require an openness to new ways of perceiving,
valuing and ordering reality in the next century as longevity
increases and population ageing affects the organization of

65.  Exploring the viability of a society for all ages must
be made within the scope of national aspirations and
capabilities, for individual lives and the institutions of
society will be transformed.

66.  The basic idea behind a society for all ages is that all
age groups are equally worthy and that no age group should
be discriminated against or especially favoured by society.

    IV.  Highlights of worldwide preparations for the Year

67.  Information available to the Secretariat on
preparations for the observance of the Year throughout the
world is summarized below, under the four headings that
correspond to the four dimensions of the operational
framework (see para. 8 above) -- namely, raising awareness;
looking ahead: beyond 1999; reaching out to non-traditional
actors; and networking research and information exchange.

68.  The Year will be officially launched on 1 October
1998, the International Day of Older Persons, at United
Nations Headquarters in New York by the Secretary-General at an 
event organized by the New York Non-governmental Organizations 
Committee on Ageing, in cooperation with the Department of 
Public Information and the Department of Economic and Social 
Affairs of the Secretariat. Many Governments and non-governmental
organizations are also planning to launch the Year on that
day. A logo for the Year was produced by the Department
of Public Information during the first quarter of 1998 and
distributed worldwide. Several Member States adapted the
logo with a national theme. For example, Australia added
the word "Australia" and adapted the theme to say
"Australia for all ages" or "Perth (etc.) for all ages". Canada
made similar adaptations, and Finland created a free-flowing and colourful
representation of the logo.

69.  As requested by the General Assembly, 78
Governments at the time of writing this report have already
established focal points and/or national committees. Focal
points have also been established in a number of United
Nations agencies and bodies. International networks of 
non-governmental organizations, comprising millions of
members worldwide, are also very active. They include
Coalition 99, Federation internationale des associations de
personnes age'es, the Non-governmental Organizations
Committees on Ageing (New York and Vienna chapters),
the Geneva International Network on Ageing, the
International Federation on Ageing, the International
Association of Gerontology, EurolinkAge, EURAG and

        A.     Raising awareness 

               Member States

70.  Numerous countries across the world have adopted the
theme of "towards a society for all ages" for their
observances of the International Year. Several national
committees for 1999 are launching media campaigns on the
theme, including Albania, Australia, Ethiopia, Mauritius,
Netherlands, and Slovakia. Bahrain will explore the theme
through a seminar, lectures and courses in schools, villages,
social and health centres and civil associations; televised
discussions, and at inter-Arab and international events,
including International Volunteer Day, World Health Day
and International Day of Families. 

71.  Malta is organizing an exploration of the meaning of
the theme in three areas: intergenerational consensus
building; individual lifelong development; and constructive
dialogue between social partners, including new work/
retirement arrangements. South Africa will examine a
society for all ages from three perspectives -- vitality,
diversity, and interdependence -- for ways of achieving late-
life vitality of mind and spirit through lifelong healthy
lifestyles, celebrating the diversity of older persons, and
fostering multigenerational interdependence through mutual
encouragement, caring and enablement. Austria is
interpreting the theme in two complementary ways: practical
measures supporting multigenerational solidarity, and
fostering a new culture of aging which promotes self-fulfilment 
in the third and fourth stages of life and
encompasses questions of older persons' participation,
dignity, ethics, creativity, spirituality, education,
volunteering, media exposure, sports, travel, preparation for
retirement and preparation for death. India reported that its
approach to a society for all ages would emphasize, through
a media campaign being launched on 1 October 1998,
lifelong preparation for old age, in view of the fact that few
persons plan for their own old age. Long held traditions of
security and respect for the aged are being undermined by
current socio-economic changes. Japan is promoting
lifelong health improvement, lifelong learning, lifelong
skills development and lifelong stable and comfortable
living environments. New Zealand is promoting individual
development at the upper end of life by removing the upper
age limit in its Human Rights Act of 1993 prohibiting
discrimination in the workplace. 

72.  A multigenerational emphasis is evident in the plans
of many countries. In Zimbabwe, retired social workers and
psychologists are assisting the generations to understand
each other better and appreciate each other's perspectives
through family counselling and role playing. A
multigenerational walk is planned, and the plight of older
persons in caring for their AIDS-affected children and their
orphans is being addressed. Argentina's new draft Bill of
Law for Older Persons is promoting an intergenerational
way of living. Finland is promoting "municipalities for
people of all ages". Town meetings are getting underway
in the United States on "transportation for an ageing
society". In the United Kingdom, the Millennium Debate
of the Age was launched in March 1998. Building upon the
initial work of the five study groups set up to discuss current
thinking on ageing and look at options for the future, the
debate will move on to 12 citizens' juries, giving the general
public a chance to debate particular issues over a period of
two or three days and come up with recommendations.
Subsequently, two citizens' forums of 250 people each will
be set up to spend a day deliberating the recommendations
of the juries. Five conferences are also planned to discuss
these issues among professionals. Finally, a public opinion
campaign involving a variety of media and a web site will
solicit opinions from every citizen.

               United Nations system

73.  The gender dimensions of a society for all ages are
being mainstreamed in all agencies, with special attention
being devoted to the task by the Division for the
Advancement of Women, United Nations Secretariat, and
the United Nations International Research and Training
Institute for the Advancement of Women ( INSTRAW).
Both entities emphasize a life cycle approach, from the 
girl-child to the older woman, believing that empowering
younger women is the surest guarantee of securing the well-being 
of older women and that improving the status of older
women will affect the aspirations of the young. Equity and
equality in care-giving and income security are other
concerns, particularly at a time when Governments are
promoting more self-reliance in income security and more
family responsibility in care-giving. 

74.  The Economic Commission for Latin America and the
Caribbean is exploring the concept of a society for all ages
in terms of the interplay of internal and external factors.
Internalized self-perceptions affect the course of life, as do
cultural perceptions that have been internalized. External
factors shape a person's lifelong access to economic, social
and human development opportunities. The Economic and
Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific is planning a
seminar in December 1998 on a society for all ages, along
the lines of the four facets of the conceptual framework,
with particular attention to the relationship of the individual
to society. The United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees sees in the theme an implicit challenge to the
invisibility of older persons, particularly the invisibility of
older refugees. Recent surveys show that older persons are
overrepresented in refugees groups. 

75.  To the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements,
the creation of a society for all ages entails the management,
planning and development of human settlements for all age
groups. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the
United Nations welcomes the developmental orientation of
the theme. The International Monetary Fund perceives a
society for all ages in terms of its systemic and fiscal
implications for individual countries and for the global
monetary and trading systems. The International Social
Security Association, working closely with the International
Labour Organization, sees a society for all ages as a
framework within which to address rising social security
needs at a time of declining governmental support and for
evaluating measures needed for today and those that will be
needed in 2020. For the World Health Organization, a
society for all ages incorporates values and principles
similar to those in its Health for All strategy, which are
equity, ethics, a life course perspective, and a gender

               Intergovernmental organizations

76.  The Pan-American Health Organization is of the view
that a society for all ages means a society without age
discrimination -- a society in which each individual is
provided with opportunities for self-fulfilment and for a
meaningful and productive life.

          Non-governmental organizations

77.  The American Association of Retired Persons has
produced a paper entitled, "Strategies for a society for all
ages", which covers three topics: the interdependence of the
life stages; the interconnectedness of generations; and the
interdependence of individuals and society. The text will
be circulated to help stimulate worldwide explorations of
a society for all ages.

78.  The Coalition of Non-Governmental Organizations
in Resource Dynamics for Social Development (COAL '99)
is launching the Year in the Philippines with an event on 3
October 1998. With the support of the Philippine Vice
President, it will bring together older persons and several
Congressmen in a dialogue on issues facing the old.

79.  The International Council for Caring Communities has
held, and will hold in the future, a series of meetings which
aim to build bridges between private business and
professional firms, the United Nations, governmental
agencies and non-governmental organizations to develop
projects, services and products that support the needs of all
ages. A conference held in New York in April 1998
focussed on ageing and urbanization. The next event,
entitled "Caring Communities for the Twenty-first Century:
A Society for All Generations", will be held in New York
in February 1999. It will include an international exhibition
of projects by architecture and interior design students
based on the title of the event.

80.  The Geneva International Network on Ageing is
organizing a panel discussion on the theme of the Year at
the official launch on 1 October 1998 at the United Nations
Office in Geneva. The Non-governmental Organizations
Committee in Vienna sees the theme as referring to policy-making 
in addressing the needs of those older persons who
cannot meet their own needs and the importance of
emphasizing to young and old the necessity for life-long
positive individual development for building an
environment that is favourable to carrying out this task. 

        B.     Looking ahead: beyond 1999

          Member States

81.  A number of member States have taken the
opportunity during preparations for the Year to initiate
strategies, programmes and political structures that will
create a "new age for old age", as they adjust their policies
in support of the proposed theme for the 1 October 1999
celebration of the International Day of Older Persons. As
encouraged and anticipated, the Year is being seen as a
starting point for the review and initiation of long-term
policy favouring the potential and contributions of older

82.  Armenia is implementing an "elder generation"
project which aims to improve the social welfare system for
older persons in order to integrate them into the economic,
public and cultural life of the country. Australia is
developing a National Strategy for an Ageing Australia to
provide a framework for the well-being of all citizens as
they age. The Strategy will coordinate public policy to
address the short, medium and long-term consequences of
population ageing for individuals, families, communities
and local governments. In addition, every Minister in the
Federal Parliament has been asked to seek ways to initiate
or adapt programmes to assist older persons. Brazil will
establish regional and municipal councils of older persons
and will encourage the establishment of a permanent
national forum of older persons.

83.  The Government of Cyprus has requested the Cyprus
Development Bank to undertake a study of services and
programmes provided to older persons and to propose an
outline for future policies. The report has now been
submitted and is expected to assist policy makers in
improving services. A Coordinating Body for the Elderly
has been established under the Ministry of Labour and
Social Insurance to promote the well-being of older persons
by advising the Government on policy issues. The Senate
of the Government of the Dominican Republic approved a
Code of Rights of Older Persons on 30 June 1998; it will
go to the House of Representatives for final approval later
in the year. The Senate also approved the creation of a
National Council for Older Persons, which will be attached
to the Secretariat of State for Public Health and Social
Welfare and will enforce the Code. The Council will also
plan activities for 1999.

84.  The Government of Ecuador has determined to work
with public and private institutions and non-governmental
organizations on the implementation of plans, programmes
and projects to benefit older persons for 1999 and beyond.
The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in Finland
published a second edition of its National Ageing Policy to
2001 in 1996. The publication, distributed to all
municipalities, contains policy goals and seeks to encourage
the implementation of regional ageing care strategies. Eight
European Governments are undertaking a joint pilot project
to establish information and counselling centres in selected
communities to give advice on medical and social services
and provide customized assistance to older persons. The
project will continue beyond 1999 with scientific
monitoring and evaluation.

85.  A National Policy for Older Persons is being prepared
in India, to be completed by 15 August 1998. The Ministry
of Welfare proposes the establishment of a national
association for older persons by mid-August 1999. The
Government of Kazakhstan has prepared a Plan of Action
for 1999 which contains a number of key policy changes and
initiatives in support of older persons. In Malta, a White
Paper and a Malta Declaration for Aged Care will be drafted
for the implementation of an Aged Care Act in 1999. The
Government of Mongolia has adopted a population policy
which includes a significant section on older persons, some
elements of which concern the promotion of
intergenerational relations, the promotion of skills
development and guaranteed provisions for livelihood. It
intends to pursue the implementation of the policy during
the Year. The Government of Paraguay is using the Year as
an opportunity to prioritize and attain feasible goals, as
called for in the recently adopted National Plan of Action
for Older Persons. Slovakia is planning a National
Programme of Protection for Older Persons, for adoption
in 1999.

86.  The rights of older persons will be included in the
South African Declaration on Human Rights and other
relevant national legislation. Legislation on ageing will be
developed and implemented, and all existing legislation will
be reviewed to determine the impact on older persons. A 10-year 
South African plan on age management will also be
launched, and a national care-giver association will be
established. Spain will use the Year to launch several policy
initiatives. The existing Gerontological Plan will be
updated, and agreement will be reached with the Ministry
of Education and Culture to develop new benefits for older
persons. Two conferences are planned for January and
November, 1999, in Switzerland; the issues to be discussed
are autonomy and personal growth; participation: rights and
duties; well-being and health; social security and solidarity;
and traditions and changes. The United States of America
will hold a conference in the spring of 1999 on longevity
and active ageing. It will be future-oriented to showcase
federal policies, programmes and plans for an ageing

          United Nations system

87.  The Committee for Development Planning tackled the
subject of old-age security in a changing global context at
its thirty-second session, in May 1998. Their purpose was
to look at the design and management of old-age security
systems, with a focus on the needs of developing countries.
The final report (E/1998/34) offers conclusions and
recommendations which are designed to be of help rather
than prescriptive in nature. In cooperation with the 
non-governmental organization HelpAge International, the
Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific
(ESCAP) held a workshop on the Mekong Initiative for
Ageing at which national plans of action and projects in
support of the Year were designed and reviewed. They
served as a preliminary contribution to the formulation of
a regional plan of action on ageing. A meeting on a plan of
action on ageing in Asia and the Pacific will be held in
Macau from 28 September to 1 October 1998. The Pan
American Health Organization (PAHO) held a Caribbean
Forum on Health and Aging from 27 to 30 May 1998 to
draft a Caribbean charter on health and aging.

          Intergovernmental organizations

88.  A communication on policies for ageing societies will
be ready for adoption in September 1998 by the European
Commission, which will also propose further action by the
European Union as a follow-up to the Year. 

          Non-governmental organizations

89.  The Age Care Association of the Gambia works with
limited resources to assist in the provision of relief
assistance to the elderly poor. It also seeks to identify 
small-enterprise development schemes in which older persons can
become involved, and so reduce their dependency.
Fondation de France is planning to hold an international
seminar in September 1999 for local French politicians and
decision makers in charge of policies for older persons. The
topic will be "Innovation in care for the elderly: ageing in
the city". The plan is to showcase 25 cities from around the
world with innovative projects for older persons. 

90.  The International Federation on Ageing plans to
launch the publication of the first edition of State of the
World's Older Persons in 1999. The International Institute
on Ageing (Malta) (INIA) conducts a number of training
programmes in gerontology, demographics, and geriatrics
each year. From 4 to 6 December 1997 the
Intergovernmental Conference on Ageing Populations in the
Mediterranean Region was held, organized by INIA. It was
the first in a series of regional conferences that will lead to
a global memorandum on ageing, charting the needs and
expectations of each region within the context of a growing
older population. HelpAge International will launch an
ageing and development report in June 1999 to improve the
situation of older persons in developing countries.

        C.     Reaching out to non-traditional actors 

91.  One of the strategies in preparation for the Year has
been to reach out to those segments of the population and
sectors of society which have excluded (even if
unintentionally) older persons in their work or have taken
a traditional approach to ageing, and which may now be
open to new ideas and approaches. Efforts have also been
made to reach out to the younger generation to help foster
multigenerational relationships and encourage the young to
see beyond the traditional stereotypes of older persons and
gain a more positive image of the ageing process and how
it will affect them.

          Member States

92.  Albania will hold a media debate on ageing and
multigenerational issues, while Australia will concentrate
on the development of partnerships of business, professional
organizations and communities to formulate practical
initiatives of benefit to older persons. Ethiopia has
established a focal-point committee which has planned a
variety of activities, such as television and radio dramas
related to older persons and the Year and the production of
stamps and calendars. In Germany, an international media
congress will be held, involving international media
representatives to discuss ways of improving the portrayal
of older persons in the media. They will also discuss the
content and frequency of television and radio programmes
for older persons.

93.  In order to strengthen traditional intergenerational
relationships, programmes with older persons, children and
youth will be launched on 26 January 1999 in India. In
Malta, activities will be arranged in schools, universities
and other educational institutions, by the private sector and
voluntary organizations. Programmes will be broadcast on
local radio and television. Panama is organizing a literary
contest in secondary schools on the subject of lifestyle and
health in older persons. Slovakian national, regional and
local media will carry special coverage of the Year,
particularly with regard to mutual tolerance and respect
between the generations. The media will also focus on life-long 
development of the individual and changing
multigenerational relations in family and society. South
Africa plans to promote the involvement of organized trade
and industry for the Year by, for example, offering
discounts to older persons on products and transmitting
positive images of ageing etc.

          United Nations system

94.  Outreach to the media is being spearheaded by the
Department of Public Information, United Nations
Secretariat, which, earlier this year, began an information
campaign to raise awareness of the Year and its objectives.
Activities to date have included outreach through written,
radio and television productions and special briefings and
mailings. The campaign has collaborated with the lead
agency, information centres throughout the United Nations
system and members of civil society. The Department has
collaborated with other actors in the production of a logo
and related guidelines for the Year; publicizing the
Conference and Ageing and Urbanization (29-30 April
1998, United Nations Headquarters); and producing a press
kit, poster and conference for the launch of the Year (1
October 1998, United Nations Headquarters). As part of the
Department's global network, the United Nations
information centres and services are planning global
activities for the launch and throughout the Year. A series
of UNTV and United Nations radio programmes, an exhibit,
collaboration on an international video conference and other
activities are planned. Outreach to the development
community and youth will be the focus, in January 1999, of
the Global Meeting of Generations: Vision and Action for
Equitable Development in the Twenty-first Century, to be
held in Washington, D.C. The Meeting, in which the United
Nations Development Programme is the main partner, will
seek to stimulate a dialogue between the generations to
shape global development for the future. After national
dialogues throughout 1999 and 2000, a second conference
is scheduled for 2001, to adopt a statement on visions for
development in the twenty-first century.

          Intergovernmental organizations

95.  The Pan American Health Organization will highlight
successful intergenerational programmes in the Latin
American region and disseminate information on model

          Non-governmental organizations

96.  The American Association of Retired Persons is
organizing an international expert group meeting in 1999
on images of older women in the media. Media
representatives will be invited to explore stereotypes of
older women in the media and ways to improve those
images. The member organizations of La Fe'de'ration
internationale des associations de personnes age'es (FIAPA)
has undertaken a survey, entitled "Adolescents of yesterday
and today". A questionnaire intended to create a dialogue
between the generations was drafted. The objective is to
discuss issues and determine the place of young and old in
the next century. A meeting to be held in Paris on 8 October
1999 will present the results of the survey and will provide
an opportunity for the generations to gather and exchange
views. The following day, an intergenerational walk will be

97.  The International Immigrants Foundation is planning
to host a press conference at United Nations Headquarters
for the foreign media on 1 October 1998 to publicize the
Year among the diverse ethnic communities in the United
States of America. The Netherlands Platform for Older
Persons and Europe and the European Institute for the
Media have launched a project entitled Changing Media in
an Ageing Society, to strengthen the relationship between
non-governmental organizations and media services. Some
of the initiatives under way include the Media-Age Network
of journalists and broadcasters, the Media-Age Research
Group, an on-line news service, and a Conference on
Changing Media in an Ageing Society towards the end of
1998. The Vienna Non-Governmental Organizations
Committee on Ageing, comprised of organizations affiliated
with the United Nations Office at Vienna, is planning a
three-day conference to launch the Year on 1 October 1998. 

        D.     Networking, research and information

98.  An ongoing requirement in the area of ageing has been
the improvement of research and in the exchange of
information at all levels. The Year provides an opportunity
for improving relevant initiatives.

          Member States

99.  The Government of Albania will create a national
calendar and data bank of initiatives to assist in the
promotion of information and collaboration on ageing. The
Government of Argentina will create four awards to
promote scientific studies on ageing and a scholarship
programme for individuals and institutions and will
establish a documentation centre. The Government of Brazil
will train 700 technicians in social gerontology, and will
offer technical and financial support to programmes,
research and meetings on issues of ageing. The Government
of Cyprus is planning to undertake a study to establish a
minimally acceptable standard of living, which is expected
to lead to the upgrading of public assistance scales, 40 per
cent of the recipients being older persons. An Internet page
on Estonian older persons will be opened by the Department
of Social Affairs, Government of Estonia. The advisory
committee for the elderly of the state of Hamburg, Germany,
will organize a meeting in October 1988 to analyse the
results of interviews with foreign residents from six
countries. The objective is to document important data on
older migrants.

100.     Policy research is planned in Ghana for the purpose
of creating a database on older persons. The Government
of the Netherlands has established a Web site "Seniornet"
to facilitate the exchange of information. The Government
of Kuwait is undertaking field surveys of service provision
and of the number and situation of older persons in ill health
still living in their own homes and hospitals, in order to
improve policy implementation. The Slovakian Research
Institute of Labour, Social Affairs and Family and the
International Centre for the Study of the Family will
conduct a sociological survey, which will solicit the
opinions of older persons living in households as to the
provision of social services. The resulting data will be used
to formulate general objectives for assistance for older
persons and the improvement of intergenerational relations.
A National Observatory for Older Persons will be launched
in Spain, and a cross-European longitudinal study of ageing
will be initiated. The Population Division of the
International Programs Center, United States Bureau of the
Census, will issue a revised volume of the Our Aging World
publication in 1999. Uruguay's National Institute of
Solidarity with Older Persons is in charge of organizing a
meeting entitled Older Persons: Exchange of Experiences,
to be held in Montevideo on 1 and 2 September 1998, the
second in a series of regional meetings involving Argentina,
Bolivia, Brazil, Chile and Paraguay.

          United Nations system

101.     The United Nations Centre for Human Settlements
(Habitat), together with the non-governmental organization,
Institute of Public Administration, and the NGO Committee
on Aging, New York, have launched a research project on
the living conditions of older people in urban communities.
A global report of their findings and recommendations will
support the Global Strategy for Shelter to the Year 2000 and
the Habitat Agenda. 10/ The International Research and
Training Institute for the Advancement of Women
(INSTRAW) is undertaking two major research programmes
which will contain ageing-specific elements during the
1998 1999 biennium. One will address issues of older
women vis-a'-vis violence against women, women's health,
and women's life cycle: the girl child and older women; the
other will address the role of older women in supporting
households and families in which the principal woman

102.     The 1998 revision of United Nations population
estimates and projections, prepared by the Population
Division of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs,
will for the first time disaggregate the group of those 80
years and over in five-year increments. In addition, the 1999
Report on World Population Monitoring will contain a
chapter on population structure, which will include sections
on changing population age structures and socio-economic
aspects of changing age structures. The United Nations
Population Fund (UNFPA) is holding an international
technical meeting on population ageing during
October 1998. The aims are to review policy initiatives,
national mechanisms and priority issues arising from
population ageing since the International Conference on
Population and Development; to draw the attention of policy
makers to the social and economic implications of
population ageing and the needs of the elderly; and to
produce a set of recommendations to improve the quality
of life of older persons.

103.     The Inspection and Evaluation Service of the United
Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) carried
out an analysis of the problems and issues relating to older
refugees and produced a study which highlights three crucial
issues affecting the older population: social disintegration,
the erosion of social support systems through economic
decline, and the dispersal of families. The UNHCR Senior
Management Committee is dealing with the issue of older
refugees on an ongoing basis. The Population Programme
Service of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the
United Nations (FAO) is preparing two papers to examine
the interrelationships between the ageing of rural
populations, agricultural production, and food security. The
FAO Women in Development Service has focused on the
age of rural populations by introducing "age"as a variable
in the tools used at the country level for participatory rural
appraisals and socio-economic and gender analysis.
Subsistence agriculture is increasingly the responsibility of
women, and those women will become increasingly older.

104.     The International Monetary Fund studies on social
security and public pension schemes are ongoing. A book
Social Safety Nets: Issues and Recent Experiences was
published in 1998. The IMF is actively involved in studying
the social consequences of economic reform programmes
and the design of appropriate safety nets for older persons
adversely affected by reforms. The International Social
Security Association (ISSA) is planning a research project
to examine current and future research efforts in the area of
pension reform. The Pan American Health Organization
continues to work on a research agenda on population
ageing and the development of regional training
programmes. The World Health Organization (WHO) has
initiated action to establish a programme of research on
ageing and health. The Expert Committee on Determinants
of Healthy Ageing will meet in December 1998.

          Intergovernmental organizations

105.     On 1 and 2 October 1998 the European Commission
will hold a conference in Vienna on the theme "Towards a
society for all ages". The European Parliament will
organize, through the Committee on Employment and Social
Affairs and in association with the European Commission,
a conference on the theme "Senior citizens in the twenty-first 
century", with the participation of members of senior
citizens organizations from all member States of the
European Union. The conference will take place in Brussels
on 1 October and 2 October 1998. The final report will
include recommendations to member States and the
Commission for contributions to the actions of the United
Nations for the Year.

          Non-governmental organizations

106.     Eurolink Age is acting as a central clearing house for
collecting and disseminating information on activities of the
European Union. They are to publish a special supplement
to their information bulletin in English, French and German
and will act as a link to European intergovernmental bodies
to promote action for the Year. The International Institute
on Ageing (Malta) (INIA) established a network called
Twinage at the end of 1996, which aims to pool resources
for research and training on ageing between developed and
developing countries. The Netherlands Platform for Older
Persons in Europe, in cooperation with the European
Institute for the Media, launched an Internet service called
MediaAge in 1998. The site covers policy-related issues on
ageing and ageing societies.

107.     The Non-governmental Organizations Committee on
Aging (New York) launched a project in 1997 to locate
national affiliates of the non-governmental organizations
that are members of the Committee and put them in touch
with each other in order to promote the Year and the topic
of ageing. The Committee is also arranging a global video
conference to be held during the thirty-seventh session of
the Commission for Social Development, in 1999. Country-level 
discussions are being held on issues and actions
planned for the next century on ageing, which will be
reported on during the video conference.

108.     In July 1999 the Society for the Psychological Study
of Social Issues will publish a special issue of the Journal
of Social Issues in honour of the International Year. The
focus will be on policies and issues at the international
level. The Fifth World Congress on Physical Activity,
Aging and Sports, will be held in Florida, United States,
August 1999, with the theme "Active aging in the new
millennium". The Congress will explore the impact of
physical activity on the lives of older persons and the effect
of the ageing process on physical activity among older

        E.     Coordination by the lead agency

109.     The United Nations programme on ageing, the lead
agency and secretariat for the Year, has coordinated
international activities and provided conceptual leadership,
with the ultimate aim of strengthening policy development
at the national level.

    1.  From conceptual exploration to policy development

110.     The themes and concepts underlying the Year have
been presented at numerous national and international
conferences over the past two years by the staff of the
secretariat. At a symposium held at the Sixteenth World
Congress of Gerontology in Adelaide, Australia, in
August 1997, the four facets of the conceptual framework
were elaborated upon. The facets are being explored in
depth in the forthcoming publication World Ageing
Situation, No. 3. A special double issue of the Bulletin on
Ageing (Nos. 2/3, 1997), with a guest editor, explored
multigenerational relationships.

111.     The issue of caregiving was named as a priority
subject for discussion in the operational framework. As a
result, an expert group meeting was held in Malta from 30
November to 2 December 1997 on the gender dimensions
of caregiving and older persons. Experts from all regions
discussed the provision of informal caregiving for older
persons by women and its economic and social
consequences. Recommendations were made for
Governments to create a more gender-sensitive and
supportive caregiving environment. A publication will be
issued in the last quarter of 1998. A report based on the
deliberations and outcome of the meeting was presented to
the Commission on the Status of Women at its forty-second
session, at which resolution 42/4, "Older women and
support: gender and caregiving" was adopted. Work in this
area is an ongoing priority during the Year. The secretariat
has been continuing its collaboration with the West Virginia
University Center on Aging, an advisory centre on rural
ageing. Plans for an expert group meeting on rural ageing
in 1999, leading to an international conference in July 2000,
are ongoing. Both events will focus heavily on developing

112.     The sixteenth World Congress of Gerontology adopted
the Adelaide Declaration, which, among other things, called
for the International Association of Gerontology and the
United Nations programme on ageing to collaborate in
preparing a research agenda on ageing for the next century.
With the financial support of the Novartis Foundation for
Gerontological Research, an initial expert group meeting
to draft a framework for the research agenda will take place
in February 1999. It is envisaged that the agenda will have
a major impact on national and international public policy
on ageing in the future, with a particular focus on
developing countries.

113.     In its resolution 52/80, paragraph 5, the General
Assembly encourages States, with the assistance of the
United Nations and non-governmental organizations, to
formulate policies and programmes on ageing. The
secretariat for the year intends to use the research agenda
to form the basis of a possible long-term strategy on ageing
during the period 1999 2001, for possible adoption in 2001.
An interregional meeting of experts on policy for a society
for all ages, to take place in mid-1999, and also provide key
contributions to the strategy. Subject to the receipt of
extrabudgetary resources, expert meetings are also
envisaged on employment and older persons and on the
social technologies of traditional societies.

  2.  Coordination of international activities for 1999 and beyond

114.     Within the context of the work of the General
Assembly and Commission for Social Development, the
secretariat for the Year has continued to liase with member
States, in particular through the Consultative Group for the
International Year of Older Persons. Meetings of the Group
were held in February, May and September 1998.

115.     As part of the United Nations efforts to support
national preparations for the Year, at the request of Member
States, representatives of the lead agency participated in the
First Congress on Older Persons (Spain, February 1998),
the Congress of the Netherlands Association of Gerontology
(Rotterdam, March 1998), and the Conference of European
Experts Preparing for the International Year of Older
Persons (Bonn, March 1998).

116.     Liaison with non-governmental organizations has
continued. The lead agency participated in the Global
Conference of the International Federation on Ageing
(October 1997), the symposium of the Fe'de'ration
internationale des associations de personnes age'es
(October 1997), and the National Congress of the
Federazione Italiana Pensionati Attivita Commerciali
(June 1998). The lead agency has collaborated closely with
the Non-governmental Organizations Committee on Aging
(New York) on the planning for the launch of the Year, on
1 October 1998. Coalition 99 has continued to translate the
secretariat newsletter "Countdown to 1999" into French and
Spanish, and distribute it. The lead agency has also played
an advisory role in the development of the International
Federation on Ageing publication State of the World's
Older Persons.

117.     Within the United Nations system, the lead agency
was, in 1998, designated as a "theme leader" on
demographics, health and life-long planning for the 1999
Global Meeting of Generations, organized by the United
Nations Development Programme and the International
Development Conference. The Meeting offers an excellent
opportunity during the first part of the Year to promote a
multigenerational dialogue on development issues. The lead
agency will present a paper at, and take part in, the
Technical Meeting on Population and Ageing, organized by
UNFPA (Brussels, 6 9 October 1998). Discussions are
ongoing with the World Health Organization's Healthy
Ageing Programme in exploring joint efforts towards a
policy-oriented research agenda. Discussions are also
ongoing with regard to the participation of ESCAP and the
other regional commissions in the interregional meeting of
experts on a society for all ages, to take place in mid-1999.               

        3.     Supporting national activities

118.     With the assistance of the Government of the
Netherlands, work will begin in the last quarter of 1998 on
a database of "best practice" national policies, with the
objective of supporting policy development in developing
countries. The database will be located on the Web site of
the Division for Social Policy and Development.

119.     During 1997, a directory of national infrastructures
on ageing was compiled and distributed. The "Local agenda
on ageing in the 1990s" and "Menu of ideas" for activities
at the national level have been issued so as to stimulate
action by all actors for the Year. Two projects were
completed, with the assistance of a consultant, to showcase
projects in action. The first was a compendium of the
achievement of national targets on ageing, which were
prepared in 1992 to assist member States in setting targets
to the year 2001 in those countries lacking universal welfare
and pension infrastructures. The compendium illustrates
methods of achieving the targets with examples of
operational projects. The second project was a compendium
of community programmes for older persons in newly
ageing countries, which lists operational projects at the
community level. Both of these projects will be posted on
the Web site of the Division for Social Policy and

120.     The Trust Fund for Ageing, created in 1982 on the
occasion of the World Assembly on Ageing, has seen its
resources shrink over the years, to the point where it is now
unable to award any funding to developing countries, which
continue to apply to the Fund in numbers. The secretariat
is using the Year as an occasion to attempt to revitalize the
Fund by highlighting the need for technical assistance for
developing countries in the area of ageing.

        4.     Promotional and information campaign

121.     An information kit will be ready for the launch of the
Year. It is being prepared by the Department of Public
Information and the lead agency, with the assistance of the
non-governmental organization Age Concern. A poster for
the Year, produced by the American Association of Retired
Persons, will be issued for the launch. The "Countdown to
1999" newsletter, which provides up-to-date information
on governmental and United Nations system activities for
1999, continues to be published. All issues are posted on
the Web site for the Year maintained by the Division for
Social Policy and Development (www.un.org/esa/socdev/iyop.htm) 
which has recently been upgraded with the assistance of 
a specialist. A calendar of events for the Year, and a list 
of national focal points and other background and information 
materials are maintained on the Web site and regularly updated.

        V.     Conclusions and recommendations

122.     A wide range of activities have begun worldwide in
observance of the Year. Nearly 80 countries have
established national committees, most involving a wide
range of members. The General Assembly may wish to
invite countries that have not yet begun their observances
of 1999 to do so now. It may wish to invite countries to
report on their observances at the plenary sessions of its
fifty-fourth session, at which it was decided (resolution
52/80) four plenary meetings should be devoted to the
follow-up to the Year, which should take place at an
appropriate global policy-making level.

123.     Promoting investments in human development over
the entire lifespan and in preserving and supporting age-integrated 
social institutions are worldwide challenges. In
that regard, the General Assembly may wish to invite
national committees to consider the desirability of
addressing these challenges through a set of principles for
a society for all ages and/or practical strategies towards a
society for all ages aimed at mainstreaming ageing into
programmes and policies, while ensuring that the immediate
developmental, income-security and health care needs of
older persons are met.

124.     The power of the media to influence images of ageing
and opportunities for older persons needs to be recognized
and trends towards negative stereotyping and the exclusion
of older persons need to be addressed. In that regard, the
Assembly may wish to encourage the media to follow-up on
the official launch of the International Year on 1 October
1998 by launching or intensifying a media campaign in
January 1999, focused on the United Nations Principles for
Older Persons and the theme of a society for all ages, and
invite organizations of older persons and others to engage
the media in a debate on ageing.

125.     The institutions of civil society at the local, national
and international levels are playing a vital role in promoting
the Year, often through multigenerational and multisectoral
collaboration. The General Assembly may wish to commend
those efforts and invite those institutions to focus their
observances of the International Day of Older Persons
(1 October) in 1999 on the theme of "late life potentials and
contributions in a new age".


          1/   See Report of the World Assembly on Ageing, Vienna, 26
               July 6 August 1982 (United Nations publication, Sales No.

          2/   Ibid., chap. VI.

          3/   See E/C.12/1995/16.

          4/   See Report of the World Summit for Social Development,
               Copenhagen, 6 12 March 1995 (United Nations publication,
               Sales No. E.96.IV.8), chap. I, resolution 1, annex II.

          5/   Learning the Treasure Within (Paris, UNESCO, 1996).

          6/   General Assembly resolution 50/107 (II).

          7/   General Assembly resolution 50/81, annex.

          8/   Geneva, WHO.

          9/   See "Report of the International Conference on Primary Health
               Care, Alma-Ata" (CPHC/ALA/78.10).

         10/   See Report of the United Nations Conference on Human
               Settlements (Habitat II), Istanbul, 3 14 June 1996 (United
               Nations publication, Sales No. E.97.IV.6), chap. I, resolution
               1, annex II.



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Date last posted: 10 January 2000 10:05:30
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