Behind the Issue

Article excerpt

The Second World Assembly, to be held in Madrid from 8 to 12 April 2002, is dedicated to the overall review of the outcome of the first World Assembly on Ageing, as well as the adoption of the proposed international strategy for action on ageing. The new strategy seeks to address the socio-cultural, economic and demographic realities of the twenty-first century, with particular attention to the needs and perspectives of developing countries.

Population ageing is unprecedented, without parallel in the history of humanity. Increases in the proportions of older persons (60 years or older) are being accompanied by declines in the proportions of the young (under age 15). By 2050, the number of older persons in the world will exceed the number of the young for the first time in history. Moreover, by 1998 this historic reversal in relative proportions of young and old had already taken place in the more developed regions.

Population ageing is profound, having major consequences and implications on all facets of human life. In the economic area, population ageing will have an impact on economic consumption, labour markets, pensions, taxation and intergenerational transfers. In the social sphere, population ageing affects health and health care, family composition and living arrangements, housing and migration. …