Dr. Babatunte Osotimehin
Executive Director’s Statement
on the Occasion of the International Day of Older Persons
1 October 2014
On this 24th International Day of Older Persons, UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, joins the worldwide celebration of longevity and acknowledges the contributions that older persons make to their families, communities and societies. We celebrate the fact that more people are living longer and healthier lives. This is due to improvements in nutrition, sanitation, medical science, health care, education and economic well-being.
Population ageing is a triumph of development. Supporting the full participation of older persons brings tremendous benefits to all generations. The opportunities for further social and economic gains are as endless as the contributions that an active, secure and healthy ageing population can make to society.
The theme of this year’s special day reflects the United Nations Secretary-General’s guiding principle: Leaving No One Behind: Promoting a Society for All. With close to 12 per cent of the world’s population aged 60 or over, leaving older persons behind is not an option.
The needs and rights of older persons, and issues of population ageing, must be included in the post-2015 development agenda. By 2030, there will be more people over the age of 60 than children under 10. By 2050, the global ageing population will be 2 billion strong.
Leaving no one behind means tackling inequalities and guaranteeing universal access to social services and social protection. Ensuring equal access to all segments of the population, both young and old, to education, income, health care and basic social services enables people to live decently in the present and to save for the future.
UNFPA is committed to working with United Nations Member States, the United Nations system and civil society to make sure that older persons are not left behind and can enjoy health, lifelong learning and well-being throughout their lives. We are working to include ageing issues in the post-2015 development agenda, in national development frameworks and poverty reduction strategies, and to ensure that the voices of older persons are heard.