'World must learn how to cope with ageing'
01 October 2012, 15:06
Tokyo - Governments around the world must work out how to cope with
ageing, a UN report said on Monday, warning developing economies with
lots of young workers may one day find their populations a drag.
study by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and private group HelpAge
International also urged countries to improve medical provision to
extend the years of health that older people can enjoy.
report, which was released to coincide with International Day of Older
Persons, says that of the seven billion people who live on the planet,
893 million or 12.8% are elderly - older than 60 years old.
just one decade, the elderly population will swell by 200 million taking
it well beyond one billion people, and potentially putting a greater
strain on welfare and medical systems around the world, the report said.
report was accompanied by a symposium on ageing in Japan, the world's
fastest-greying country, where around a quarter of the population is
over 65 years old already, a proportion the government forecasts will
rise to 40% within half a century.
"People everywhere must age
with dignity and security, enjoying life through the full realisation of
all human rights and fundamental freedoms," said Babatunde Osotimehin,
UNFPA executive director.
Skills going to waste
2050, the report said, around 80% of the world's older people will live
in developing countries, many of which currently have young populations
where there are many more workers than pensioners.
developing countries with large populations of young people, for
example, the challenge is that governments have not put policies and
practices in place to support their current older populations or made
enough preparations for 2050," the groups said in a joint statement.
report warned that the skills and knowledge older people possess are
going to waste, with many elderly under-employed and vulnerable to
discrimination, abuse and violence at work and in the home.
The agencies are calling for governments and the public to end "these destructive practices and to invest in older people".
must commit to ending the widespread mismanagement of ageing," said
Richard Blewitt, chief executive officer of HelpAge International.
and national action plans are needed to create a pathway [so] people
over 60... become growth drivers and value creators," he said.