2020 International Day of Older Persons: “Pandemics: Do They Change How We Address Age and Ageing?”

24 September 2020

The year 2020 marks the 75th Anniversary of the United Nations and the 30th Anniversary of the International Day of Older Persons (UNIDOP). This year has also seen an emergence of  COVID-19, that has caused an upheaval across the world. Considering the higher risks confronted by older persons during the outbreak of pandemics such as COVID-19, policy and programmatic interventions must be targeted towards raising awareness of their special needs. Recognizing older persons contributions to their own health and the multiple roles they play in the preparedness and response phases of  current and  future pandemics is also important.

This year has also been recognised as the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife”. UNIDOP 2020 will highlight the role of the health care workforce in contributing to the health of older persons, with special recognition of the nursing profession, and a primary focus on the role of women- who are relatively undervalued and in most cases inadequately compensated.

The UNIDOP 2020 event will also promote the Decade of Healthy Ageing (2020-2030) and help bring together UN experts, civil society, government and the health professions to discuss the five strategic objectives of the Global Strategy and Action plan on Ageing and Health while noting the progress and challenges in their realization. The global strategy is well integrated into the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), while ageing issues cut across the 17 goals, especially Goal 3 which aims to “ensure healthy lives and promote well-being of all at all ages”. As stated by Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (Director-General, WHO)  “acting on the strategy, is a means for countries to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and ensure that every human being regardless of age will have an opportunity to fulfill their potential in dignity and equality”

The objectives of UNIDOP 2020 are to:

  1. Inform participants about the strategic objectives for the Decade of Healthy Ageing
  2. Raise awareness of the special health needs of older persons and of their contributions to their own health and to the functioning of the societies in which they live
  3. Increase awareness and appreciation of the role of the health care workforce in maintaining and improving the health of older persons, with special attention to the nursing profession
  4. Present proposals for reducing the health disparities between older persons in the developed and developing countries, so as to “Leave no one behind”
  5. Increase understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on older persons and its impact on health care policy, planning, and attitudes.

The event is co-organized by the NGO Committee on Ageing, New York and DESA, and co-sponsored the Permanent Mission of Argentina to the United Nations, in collaboration with the Group of Friends of Older Persons. The event will bring diverse participants from NGOs, Member States, academia and civil society.

The commemorative event will be held virtually on, 1 October 2020 from 9am to 12 pm (New York time).

The International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics is also holding a companion event that will be held virtually on the same day from 1pm to 3pm (New York time).

For more information, please contact ageing@un.org  @UN4Ageing @UNDESASocial #UNUNIDOP2020