Conferenza ministeriale sull’invecchiamento a Roma

I ministri si riuniranno a Roma per esaminare i progressi regionali nella risposta all’invecchiamento della popolazione

L’invecchiamento della popolazione sta trasformando la struttura demografica dei Paesi della regione UNECE. Negli ultimi 20 anni, il numero di persone anziane è aumentato di 70,3 milioni e la loro percentuale è passata dal 13,4 al 17,5% nel 2022, secondo le stime demografiche delle Nazioni Unite. L’aumento dell’aspettativa di vita, il perdurare di una bassa fertilità e le migrazioni hanno influenzato l’entità e il ritmo dell’invecchiamento della popolazione. Queste tendenze in atto indicano che, entro il 2030, le persone di età pari o superiore a 65 anni rappresenteranno un quinto della popolazione totale della regione. Le persone di 80 anni e oltre rappresenteranno il 5,4%. Entro il 2050, si prevede che le persone di 65 anni e oltre rappresenteranno quasi un quarto della popolazione della regione, mentre gli anziani di 80 anni e oltre rappresenteranno l’8,7%.

L’aumento della longevità e la crescente proporzione di persone anziane richiede ai governi di sviluppare risposte politiche a lungo termine per adattarsi alle sfide dell’invecchiamento della società, realizzando al contempo le potenzialità di una vita più lunga.

20 anni fa, nel 2002, la Seconda Assemblea Mondiale sull’Invecchiamento ha adottato il Piano d’Azione Internazionale di Madrid sull’Invecchiamento (MIPAA), definendo un’agenda coraggiosa per le politiche legate all’invecchiamento nel 21° secolo. I progressi nella sua attuazione vengono rivisti ogni cinque anni per riadattare le priorità politiche per le società che invecchiano.

I ministri responsabili delle politiche sull’invecchiamento si riuniranno a Roma la prossima settimana (16-17 giugno) per la 5a Conferenza ministeriale UNECE sull’invecchiamento, per esaminare i progressi compiuti, discutere le sfide future e stabilire le priorità politiche per i prossimi cinque anni.


Progress towards three policy goals

A regional synthesis report issued by UNECE this week to inform the conference deliberations is based on 40 country reports. It identifies key achievements and challenges towards the three policy goals agreed at the last Ministerial Conference on Ageing in Lisbon in 2017, which were to: (1) recognize the potential of older persons; (2) encourage longer working life and ability to work; and (3) ensure ageing with dignity.

  • Recognizing the potential of older persons

Countries have facilitated the participation of older persons in social and cultural life by providing opportunities for volunteering, entertainment and physical and cultural activities tailored to their needs and preferences. Apart from playing a positive role in facilitating healthy and active ageing, such actions also addressed loneliness and social isolation, which continue to be widespread in older age groups. Significant advances have also been made on the involvement of older persons and their representatives in policy processes affecting them. Older people’s councils at the local level have become more widespread facilitating the consideration of older people’s issues in decision-making. The promotion of a positive image of ageing and older persons to counteract negative stereotypes and other manifestations of ageism is another area of action in which progress has been recorded, including through information campaigns and intergenerational dialogue.

  • Longer working life

To extend working lives, significant attention has been devoted to combatting unemployment among older persons and promoting age management and age-friendly working conditions at the workplace. Employment prospects of older workers were boosted through skills development, with particular emphasis on digital skills and literacy. Pension reforms to raise and harmonize retirement ages between women and men, linking retirement age to life expectancy, promoting partial or gradual retirement and flexible working were another key area of reforms to encourage and enable longer working lives in response to rising longevity and population ageing. Old-age poverty, especially among women, received significant attention. Measures to reduce the gender pay and pension gaps were advanced by several countries.

  • Ageing with dignity

Dignified ageing requires the conjunction of many elements including the full enjoyment of human rights, freedom from violence and abuse, access to high quality health and social care, autonomy to make decisions, age in a place of choice, and participate in society in a self-determined way up to the end of life. Countries have developed integrated care and support infrastructures at local level, leveraging technology and digitalization to enable ageing in place, including through promoting research and development of assisted-living technologies. The prevention of elder abuse has been advanced through enhanced awareness-raising and training and improved legal frameworks.

The provision and quality of health and social care services has been a priority for many countries that developed or revised frameworks to respond to the long-term health and social care needs of their ageing populations. Major aspects addressed included quality assurance, integration, financial sustainability, decentralization and deinstitutionalization of long-term care and an expansion of home-care services. Attention has also been paid to ensuring the development of the health and care workforce and to providing support to informal and family carers.

To address the growing prevalence of dementia associated with increased longevity, a significant number of countries in the region adopted or updated dementia strategies and plans to improve the lives of people with dementia and of their caregivers.

COVID-19 has had a disproportional negative effect on older persons

The past five years of policy development have been deeply impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic affecting the region since 2020. The public health emergency has had a disproportional negative effect on older persons. Beyond the threat to life, the pandemic has put older persons at greater risk of physical and social isolation, loneliness, discrimination, and various human rights abuses. The experience of the recent public health emergency has put a spotlight on the need to better address the needs and rights of older persons through policies in all sectors and at all levels.

Outlook and priorities for the future

Despite significant policy progress achieved, challenges remain. The review highlights the need for further reforms and investments to realize the potential of every older person, create a society for all ages and ensure sustainability of social protection systems and long-term care. Priorities for further action identified include the need to mainstream ageing across all policies at all levels, to promote active and healthy ageing across the life course, to make long-term care services accessible for all and to support caregivers.

About the 5th UNECE Ministerial Conference on Ageing

The UNECE Ministerial Conference on Ageing 2022 organized under the theme “Joining forces for solidarity and equal opportunities throughout life” concludes the regional review of progress made between 2017-2022.

Conference panels will address:

1) Promoting active and healthy ageing throughout life

2) Ensuring access to long-term care and support for carers and families

3) Mainstreaming ageing to advance a society for all ages

The Ministerial Conference on Ageing is organized by UNECE in collaboration with the UNECE Standing Working Group on Ageing and the Government of Italy.

A joint Forum of Civil Society and Scientific Research will precede the Ministerial Conference on 15 June 2022.

Visit the Conference website for the full programme and all related information: