Highlights Vol 23, No. 10 - October 2019

The journey to age equality

Everyone deserves to live with dignity and respect. Yet, this right is anything but guaranteed as we grow older. People’s experiences later in life can differ dramatically, depending on their country of residence, social status, disability and other factors. These inequalities are often the result of poverty, maltreatment, neglect and limited access to basic services throughout a person’s life. And without targeted interventions, inequalities often deepen in old age.

“The journey to age equality” can only be achieved by promoting the social, economic and political inclusion of older persons and ensuring equal opportunities throughout for everyone throughout their lifetimes, as recognized by the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

By implementing policies that enhance equality, Governments can trigger the necessary changes towards an inclusive society for all ages, where older persons participate fully and without discrimination.

For the first time in history, older persons now outnumber children under five years of age. By 2030, the target date to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), older people are projected to exceed the number of youth.

The recent G20 Summit recognized ageing as one of the megatrends that will define the world’s economic and social development in the years to come. Countries need to plan for population ageing now to ensure the well-being of older persons by protecting their human rights and economic security and by safeguarding access to age-appropriate healthcare services, decent work and lifelong learning opportunities, as well as formal and informal support networks.

We have a duty to champion the role of older persons as active participants in society, especially in an era where they are frequently overlooked and underappreciated.

The International Day of Older Persons

The first day of October will be an opportunity to make ageing a more visible issue, as the world celebrates the International Day of Older Persons. This year, the global event will focus on pathways of coping with existing inequalities to prevent even further disparages in old age.

On 10 October, UN DESA in collaboration with the NGO Committee on Ageing in New York will hold the official commemoration of the United Nations International Day for Older Persons (#UNIDOP).

The event will feature the launch of UN DESA’s World Population Ageing 2019 Highlights, which draws on the latest population estimates and projections published to paint a picture of the world’s ageing population today and in the years to come.

For more information: International Day of Older Persons 

General Assembly – the work continues

The 2019 general debate has officially come to a close, but the work of the General Assembly hardly ends once the world leaders leave. Over the next months, the nitty‑gritty debates and negotiations in the General Assembly’s six main committees begin. UN DESA is substantively supporting the work of two of them.

Second Committee – Economic and Financial Issues

The Second Committee of the General Assembly addresses a range of issues related to sustainable development, from the macroeconomic situation to poverty eradication.

Chaired by Cheikh Niang, the Permanent Representative of Senegal to the UN, the Committee will kick off its work on 7 October 2019 under the theme “Inclusive societies based on new economic models and sustainable use of natural resources.”

This year, the Committee will consider issues ranging from financing sustainable development to advancing and monitoring the SAMOA Pathway for small island developing States, to reviewing the desertification, biodiversity, and climate change conventions.

It will also deliberate on challenges and solutions for countries in special situations, such as least-developed and landlocked developing countries. In addition, the Second Committee will take a closer look at the double bind of income poverty and time poverty and at emerging economic models, during two special side events organized with UN Women, UN DESA and UNCTAD.

At a joint meeting with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the Second Committee will deliberate on the “Ecosystem Approaches for shifting the world onto a sustainable pathway.”

Third Committee – Social, Humanitarian & Cultural Issues

The Third Committee begins its seventy-fourth session on 1 October, under the chairmanship of Christian Braun, the Permanent Representative of Luxembourg to the UN. The Committee’s discussions on social development will cover a range of issues related to youth, family, ageing, persons with disabilities and education for all.

The Committee’s deliberations will be informed by the Secretary-General’s report on the “Implementation of the outcome of the World Summit for Social Development and of the 24th special session of the General Assembly.”

The report calls for strengthened international cooperation for social development, especially on universal and equitable access to education and health care, and to advance progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The report highlights the importance of investing in people, which is essential to develop human capacity and achieve social development.

The report also addresses the special needs of Africa, the least developed countries, and various social groups at risk of being left behind. It recommends the acceleration of progress towards universal health coverage; scaling up social protection, including floors; addressing the specific challenges of disadvantaged groups; and mobilizing additional resources to invest in water and sanitation infrastructure.

The Third Committee will also discuss the forthcoming UN DESA World Social Report, which analyses inequalities based on gender, age, race, ethnicity, migrant status, disability and socioeconomic status.

For more information:

Second Committee of the General Assembly

Third Committee of the General Assembly

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