Public Seminar - Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing 2002 Imperial Hotel, Sliema
Saturday 3rd March
0845 – 1245

The Maltese Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics (MAGG), together with the European Centre of Gerontology, University of Malta in collaboration with the Parliamentary Secretariat for the Elderly and Community Care, is organising a half-day seminar on the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing 2002. With a mission to promote “a society for all ages”, the United Nations held the Second World Assembly on Ageing in Madrid in April 2002. It analysed the progress achieved since the First World Assembly in Vienna in 1982, and also addressed priorities for future action.

The First World Assembly was called to raise awareness on the explosion in numbers of older people in the world, as well the implications of this demographic trend on both national and international development. The result was an important document recognised by governments as the Vienna International Plan of Action. It called for humanitarian and development approaches to ageing and highlighted the imperative for training in all aspects of gerontology and geriatrics. It is worth pointing out that it was Malta who raised the issue of Population Ageing at the United Nations in 1968. Indeed, our country played a pivotal role in the success of the First World Assembly in Vienna.

While the First World Assembly had focussed on the patterns of ageing in the developed world, the Second World Assembly attached a high precedence to the situations in developing countries, where increased longevity meant that older people were living longer in poverty. This meant that both the developed and the developing countries recognised that ageing was a global concern.

The Second World Assembly of Action on Ageing in Madrid saw government representatives from all over the world adopt a blueprint for an international response to the opportunities and challenges of population ageing in this century. Two main documents were approved: a political document in which governments acknowledged the need to incorporate ageing into social and economic strategies, policies and actions; and the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing 2002. The latter provided world policymakers with a list of 117 recommendations covering three main domains. These are:

1. Older Persons and Development – This priority focuses on the continuing integration and empowerment of older persons, enabling them to participate in society, development, and the labour force.

2. Advancing Health and well-being into Old Age – This wide ranging priority urges governments to reduce the effects of factors that increase disease and dependence in older age, develop policies to prevent ill health, and provide access to adequate nutrition. This part of the document also recommends that governments promote access to training for older workers, increase adult literacy, while expanding educational opportunities in the fields of geriatrics and gerontology for all health professionals who work with older persons.

3. Ensuring Enabling and Supportive Environments – improving housing and the living environments of older persons are world-recognised priorities. However, this section of the document also addresses the promotion of a positive view of ageing and supporting the caregiving role of older persons, amongst others.

In brief, the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing 2002 calls for changes in attitudes, policies and practices in all sectors so as to realise the great potential of ageing in the 21st century, and that older persons should be perceived as a valuable resource in the service of society. This seminar aims to promote this landmark document to the Maltese public. It will be held at the Imperial Hotel in Sliema on Saturday 3rd March. Registration opens at 8000hrs. Cost per participant is Lm3 (inclusive of registration fee and coffee break). To register kindly contact the European Centre of Gerontology on telephone 21319526 or 23402237. Places are awarded on a first-come first-served basis. This event is designed to facilitate discussion. Keynote speakers will include Professor Joseph Troisi, Dr Anthony Fiorini and Mr Marvin Formosa. The seminar will also be addressed by Professor John Rizzo Naudi and The Hon. Ms Helen D’Amato. Sponsors include Be Independent Limited, Sidroc Services and Unicare Limited.