'World must learn how to cope with ageing'

2012-10-01 13:00


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

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.

The 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.

The 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.

In 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.

The 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

By 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.

"In many 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.

The 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".

"We must commit to ending the widespread mismanagement of ageing," said Richard Blewitt, chief executive officer of HelpAge International.

"Global and national action plans are needed to create a pathway [so] people over 60... become growth drivers and value creators," he said.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
Read more on:    un  |  japan

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Rugby World Cup 2015

All the action from the 2015 RWC, including live coverage of all 48 matches, breaking news, fixtures, results, logs - and much more!


Rugby World Cup 2015

Jones: Japan can be 'team of the tournament'
Tuilagi gets punishment cut
As it happened: New Zealand 47-9 Tonga
Wales look to Biggar for big impact
Traffic Alerts

The phrase for today is:”Out of the blue.” Expect the unexpected and work with the changeable energy. Your intuition is heightened...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.