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Amplifying the Potential of Healthy Ageing for Sustainable Development

February 11, 2021  · 2 min read

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that by 2050, 80% of older people will be living in low- and middle-income countries. In the context of the UN Decade of Healthy Ageing 2021-2030 (the Decade) and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development the time to invest in healthy ageing to support a sustainable future is now, according to a recent World Economic Forum article:


Mr. Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, has stated, “the potential of older persons is a powerful basis for sustainable development.” However, data on development assistance for health and health burden in 2017 indicate that investment is much higher in the first half of life, despite a higher prevalence of disease and need for care in later life, with an emphasis on treatment over prevention.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the tragic effects of chronic underfunding and undervaluing programs and services to support the needs of older people. The pandemic response has highlighted the pervasive nature of ageism locally, nationally, and internationally. It is a fundamental obstacle to the development of effective health policies. An example of this is the impact of COVID-19 on the long-term care sector, where the high mortality rate is an indicator of the lack of preparedness according to the World Economic Forum article.

COVID-19 may have an irreversible impact on global health and development alike unless there is significant momentum towards advancing universal health coverage and investing in proven, effective preventive interventions such as life course immunization strategies.

Healthy ageing can not only add years to life, but it adds life to years. By providing a framework for action across four action areas, the Decade represents an unprecedented opportunity for "concerted, catalytic and collaborative action to improve the lives of older people, their families, and the communities in which they live." To that end, global leaders and civil society must invest in the potential of healthy older people.


Combating ageism requires a whole-of-society approach comprising citizens, governments, civil society, academia, and industry in order to transform attitudes and actions across generations. The International Federation on Ageing (IFA), as a non-state actor at the WHO and having general consultative status at the UN, is a proud ambassador for the Decade across sectors and disciplines.

If you are a journalist covering this topic – let the experts help with your stories.

These experts are available to speak with media about the Decade, healthy ageing, sustainable development and the importance of preventive health policies – simply click on either expert’s icon to arrange an interview today.

Featured Experts:
Other Experts:
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    Dr. Edward Leung

    Long Term Care
    Stroke Care
    Health Promotion
    Geriatric Medicine
    Gerontology
    Healthy Ageing
    Epidemiology
    Osteoporosis
    Incontinence
    Public Policy in Old Age
  • a

    Kahir Lalji

    Advocacy
    Program Development
    Community Engagement
    Non-Profits
    Gerontology
    Age-Inclusive Services
    Community Development
    Developmental Leadership
    Government Relations
    Financial Management
  • a

    Louise Hickson

    Behavioural Sciences
    Audiology
    Clinical Research
    Leadership
    Medical Devices
    Public Speaking
    Health
  • a

    Parvaiz A. Koul

    Coronavirus
    Tuberculosis
    Pulmonology
    Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
    Infectious Disease Epidemiology
    Immunology of Infectious Diseases
    Renal Tubular Acidosis
    Emerging Infectious Diseases
    COVID-19
  • a

    Frank R. Lin, M.D., Ph.D.

    Hearing Aids
    Cognitive Decline
    Epidemiology
    Aging
    Hearing Loss
    Hearing
    Hearing Impairment
    Older Adults
    Dementia
    Brain Ageing
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