Today is the International Day for Older Persons. The event is based on the General Assembly Resolution 45/106 of 14 December 1990, which explicitly recognizes that “the elderly are an asset to society and can contribute significantly to the development process”.
The event is based on the recognition of the worldwide demographic revolution due to a fast ageing world. According to UN statistics, today, around 600 million people are aged 60 years or older; this number will presumably double by 2025. Although the vast majority of them will be living in the developing countries, western States will most certainly have to adapt to this rather new situation as well. Already today, labour markets in many European countries have difficulties in acknowledging the asset that older people display. If welfare systems and systems of social security are not to be overstrained and perhaps even collapse however, politicians have to take the changing age pattern into consideration. Already, eg, the German Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has started an initiative to integrade older persons into the labour market. Perhaps even the international level will be called upon to respond in the context of formulating a right to work, recognized as a human right. In fact, older people may be in need of an internationally recognized protection against age discrimination.