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General Assembly Sessions


The General Assembly is the most inclusive organ of the UN, comprising all countries of the world, and meets annually in New York from late September to the end of December. Its crowded agenda includes an item on the follow-up to the World Assembly on Ageing. 

The item is taken up first in the committee on social and humanitarian questions (the Third Committee), where most of the debate takes place and draft resolutions are submitted and negotiated. The resolutions adopted in committee then go to the plenary for final endorsement. They provide the necessary mandates to the international system for future action. Non-governmental organizations are not allowed to participate in the Assembly, but they are often active informally by submitting documentation to the Secretariat for its reports, and lobbying governmental delegations for inclusion of desired wording in the resolutions.


Sixty-fourth session (2009) | Sixty-third session (2008) | Sixty-second session (2007)
  Sixth-first session (2006) | Sixtieth session (2005) | Fifty-ninth session (2004) 
Fifty-eighth session (2003)
UN Rapporteurs | Links  

Sixty-fourth session (2009)

Third Committee Urges UN Member States to Protect the Rights of Older Women in Rural Areas (November 2009)
The UN General Assembly Third Committee recently urged Member States to protect the rights of older women living in rural areas. The 2009 draft resolution focuses on improving the situation of rural women, highlighting the vulnerability of indigenous older women. Many older women in rural areas do not enjoy the right to health care, freedom from violence, property and inheritance, water, food, and political participation. 

Follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing (October 22, 2009)
After many debates, the Third Committee adopted its resolution A/C.3/64/L.6 on aging. In it, Member States request the Secretary-General to “submit to the General Assembly at its sixty-fifth session, […], a comprehensive report on the current status of the social situation, wellbeing, development and rights of older persons at the national and regional levels.” Committee members re-affirmed the importance of the UN, its Regional Commissions, as well as national and international non-governmental organizations in assuring the rights of older persons.

Follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing; Report of the Secretary-General (July 6, 2009)

(Report also available in French, Chinese, and Spanish)
On July 6, 2009, the Secretary General’s Report, a follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing, was released. It notes that questions related to promoting, protecting and ensuring the rights of older persons have come more to the center of national and international attention. However, the UN has not sufficiently addressed effective ways to guarantee older persons’ rights. While the international plans of action on ageing as well as the UN Principles for Older Persons attempted to fill this gap, they contain no binding language. Results have been mixed. The report lists recommendations for Member States.

Sixty-third session (2008)

Follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing (December 18, 2008)
The General Assembly of the United Nations adopted Resolution (A/RES/63/151) which encourages member states to take a more active involvement in the eradication poverty amongst older persons, and particularly older women. Most importantly, the Resolution requests the Secretary-General to submit to the General Assembly at its sixty-fourth session a report on the implementation of the present resolution, including information on the promotion and protection of human rights as they pertain to older persons.

Follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing - Report of the Secretary-General (A/63/95) (July 1, 2008)
(Report also available in French, Spanish, Russian, Chinese and Arabic)

This document reviews, appraises and recommends policies for the future implementation of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Aging (2002). The document notes which aspects of MIPAA have had the most global success: new social protection mechanisms; extending health-care benefits to older persons; increasing the participation of older persons. The report also notes common obstacles: limited coverage of older persons in formal social protection schemes, particularly in developing countries; lack of access to adequate care and health services for older persons; lack of education and training opportunities; insufficient participation of older persons in political, economic, social, and cultural areas of social life. The authors also review the implementation framework and capacity building exercises. In conclusion, they recommend that Member States “devise strategies for overcoming obstacles to the implementation of the Madrid Plan.”

Sixty-second session (2007) 

Follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing - Report of the Secretary-General (A/62/131) (July 23, 2007) (A/62/131/Corr.1)
In his report to the 62nd session of the General Assembly, the UN Secretary General gives examples of implementation efforts as well as lessons learned during the first cycle of the Madrid Plan of Action on Ageing. Examples encompass legal frameworks, such as legislation focused on older persons in Brazil, social protection systems, such as the establishment of non-contributory social pensions in many poor countries and the development of human resources that particularly deal with aging issues. Calling progress made since 2002 , “remarkable,” the Secretary General concludes with recommendations, such as improving capacity building. The report does not, however, identify ways to build financial capacity for poor countries to implement aging programs. 

Sixty-first session (2006)

Follow-up to the World Assembly on Ageing – Resolution Adopted by the General Assembly (A/RES/61/142) (January 30, 2007)
The General Assembly, on December 19, 2006, accepted the draft resolution submitted by the Third Committee with only one change in the original text. Article 9 of the resolution invites Member States to submit policy recommendations to enhance Madrid Plan implementation in addition to their reports on the implementation progress.

Follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing - Draft Resolution Presented by South Africa (A/C.3/61/L.6) (October 4, 2006)
South Africa presented this draft resolution, co-sponsored by the Russian Federation, to follow-up on the Second World Assembly on Ageing on behalf of the Group of 77 and China. The resolution calls on the international community for greater support for national efforts to implement MIPAA, including adequate support for research and data-collection, particularly on gender and aging, and the UN Trust Fund for Ageing. The resolution also encourages governments to pay greater attention to “building capacity to eradicate poverty among older persons, particularly older women, by mainstreaming ageing issues into poverty eradication strategies and national development plans,” and recommends to ECOSOC the “integration of ageing into the monitoring, review and appraisal exercises of other major international development initiatives and policy frameworks,” such as the UN Millennium Development Declaration.

Follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing - Report of the Secretary-General (A/61/167) (July 19, 2006)
In this report, the UN Secretary General presents “merely a snapshot of national capacity” to implement the Madrid Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA). The Secretariat could not rely on comprehensive information from Member States, because MIPAA is not a legally binding document. The UN cannot require Member States to report on the implementation progress on a regular basis. The report, responding to General Assembly resolution 60/135, highlights several national capacity building and implementation efforts, such as the introduction of social pension programs to support older persons, in poor countries, such as in South Africa. The report criticizes the “low profile” of aging issues exemplified by the” insufficient political attention and inadequate financial support geared towards building national capacity for implementing the Madrid Plan of Action.”

Sixtieth session (2005)

Follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing - Resolution Adopted by the General Assembly (A/RES/60/135) (February 2, 2006)
This resolution, passed by the General Assembly on December 16, 2005, recognizes that in many countries around the world “awareness of the Madrid Plan of Action remains limited or non-existent.” The resolution stresses the “need for additional capacity-building at the national level” for MIPAA implementation and encourages Governments to support the United Nations Trust Fund for Ageing to enable the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the Secretariat to provide expanded assistance to countries, upon their request.” The resolution further stresses “the importance of the collection of data and population statistics disaggregated by age and sex on all aspects of policy formulation by all countries, and encourages the relevant entities of the United Nations system to support national efforts in capacity-building, especially those of developing countries and countries with economies in transition.”

Follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing- Report of the Secretary-General (A/60/151) (July 22, 2005)
In this report,
the Secretary General assesses UN internal and national follow-up activities to the Second World Assembly on Aging in 2004/2005. The report underlines the "general lack of awareness" of the Assembly's Plan of Action and urges raising its visibility. The report also describes governmental, regional as well as UN and NGO efforts to mainstream ageing issues into international programs and activities and provides recommendations for the General Assembly to consider.

Fifty-ninth session (2004)

Follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing - Report of the Secretary-General (A/59/164) (July 21, 2004)
As requested by the General Assembly in 2003, the Secretary-General submitted this report on UN activities to implement the Madrid Plan of Action, based on contributions received from 14 UN system organizations and major NGOs working in the field of ageing. The report concludes that some progress has been achieved since 2002 on linking ageing and development within the organizations and bodies of the UN system, but much more remains to be done, particularly at the national level. It notes that maintaining priority on the international agenda for older persons' issues is a challenge given the many competing issues and limited resources. The report makes a number of recommendations that were then taken up in the resolution adopted by the General Assembly. 

Follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing - Resolution by the GA (A/RES/59/150 ) (February 1, 2005)
Resolution 59/150 of December 20, 2004 invited States and the UN system to take into account the needs and concerns of older persons in decision-making at all levels; invited the functional commissions of the Economic and Social Council to integrate ageing issues into their work; recommended that the Commission on the Status of Women continue to consider the situation of older women; encouraged the regional commissions to elaborate a regional strategy for the implementation of the Madrid Plan of Action; requested the Secretary-General to submit his proposals for conducting the review and appraisal of the Plan at the regional and global levels to the Commission for Social Development in 2006; and requested the UN system organizations to strengthen the capacity of the focal points on ageing and to provide them with adequate resources.

Fifty-eighth session (2003)  

Follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing - Report of the Secretary-General (A/58/160 ) (July 17, 2003) 
During the first year of follow-up to the World Assembly on Ageing, the UN system developed a "road map", or a comprehensive strategy in order to assist governments in the implementation of their commitments towards older persons. The strategy identifies national capacity-building and mainstreaming of ageing into national development policies as the main aspects of the process, particularly in developing countries and countries with economies in transition. It sets out steps to be taken at the national and international level, taking into account the gender dimension, and recommends a "bottom-up approach" for assessing progress.  The approach stresses the need for participation, dialogue and sharing of ideas and best practices among all stakeholders, therefore including older persons and their organizations. This report by the Secretary General gives a detailed description of the strategy.

Follow-up to the Second World Assembly on Ageing - Resolution by the GA (A/RES/58/134) (January 26, 2003)
This General Assembly resolution adopted on December 22, 2003 recognized that population ageing worldwide makes it "imperative that ageing be integrated into development policies for the attainment of internationally agreed development goals" and called on governments and UN system organizations to act accordingly. Specifically, it requested the Economic and Social Council to consider ageing in its review of issues arising from the global conferences; requested the Social Development Commission to integrate ageing in the follow-up to the World Summit for Social Development, and to cooperate with the Commission on the Status of Women with regard to older women; requested the Statistical Commission to develop modalities for disaggregating data by age and sex; requested the UN system organizations to report to the Social Development Commission on their progress in mainstreaming ageing in their work ; and invited the international financial institutions and regional development banks to take older persons into account in their policies and projects.


UN General Assembly Current Session
A link to the General Assembly's main site providing links to main actors, news, direct webcasts, etc.  

UN General Assembly Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural)
This website provides links to draft proposals, voting records and the allocation of agenda items. 



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