International Day of Older Persons in Asia and the Pacific, 2023, UNESCAP

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In 2023, an estimated 697 million older persons (60 years or over) are residing in Asia and the Pacific, representing about 60 per cent of all older persons in the world. Roughly one in 7 persons in the region are currently 60 years or older, and by 2050, there will be one in 4 persons belonging to this age cohort. Women account for about 54 per cent of all older women. With increasing age, their share increases. Thus, women account for most of all older persons in the region. Population ageing in Asia and the Pacific is particularly rapid, given the decline in fertility and mortality over recent years. This translates into limited time to prepare for the impacts of ageing on societies. 

While longer and often healthier lives represent an achievement of social and economic development and health over the last decades, the rapid demographic shift has also shown the lack of adequate protection mechanisms for older persons and has highlighted existing gaps in policies and programmes to address the situation of older persons. 

Since 2011, the Open-ended Working Group on Ageing, established by the General Assembly, has been mandated to address gaps in the existing international framework and to develop proposals for a legally binding instrument to strengthen the protection of the human rights of older persons. Since 2011, the deliberations in the Working Group are ongoing. 

At the Fourth Review and Appraisal of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing in Asia and the Pacific in 2022, member States called for promoting and protecting the human rights of all older persons, giving priority to addressing gaps and mainstreaming the rights of older persons in legal and policy frameworks, as appropriate. 

This event will put the spotlight on the human rights situation of older persons in Asia and the Pacific and highlight examples of policies that facilitate intergenerational solutions, taking into account a life course approach to equality, freedom and justice for all. The event will also discuss human rights protection gaps affecting older persons and a way forward to advance this agenda in Asia and the Pacific.  

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