Mr. Wu Hongbo Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Secretary-General for the Third International Conference on Financing for Development

Opening Address as Chairman
Seventh Meeting of the Board, International Institute on Ageing (INIA)

Thank you, Dr. Formosa for you kind introduction.

I am very pleased to be here in Malta as Chairman of the Board of this Institute. I am grateful for this opportunity, and would like to thank our hosts, the Government of Malta, and the Director of INIA, Dr. Formosa and his staff.

Just as I am the newly appointed Chairman, all but one of our Board Members is also new, and the Director, Dr Formosa was appointed just last year. So, this is indeed a new beginning for the majority of us.

In contrast, the International Institute on Ageing has had a long association with the United Nations. It has been 28 years since the Agreement between the Government of Malta and the United Nations was signed, in 1987, as a follow-up to the first World Assembly on Ageing held in Vienna in 1982, and endorsed by the Economic and Social Council. The Institute has a long and rich history, and the United Nations thanks the Government of Malta for its continued support.

The key mandate of the Institute – to train personnel working in the field of ageing, particularly in developing countries, remains as crucial today as when the Institute was first established. Today, that mandate may, in fact, be even more crucial, with growing numbers of older persons now living in developing countries.

While the need for the Institute is clear, some logistical challenges remain – How do we best train as many people as possible with limited funding? And how do we reach those working in countries with the fewest resources and the biggest needs? – The continued need to promote research on ageing in developing countries, and in particular by researchers in those countries also remains a priority for INIA as it does for the United Nations.

We can already see in the draft Strategic Plan for 2015-2017, that Dr. Formosa and his team plan to reorient and update INIA’s activities to take full advantage of the full scope of resources. There is, for example, the plan to use improved technology with an idea for distance learning. Our job as a Board is to provide support and advice on how best to build on this vision and turn it into concrete projects.

I would also like to remind us all that this is a new era for the UN system. We will see the adoption of universal and transformative post-2015 development agenda, with a set of Sustainable Development Goals in September, which will fit the realities and needs of Member States. The call to include all social groups, people of all ages, and to leave no one behind as well as the crucially important call for age disaggregated data is evident in the agreed goals. How the UN system and our Governments reorient themselves to take up the challenge of implementing the SDGs is an ongoing discussion at this time. But it is also something that INIA and the Board should bear in mind in its discussions during this meeting.

I look forward to a fruitful and engaging discussion that sets a forward-looking course for the Institute under its new leadership. Let us build upon past successes and lessons learned.

I look forward to working with all of you to achieve a tangible outcome.