1211 GENEVA 19


Resolution adopted without a vote by the 90th Inter-Parliamentary Conference
(Canberra, 18 September 1993)

The 90th Inter-Parliamentary Conference,

Recognizing that ageing is not synonymous with sickness and that old age and death are normal and natural stages of the life-cycle,

Affirming that the rights of the elderly are an integral part of the human rights laid down in many international instruments,

Noting the unprecedented ageing of populations throughout the world, as greater numbers of individuals are reaching an advanced age in better health than ever before, as well as the fact that the elderly population is growing at a rate faster than that of the population as a whole,

Aware that the situation of the elderly differs widely from one country to another and also within one and the same country according to socio-economic conditions, and that each country should therefore diversify programmes implemented within its general policy,

Also aware of the particular plight of elderly people who are refugees and victims of natural and man-made disasters and conflicts,

Recognizing the enormous diversity between older people in developed and less developed countries, between older people in the same country and between urban and rural areas in terms of income, health and opportunities,

Stressing the importance of the criteria and principles established through international co-operation in the field of ageing, particularly within the United Nations framework:

(a) The International Plan of Action on Ageing (1982);

(b) The United Nations Principles for Older Persons (1991);

(c) The global targets on ageing for the year 2001 (1992);

(d) The Proclamation on Ageing (1992),

Welcoming efforts to increase the contribution of the elderly to economic, social and cultural development, and encouraging countries to participate in the Programme of Action on Ageing,

Stressing the contribution that older people make to their families, communities and the world, and convinced that older people have a wealth of knowledge, wisdom and sound judgement which can greatly benefit oncoming generations,

Deeply concerned that although elderly people are recognized as full citizens, many of them, especially elderly women living alone, are denied access to a healthy and fulfilling later life, and to health care services, employment, housing and social opportunities and adequate incomes,

Stressing that medical treatment and rehabilitation measures should be properly dimensioned and that the elderly should be able to determine independently whether or not they wish to accept certain types of treatment,

Bearing in mind that health care and social work rely to a large extent on human resources and that there should be only limited replacement of human care and assistance with technology,

Noting that the quality of life of the elderly should be improved by providing facilities and services enabling them to enjoy life and be of benefit to themselves, the family and society and to take an active role in development activities, and that such efforts should involve the government, the private sector, the family and society as a whole,

Acknowledging the important role that parliamentarians can play in defining and supervising the implementation of national goals through legislative and political means and at the national and regional parliamentary level,

Calls on all members of the Inter-Parliamentary Union to:

(a) Take account of the implications of demographic change in developing economic and social policy with special emphasis on older people;

(b) Urge States to play a positive role in international initiatives to highlight and improve the position in society of older people;

(c) Welcome the UN Proclamation on Ageing and global targets on ageing as well as national targets on ageing, and urge all States to make regular assessment of progress towards meeting them;

(d) Appeal to all States to adopt the UN Principles for Older Persons;

(e) Welcome the contribution that older people make, and urge all States to remove discrimination which undermines this contribution;

(f) Call for the protection from abuse of older people who are vulnerable through physical disability or mental illness, dementia, poverty, or social isolation;

(g) Encourage States and international bodies to promote and establish databases and disseminate the findings of research on the implications of ageing for individuals and for populations;

(h) Appeal to governments to give more prominence to civic instruction and to promote solidarity between older and younger generations and the transmission of experience, history and cultural heritage;

(i) Request governments and parliaments to ennoble old age by using the media to sensitize their peoples and create a social environment which gives prominence to senior citizens so that they enjoy well-earned recognition for their many years of service;

(j) Promote improvements in the material conditions of older people and create comprehensive individual retirement plans which are equal for men and women;

(k) Stress the right of individuals to self-determination and choice as to how and where they lead their lives and to participate in the decision-making processes which affect them;

(l) Urge States to promote the provision of appropriate community care services, thereby ensuring a choice between institutional care and care in the home;

(m) Emphasize that ageing is a life-long process, and that healthy lifestyles greatly enhance enjoyment of old age;

(n) Ensure that decision-makers and the public at large regard ageing and declining performance as normal stages in the life-cycle and treat the elderly as an active human resource rather than a homogeneously inactive group;

(o) Encourage older people to seek and take up opportunities to contribute fully to the life of the communities in which they live;

(p) Provide health care to treat, cure and alleviate illness in older people and change the focus in medicine for the elderly from treatment in the last stages of life to prophylactic measures and rehabilitation while seeking new, more human technology for the treatment of the elderly;

(q) Call for the interests of elderly women to be better integrated in the international emancipation policy and for policies and programmes that take into account the economic insecurity of vulnerable groups such as minorities and women;

(r) Encourage volunteering by older people to help others, to benefit the volunteers themselves and to alleviate loneliness.

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