August 12, 2022
The UN Secretary-General António Guterres has called for cooperation across generations to break down barriers, and work as one to achieve a more equitable, just and inclusive world for all people.
Guterres made to call in a statement to mark this year’s World Youth Day tagged: Intergenerational Solidarity: Creating a World for All Ages
According to him, the objective of International Youth Day 2022 is to amplify the message that action is needed across all generations to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and leave no one behind.
“It will also raise awareness on certain barriers to intergenerational solidarity, notably ageism, which impacts young and old persons, while having detrimental effects on society as a whole”.
He noted that ageism is an insidious and often an unaddressed issue in health, human rights and development, and has bearings on both older and younger populations around the world. In addition, ageism regularly intersects with other forms of bias (such as racism and sexism) and impacts people in ways that prevent them to reach their full potential and comprehensively contribute to their community.
“The Global Report on Ageism launched by the United Nations in March 2021 highlights that despite lack of research, young people continue to report age-related barriers in various spheres of their lives such as employment, political participation, health and justice”.
“The report also identifies intergenerational interventions as one of the three key strategies to address ageism. Intergenerational activities can also lead to a greater sense of social connectedness and strengthen intergenerational solidarity”, he added.
“Half of the people on our planet are 30 or younger, and this is expected to reach 57% by the end of 2030.
Survey shows that 67% of people believe in a better future, with 15 to 17 year-olds being the most optimistic about this.
The majority of people agree that the age balance in politics is wrong. More than two thirds (69%) of people across all age groups agree that more opportunities for younger people to have a say in policy development/change would make political systems better.
Globally, only 2.6% of parliamentarians are under 30 years old, and less than 1% of these young MPs are women.
Solidarity across generations is key for sustainable development. As we navigate the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is especially important to recognize and address these age-related barriers to “build back better” in a manner that leverages all generations’ strengths and knowledge.