International Plan of Action on Ageing: IV. Recommendations for Implementation
The success of this Plan of Action will depend largely on action undertaken by Governments to create conditions and broad possibilities for full participation of the citizens, particularly the elderly. To this end, Governments are urged to devote more attention to the question of ageing and to utilize fully the support provided by intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, including retirees' and elderly people's organizations.
Since wide divergencies exist with respect to the situation of the ageing in various societies, cultures and regions - as reflected in different needs and problems - each country should decide upon its own national strategy and identify its own targets and priorities within the Plan. A clear commitment should be made at all levels of Government to take appropriate action to achieve those targets and give effect to those priorities.
Governments can play an important role with regard to the Plan of Action by evaluating and assessing the ageing process from the individual and demographic points of view, in order to determine the implications for development of these processes in the light of the prevailing political, social, cultural, religious and economic situation.
The architects of national policies and strategies for the implementation of the Plan of Action should recognize that the ageing are not a homogeneous group and be sensitive to the wide differences and needs of the ageing at various stages of their lives. Governments should pay special attention to improving the lot of elderly women, who are often at a severe disadvantage.
The establishment of interdisciplinary and multisectoral machinery within Governments can be an effective means of ensuring that the question of the ageing of the population is taken into account in national development planning, that the needs of the elderly are given the attention they merit, and that the elderly are fully integrated into society.
These actions will gain in effectiveness if their preparation, implementation and follow-up are well coordinated at various geopolitical levels. The coordination must flow from cooperation between those in positions of responsibility in all sectors and the representatives of pensioners and the aged, in order to ensure the participation of the latter when decisions of direct concern to them are being taken. Hence, it would be appropriate to consider the setting up of corresponding planning, programming and coordinating bodies at the national level.
In certain countries, some of the objectives of the Plan of Action have already been achieved; in others they may only be accomplished progressively. Moreover, by their very nature, some measures will take longer to implement than others. Governments are urged, therefore, to establish short-, medium- and long-term objectives with a view to facilitating implementation of the Plan, in the light of their resources and priorities.
Governments should, if necessary, retain in a suitable form (or encourage the formation of) the mechanisms established at the national level to prepare for the World Assembly on Ageing, in order to be ready to facilitate the planning, implementation and evaluation of the activities recommended by the World Assembly.
1. Global action
International cooperation in the implementation of the programme of action on the establishment inter alia of a new international economic order and of the International Development Strategy for the Third United Nations Development Decade, based on the peaceful coexistence of States having different social systems, is essential to achieving the goals of the Plan of Action and can take the form of bilateral and multilateral cooperation between Governments and by utilizing the United Nations system. Such cooperation could take the form of direct assistance (technical or financial), in response to national or regional requests, cooperative research, or the exchange of information and experience
The General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and all its appropriate subsidiary bodies, in particular the Commission for Social Development, the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme, and the legislative and policy-making bodies of the concerned specialized agencies and intergovernmental organizations are urged to give careful consideration to the Plan of Action and to ensure an appropriate response to it.
In view of the role that the Centre for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs of the Department of International Economic and Social Affairs has been playing within the United Nations system in matters related to the ageing, it should be strengthened in order to continue to serve as the focal point for activities in that respect; to this end the Secretary-General of the United Nations is requested, within the existing global resources of the United Nations, to give due consideration to the provision of appropriate increased resources for the implementation of the Plan of Action, which will be primarily at the national level.
The Administrative Committee on Coordination should consider the implications of the Plan of Action for the United Nations system with a view to continued liaison and coordination in implementing the provisions of the Plan.
The need to develop new guidelines in areas of concern to the elderly should be kept constantly under review in relation to the implementation of the Plan.
Governments, national and local non-governmental voluntary organizations and international non-governmental organizations are urged to join in the cooperative effort to accomplish the objectives of the Plan. They should strengthen their activities by encourageing the formation of and utilizing regular channels of communication at the national level for consulting with the elderly on policies and programmes that affect their lives. Governments are also urged to encourage and, where possible, support national and private organizations dealing with matters concerning the elderly and the ageing of the population.
All States are invited to consider designating a national "Day for the Ageing" in conformity with General Assembly resolution 36/20 of 9 November 1981.
The International Plan of Action on Ageing should be brought to the attention of the appropriate United Nations bodies responsible for preparations for the International Conference on Population (1984), so that its conclusions and recommendations could be taken into account in preparing the proposals for the further implementation of the World Population Plan of Action.
The United Nations, and in particular the United Nations Development Programme and the Department of Technical Cooperation for Development, together with the specialized agencies, should carry out technical cooperation activities in support of the objectives of the Plan of Action. The Centre for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs should continue to promote, and provide substantive support to, all such activities.
The voluntary Trust Fund for the World Assembly on Ageing, as established by General Assembly resolution 35/129, should be used, as requested by the General Assembly, to meet the rapidly increasing needs of the ageing in the developing countries, in particular in the least developed ones. The payment of voluntary public and private contributions should be encouraged. The Trust Fund should be administered by the Centre for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs.
Furthermore, as requested by the General Assembly in its resolution 36/20, the Fund should be used to encourage greater interest in the developing countries in matters related to ageing and to assist the Governments of these countries, at their request, in formulating and implementing policies and programmes for the elderly. It should also be used for technical cooperation and research related to the ageing of populations and for promoting cooperation among developing countries in the exchange of the relevant information and technology.
Ageing is a population issue which affects development and which requires increasing international assistance and cooperation and, therefore, the United Nations Fund for Population Activities is urged, in cooperation with all organizations responsible for international population assistance, to continue and to strengthen its assistance in that field, particularly in developing countries.
Exchange of information and experience
The exchange of information and experience at the international level is an effective means of stimulating progress and encouraging the adoption of measures to respond to the economic and social implications of the ageing of the population, and to meet the needs of older persons. Countries with different political, economic and social systems and cultures and at different stages of development have benefited from the common knowledge of problems, difficulties and achievements and from solutions worked out jointly.
Meetings and seminars have proved to be most valuable in providing a regional and international exchange of information and experience and should be continued. These could focus, inter alia, on promoting technical cooperation among developing countries and on monitoring the implementation of the Plan of Action.
The Centre for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs should coordinate the activities of regional and subregional research and development centres in the United Nations system, promote the preparation of information materials, as well as the constant exchange of information on problems and policies related to ageing and the training of personnel, and facilitate activities related to technical cooperation among developing countries in collaboration with concerned Governments and regions.
With respect to the exchange of information about matters concerning ageing, it is essential that standardized definitions, terms and research methodologies be developed; the United Nations should treat these matters with all due importance.
The United Nations bodies concerned should encourage Governments and the international community to pay special attention to developing programmes, projects and activities that will give older persons the skills, training and opportunities necessary to improve their situation and enable them to participate fully and effectively in the total development effort. Special attention should be given to training courses in technologies that will enable older persons to continue to work in agriculture.
The International Plan of Action on Ageing should be transmitted to the unit in the United Nations Secretariat responsible for International Youth Year (1985) in order that that unit may bring the recommendations and conclusions of the World Assembly on Ageing - particularly as they relate to intergenerational matters - to the attention of national planning committees concerned with developing ideas for the Youth Year.
Formulation and implementation of international guidelines
The appropriate organizations should undertake studies on and review periodically the effectiveness of existing international guidelines and instruments related to the subject of ageing, in order to determine their adequacy in the light of changing conditions in the modern world and the experience gained since their adoption.
2. Regional action
Effective implementation of the Plan will also require action at the regional level. All institutions having regional mandates are therefore called upon to review the objectives of the Plan and contribute to their implementation. In this respect, a central role should be played by the United Nations regional commissions.
114. In order to carry out the above-mentioned functions, Governments members of regional commissions should take steps to ensure that their regular programme of activities take into account the problems of ageing.
115. Furthermore, in coordination with the conduct of the international review discussed above, the regional commission should organize the periodic review of regional plans.
It is essential that assessment, evaluation and review should take place at the national level, at intervals to be determined by each country.
Regional appraisal and review should focus on the special role regional action can play and the particular advantages it can offer in such fields as training, research and technical cooperation among developing countries.
It is recommended that the Commission for Social Development should be designated the intergovernmental body to review the implementation of the Plan of Action every four years and to make proposals for updating the Plan as considered necessary. The findings of this exercise should be transmitted through the Economic and Social Council to the General Assembly for consideration. To assist the Commission in its work it should be provided with periodic reports on progress made within the United Nations system in achieving the goals and objectives of the Plan. The Centre for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs should serve as the coordinator of this process.