The 24th International Day of Older Persons promotes a Society for All and reminds of upcoming challenges

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Under the title ‘Leaving No One Behind: Promoting a Society for All’, the United Nations International Day of Older Persons on 1st October 2014 reminds us of the important challenges to be addressed in our ageing societies. With a 60+ population expected to reach 20 per cent of the global population by 2030, the UN International Day makes a clear link between inclusiveness and sustainability of our societies, which will need to adapt unless an increasingly large part of their population will be excluded and marginalized.

This message is particularly appropriate at a time when the new European Commission is taking shape. Since the shift in age structure is particularly marked in developed countries, Europe will have to adapt all the more rapidly and effectively to this development.

A wide multi-dimensional debate

AGE Platform Europe insists on the multi-dimensional and multi-sectorial aspect of the issues related to demographic ageing, which raises challenges that go far beyond the frequently debated issues of pensions and employment. We have, for that reason, sent recommendations to future EU leaders in order to make sure the needs of our ageing population will be taken on board within the upcoming Commission in an adequate, fair and sustainable way. Those recommendations are in line with our campaign to support the creation of age-friendly environments in the European Union, which means adapting our everyday living environment to the needs of the ageing population in order to empower people to take an active part in society and maintain their autonomy and a good quality of life in their old age.

In the same line, we think that the Directorate Generals (DGs) the new Commission who are responsible for dossiers affected by demographic change and population ageing should clarify how they will coordinate their work to effectively address the current population ageing. In particular the Directorate General for Justice and the Directorate General for Employment and Social Affairs, should clarify how they will cooperate on age discrimination and ensure that older People ‘s right to live in dignity is promoted as enshrined in art. 25 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, as we have stated in our press release sent on 1st October to mark the International Day of Older Persons.

To ensure proper coordination between all DGs who are responsible for dossiers affected by demographic change and population ageing, AGE calls for the adoption of a European Strategy on Demographic Change, which would coordinate action undertaken under various DGs to support social protection reform at national level, boost the silver economy through digital innovation, and support scale up by local and regional actors through a Covenant on Demographic Change.

AGE further action to promote age-friendly environments and defend older people’s rights

In order to help reach the objectives of our campaign, we are also involved in various activities:

  • we are part of the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (Action Group D4 in Innovation for age-friendly buildings, cites and environments);
  • we are coordinating the AFE-INNOVNET project, a European network on innovation for age-friendly environments aimed at mobilising a EU-wide community of local and regional authorities and other stakeholders;
  • we are also active at global level in order to make sure that a link is built with international processes focused on the rights of older persons and within all international instances where the EU is represented.

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