“The Journey to Age Equality”

International Day of Older Persons 2019

In its Resolution 45/106 of 14 December 1990, the General Assembly of the United Nations declared the first of October to be ‘International Day of Older Persons’. It is a day to stand against ageism and to promote the development of a society that is hospitable to people of all ages.

Between 2015 and 2030, the number of people aged 60 or over is expected to increase worldwide from 901 million to 1.4 billion. While also the population of Europe will increase in the coming years, the working age population will shrink: from 306 million today, to 267 million in 2060. Because we are all getting older, our societies face a number of challenges. The global attention on the ‘International Day of Older Persons’, every year on the first of October, is more relevant than ever before. This day symbolises the expression of respect and instead of focusing on the limitations that ageing can bring, it is about emphasizing the vitality of the older generation. We pay global attention to the older persons, their capacities and abilities, respect for their human rights, their needs and expectations.

The UN 2019 theme “The Journey to Age Equality” is associated with the Sustainable Development Goal 10 (SDG 10) to “Reduce inequality within and among countries”. It addresses the pathways to deal with existing and prevent future age-related inequality. Focus on enabling elderly to play a role in all aspects of development, and by encouraging their active participation in social, economic and political life, are few of the many ways of ensuring their inclusiveness and reducing existing inequalities.

The Sustainable Development Goals are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice. It allows us to understand that progress will only be achievable if it is inclusive of all ages. The Goals interconnect and in order to leave no one behind, it ís important that we achieve each Goal and target by 2030.                          

– United Nations

The objectives of the 2019 IDOP are:

  • To help draw attention to the existence of old age inequality, and how this often results from a cumulation of disadvantages throughout life -and highlight intergenerational risk of increased old age inequality.
  • To bring awareness to the urgency of coping with existing and preventing future old age inequality.
  • To explore societal and structural changes in view of life course policies: life-long learning, proactive and adaptive labour policies, social protection and universal health coverage.
  • To reflect on best practices, lessons and progress on the journey to ending older age inequality and changing negative narratives and stereotypes involving “older age”.

The journey to age equality, the journey to an inclusive society for all ages is a challenge for all of us. Who will travel with us? Who can overcome the obstacles and look to the future together with the young generation? Everyone, regardless of age, gender or dependency is entitled to enjoy the fundamental human rights, lead a life of dignity and independence, and participate in social and cultural life. There is need for improvement of the application of universal human standards to persons of all stages of life, also to persons who have reached old age and, in particular, the most vulnerable older people, people at risk of poverty, abuse, loneliness. Adequate, fair and sustainable social protection systems (health care, long-term care, pensions) for both current and future generations. We hope and call on the new European Commission and the European Parliament to respond to the challenges of our Ageing Europe. But we are confident that they will work together with the Member States to build a better, age-friendly Europe of tomorrow. We, European Seniors’ Union – ESU, prepare a festive Day of Older Persons and embrace the engagement of our fellow citizens to build an age friendly society for all.


Events in 2019

EPP Congress Zagreb

Zagreb - Croatia

The EPP held its XXVI Congress on 20 and 21 November in Zagreb, Croatia.

“Thirty years of freedom” - Through the eyes of seniors

Bratislva - Slovakia

From 6-8 November, the Christian Senior Citizens' Association of Slovakia, together with the ESU, organised a regional conference in Bratislava.

‘Es gibt nog etwas zu tun’

Berlin - Germany

On 18 and 19 October the presidium gathered in Berlin at the headquarters of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU): Konrad Adenauerhaus.

10th ESU Congress

Sandanski - Bulgaria

‘Seniors standing up for Europe’ this theme brought together over 160 men and women from 20 countries in Sandanski on 27 and 28 September.

10th edition of the Summer Academy

Vienna - Austria

Already for the 10th time, seniors from all over Europe gathered in Vienna for the yearly Summer Academy at the Politische Akademie der ÖVP.

Greetings to Cyprus


A message from our President An Hermans to the congress in Cyprus after the European elections.

Get involved in the future of Europe

Nicosia - Cyprus

A glance at the gathering of Cypriotic seniors on the 13th of May.

European Day of Solidarity between Generations

Brussels - Belgium

A Letter of the ESU on the occasion of the European Day of Solidarity between Generations

The first Forum of Seniors’ Organizations from the Eastern Partnership

Minsk - Belarus

On the 24th and 25 of April, an ESU delegation was honoured to be part of the first Forum of Seniors’ Organizations organized in Minsk.

Conferencia Europea: ‘Con las Personas Mayores Avanza Europa’

Ciudad Real - Spain

Report on the Conferencia Europea: ‘Con las Personas Mayores Avanza Europa’

Launch EPP Campaign

Brussels - Belgium

Manfred Weber launched its ‘Power of WE’ in the House of European History in the presence of an ESU delegation,

Regional Conference Bozen

Bozen - Italy

On 21-23 March, the ESU co-hosted a Regional Conference together with the SVP-Senioren on several challenges our European Union is facing.

Executive Committee - Ambitions for Europe: the 2019 Elections and Beyond

Prague - Czech Republic

During the weekend of 22-24 February, the ESU Executive Committee was welcomed in Prague to gather with the European elections in mind.