Statement to the National Philoptochos Society

National Philoptochos Society National Board Meeting

27 September 2002


National Philoptochos Society National Board Meeting

September 27, 2002

 

Aging

The United Nations Second World Assembly on Aging was held in Madrid last April 2002.  Its aim was to advance the global aging agenda.

With the world’s population of people 60 or older expected to triple to two billion by 2250, delegates from 160 countries vowed to defend the health and rights of the old, with special focus on poor countries where the increase will be fastest.

In its plan of action the United Nations for the first time recognized the need to eliminate violence toward the elderly, particularly women.  Older persons should be able to live in dignity and security and be free of exploitation and physical and mental abuse.

The Assembly encouraged elderly to work later in life to ensure that countries’ economies and health systems do not collapse.

Older people facing technological change without education or training can experience alienation.  The action plan called on countries to promote literacy and technological skills training for older persons.

With respect to people 80 or older, the plan called for special attention to their medical and nutritional needs.

It also called for financial incentives, more flexible work hours for older persons and guaranteed pensions rights.

It concluded that the world can find enormous benefits offered by the aging.  Older people can bring a lifetime experience to education and other areas.  The world will have to start thinking of its older citizens less as a burden on society and more as a resource whose experience and knowledge can be tapped for the benefit of themselves and the societies they live in.

 

Environment

The World Summit on Sustainable Development was held in Johannesburg, South Africa from August 26 to September 4, 2002.  More than 100 presidents and prime ministers attended.

After a week of intensive negotiations the diplomats arrived at a plan of action that is intended to reduce poverty and preserve the earth’s natural resources.

The plan calls on nations to:

  1. reduce by half the number of poor people who lack sanitation by 2015
  2. commit to sound management of chemicals with the goal of minimizing their adverse effects on health and nature by 2020
  3. reduce by 2010 the number of animals and plants having endangered species
  4. reduce agricultural subsidies in wealthy countries
  5. promote renewable energy sources like solar and wind power as well as expand access to energy services by the poor

A new view of environmental problem-solving emerged at the conference.  As a way around governmental resistance to change between traditional adversaries, projects were announced involving novel partnerships of governments, private groups, foundations and businesses.  Their goals: improving health and sanitation, protecting forests, providing access to water and energy to the world’s poorest communities.

What Philoptochos Chapters can do:

  1. Help prevent elderly abuse in their community
  2. Utilize the expertise of its senior citizens in areas of education, social work, public relations, etc.
  3. Encourage intergenerational activities in the community
  4. Make members aware of environmental issues through lectures and workshops