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IFA began its operations in 1973 at a time when population ageing and its social and economic consequences of population ageing were only just beginning to be realised by certain governments.  Its origins lie in the organisation of AARP who in the early 1970s sought to find a useful role it could play internationally.  After consulting with leaders of NGOs in other countries representing or serving older persons, AARP joined with them in a meeting in London in December 1973 to establish the International Federation on Ageing.

To honour the IFA’s 35th anniversary in 2008, AARP compiled a history of the Early Years of the IFA from 1973 to 1993 when its headquarters was established in Montreal, Canada and since then Toronto.

IFA has consistently campaigned for the rights of older people as the UN Principles for Older Persons, actively advocates for older people to be recognized in the UN Sustainable Development Goals and maintains a strong voice in the dialogue on how to best protect the rights of older people globally.

Key initiatives include:

  • The Declaration of the Rights and Responsibilities of Older Persons was first published in 1990 and thereafter adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1991 as the United Nations Principles for Older People
  • In Montreal in 1999, the IFA’s Fourth Global Conference brought together Ministers responsible for ageing issues from 61 countries. This Ministers Meeting resulted in The Montreal Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Older People
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