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Efforts to address aging must be intensified worldwide, Ban says



Efforts must increase to support the needs of older people, especially in developing countries, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a conference in Seoul.

"People around the world are living longer, healthier lives, thanks to advances in health and well-being," he said in a video message to the opening on Sunday of the 20th World Congress of Gerontology and Geriatrics, which creates challenges by "putting pressure on institutions such as healthcare and pension systems."

By 2050, 80 percent of the world's older people will live in developing countries and the over-60 population will be larger than the under-15 population, statistics from the U.N. Population Fund indicated.

An aging population also means more experienced workers and more keepers of culture and heritage, Ban said.

In his message, Ban called for full implementation of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Aging that focused on three priority areas: older persons and development; advancing health and well-being into old age; and ensuring enabling and supportive environments.

The World Congress is held every four years by the International Association of Gerontology and Geriatrics and the International Congress Organizing Committee.

Copyright UPI 2013

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