Saturday, February 10, 2007

United Nations: Older Workers Part of Agenda for Commission for Social Development

On February 7, the United Nations Commission for Social Development opened its 45th session on promoting full employment and decent work for all. Among other things, the Commission will review the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, five years after it was adopted at the Second World Assembly on Ageing.

Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, José Antonio Ocampo, said that strong economic growth in 2006 had not led to substantial reductions in unemployment rates and included older workers among those facing increasing insecurity in the workplace and shrinking opportunities for decent work. Han Schölvinck, Director, Division for Social Policy and Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, noted that a report on the nearly five years since the Second World Assembly on Ageing showed that there are tremendous challenges facing the world’s rapidly ageing populations and observed that the active participation of older persons in society was impossible without protecting their rights and fighting against age-based discrimination and making concerted efforts to empower them.

Among the documents prepared for the Conference, the Report of the Secretary-General on Promoting Full Employment and Decent Work for All found:
104. The number of older persons remaining employed varies considerably around the world. Countries with high per capita incomes tend to have lower labour force participation rates among older persons. Older persons in less developed regions continue to participate, to a great extent, in the labour force, owing largely to the limited coverage of social security schemes and the relatively low guaranteed incomes.

105. Unfortunately, older persons face discrimination in employment. Older persons should have the opportunity to work or to have access to other income-generating opportunities as well as to determine when and at what pace to withdraw from the labour force. Continuing educational opportunities and opportunities to update skills could help to empower older persons to decide for themselves when to leave the labour force. In order to fully empower older persons to leave the labour force when they want to, pensions and health care should be available to them so that they are not forced to work for survival.
Source: U.N. Economic and Social Council Press Release (February 7, 2007)

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