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SG/SM/21507

Address Longevity, Realize Potential of Older Persons, Says Secretary-General, Marking International Day

Following is UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ message for the International Day of Older Persons, observed today:

On this International Day of Older Persons, we focus attention on the resilience of the more than 1 billion older women and men in a changing world.

The past years have witnessed dramatic upheavals — and older people often found themselves at the epicentre of crises.  They are particularly vulnerable to a range of challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the worsening climate crisis, proliferating conflicts and growing poverty.  Yet in the face of these threats, older people have inspired us with their remarkable resilience.

By 2030, 1.4 billion people will be at least 60 years old.

Our task as societies and as the global community is to address the challenges of longevity — and unleash its potential.  We must promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all people at all ages.  This pledge is enshrined in the Sustainable Development Goals.

Lifelong learning, strong social protection, accessible quality long-term health care, bridging the digital divide, intergenerational support, dignity and respect are essential.

Older persons are a tremendous source of knowledge and experience.  We must strive to ensure their active engagement, full participation and essential contributions to our societies.

Together, let us build more inclusive and age-friendly societies and a more resilient world.

For information media. Not an official record.