Fifth Session of the Open Working Group on Ageing
United Nations Social Development Network (UNSDN)
Fifty-Second Session of the Commission for Social Development
World Youth Report 2013
Report on the World Social Situation 2013
World Conference on Indigenous Peoples
Seventh Session of the Conference of States Parties
Older persons were an invaluable social force that could contribute to social development, the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) heard today as more than 40 speakers took part in the conclusion of its general discussion on that topic, with one describing longer lives as “a triumph of human development”.
Malta’s representative was among the many speakers who highlighted national efforts to promote the rights of the older persons. He said his Government considered the ageing population as both a challenge and an opportunity, noting that the challenge was to change opinions about ageing while rousing innovative ideas and technologies to improve the quality of older lives. The opportunity was for older people to play a full and active role in society, retaining control over their lives despite health problems, he said.
“Irrespective from which side of the coin one prefers to look at ageing, there is no doubt that longer lives are something to celebrate, a triumph of human development,” he continued. The Government of Malta had started drafting the comprehensive Active Ageing Strategy covering the seven-year period from 2013 to 2020 based on the principles of intergenerational solidarity, employability, social participation and health. Plans to transform day centres into “active ageing centres” functioning as life-long learning hubs were at an advanced stage, he added.
With the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family approaching next year, many speakers underlined the importance of family in social development. Brunei Darussalam’s representative stressed that family institution should be the first line of support. In a close-knit community like Brunei Darussalam, family values were integral to the society’s moral fabric. The Government had established several programmes to support families, including pre-marital courses, post-marital courses and parental skills, he said. “Marriage is not just a wedding ceremony, but a long journey that requires closer understanding, love and tolerance.”
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