The International Day of Older Persons, observed on October 1st every year, is a global occasion that recognizes the invaluable contributions of senior citizens while shedding light on the unique challenges they face. This day, established by the United Nations General Assembly, serves as an opportunity to honor and celebrate the elderly, acknowledge their vital role in society, and address the issues that impact their well-being.
Theme of International Day of Older Persons
In 2023, the 33rd commemoration of this significant day revolves around the theme of “Fulfilling the Promises of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for Older Persons: Across Generations.”
Understanding the Objectives
The UNIDOP 2023 sets forth clear objectives to guide its mission
1. Strengthening Human Rights Protection
The primary aim of the International Day of Older Persons is to elevate global awareness and understanding of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It seeks to mobilize commitments from all stakeholders to enhance the protection of human rights for older individuals worldwide. This objective underscores the importance of safeguarding the rights of both current and future generations of seniors.
2. Promoting Intergenerational Models
One of the core missions of UNIDOP 2023 is to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and experiences among different age groups. It encourages the exploration of intergenerational models that effectively protect human rights. Learning from successful practices around the world helps foster a sense of solidarity between generations.
3. Integrating a Life Course Approach
Governments and UN entities are called upon to reassess their current practices. The aim is to incorporate a life course approach to human rights in their work, ensuring that policies and initiatives cater to the evolving needs of individuals as they age. Active and meaningful participation from civil society, national human rights institutions, and older persons themselves is emphasized to strengthen intergenerational partnerships and solidarity.
International Day of Older Persons has a rich history
1990: Inception of the Day
On December 14, 1990, the United Nations General Assembly officially designated October 1st as the International Day of Older Persons through resolution 45/106. This pivotal decision laid the foundation for recognizing the elderly’s significance on a global scale.
Vienna International Plan of Action on Ageing
The 1982 World Assembly on Ageing adopted the Vienna International Plan of Action on Ageing, endorsing it later that year. This milestone document played a crucial role in shaping global policies on aging.
United Nations Principles for Older Persons
In 1991, the UN General Assembly adopted the United Nations Principles for Older Persons (resolution 46/91). These principles set out the framework for ensuring the well-being and dignity of older individuals.
Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing
In 2002, the Second World Assembly on Ageing introduced the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing. This comprehensive plan addressed the opportunities and challenges posed by population aging in the 21st century, striving to create a society that accommodates people of all ages.
Significance of Aging Demographics
Rapid Growth of Older Population
From 1980 to 2021, the number of older people (aged 65 and above) tripled, rising from around 260 million to 761 million. This demographic shift signifies the increasing significance of addressing issues related to aging.
Projections for 2050
Between 2021 and 2050, the proportion of older individuals in the global population is expected to surge from less than 10% to approximately 17%. This demographic transformation necessitates proactive measures to ensure the well-being of seniors.
The Role of Supportive Environments
In societies with aging populations, creating supportive environments is crucial:
Balancing Functional Capacities
The ability of older individuals to carry out essential functions and engage in daily activities is influenced by both their inherent capacities and the social and physical environments in which they live.
Supportive environments play a pivotal role in helping older individuals maintain their activity levels and independence as they age. These environments enable seniors to lead fulfilling lives and contribute to society.
As we celebrate the International Day of Older Persons in 2023, let us reflect on the progress made in honoring and protecting the rights of seniors while acknowledging the work that remains to be done. It is through our collective commitment that we can fulfill the promises of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights for older persons across generations.