Niagara Falls, Canada

09 November 2021

Secretary-General's message to the International Federation on Ageing 15th Global Conference on Ageing: "Rights Matter"

Last week, the world crossed a painful new threshold - five million lives lost to COVID-19.  Nearly three-quarters of these deaths are among older people.

This devastating milestone reminds us of the enormous toll on the lives of older persons and the importance of reinforcing our efforts to uphold their rights. 

Many national anti-discrimination laws fail to address ageism against older persons in a holistic manner.  This is unacceptable. 

In my report on Our Common Agenda, I call for a new social contract anchored in human rights and policies that take into account the impact of intersecting characteristics such as age, gender and diversity. 

The full realization of human rights requires an inclusive and resilient society for all ages, in which older persons participate fully and without discrimination and on the basis of equality.