Statement of UNFPA Acting Executive Director Dr. Natalia Kanem on the International Day of Older Persons,
1 October 2017
A new narrative about the role of older persons is in the making—one that acknowledges their potential to contribute to societies and economies.
Yet this potential may be realized only if older persons remain in good health and have opportunities to pursue lifelong learning, which empower them to stay actively engaged in the affairs of their communities. With the right investments in their well-being and capabilities, countries may reap a longevity dividend.
Between 2015 and 2030, the target date for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, the number of older persons worldwide is set to increase by 56 per cent—from 901 million to more than 1.4 billion. By 2030, the number of people aged 60 and above will exceed that of people aged 15 to 24.
UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, raises awareness about demographic shifts towards older populations and about the need to harness the opportunities and address the challenges of population ageing. UNFPA also supports research and data collection to provide a solid base for policies and planning, and makes sure ageing issues are integrated into national development programmes and poverty reduction strategies.
The theme of this year’s International Day of Older Persons is “Stepping into the Future: Tapping the Talents, Contributions and Participation of Older Persons in Society”. As we step towards the better future we all want, ‘leaving no one behind’ will mean making space for the contributions of older persons. Let us promote the rights and ensure the full participation of older persons to build better societies for all ages.