The UN International Day of Older Persons Friday, 1 October 2021

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The world marks the 30th anniversary of the International Day of Older Persons as we reckon with the disproportionate and severe impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has wrought on older persons around the world – not only on their health, but on their rights and well-being.

The theme of the 2021 commemoration is “Digital Equity for All Ages.”

The fourth industrial revolution characterized by rapid digital innovation, characterized by exponential growth has transformed all sectors of society including how we live, work and relate to one another.  Technological advances offer great hope for accelerating progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Yet, one-half of the global population is off-line, with the starkest differences reflected between most and least developed countries (87% and 19% respectively) (ITU Facts and Figures 2020). Recent reports by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) indicate that women and older persons experience digital inequity to a greater extent than other groups in society; they either lack access to technologies or are often not benefitting fully from the opportunities provided by technological progress.

Meanwhile, as efforts to connect more people are currently under way, new risks have become apparent. For example, cybercrimes and misinformation threaten the human rights, privacy, and security of older people. The rapid speed of adoption of digital technology has outpaced policy and governance at the national, regional, and global levels. The Secretary-General’s Roadmap[2] seeks to address these challenges by recommending concrete action to harness the best of these technologies and mitigate their risks.

Objectives of #UNIDOP2021:

  • Ageism & Human Rights

To bring awareness of the importance of digital inclusion of older persons, while tackling stereotypes, prejudice and discrimination associated with digitalization taking into account sociocultural norms and the right to autonomy.

  • Sustainable Development

To highlight policies to leverage digital technologies for full achievement of the sustainable development goals (SDGs).

  • Access & Literacy

To address public and private interests, in the areas of availability, connectivity, design, affordability, capacity building, infrastructure, and innovation.

  • Cybersecurity & Ethics

To explore the role of policies and legal frameworks to ensure privacy and safety of older persons in the digital world.

  • Accountability

To highlight the need for a legally binding instrument on the rights of older persons and an intersectional person-centered human rights approach for a society for all ages.


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