The Active Ageing Index (AAI) is an analytical tool launched by the European Commission and the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE) with the objective of helping policymakers to develop policies for active and healthy ageing. This index could serve as an indicator of an active life.
With regard to the indicator of the number and proportion of older persons below the poverty line, it is important to consider alternative measurement methods that capture more than just lack of income.
Possible lines of action
1. Develop a strategic national plan on active ageing, one that takes a comprehensive, multisector approach to active ageing, focused either on older workers as a specific target group or on meeting their needs within a broader framework designed to address the challenges of working life (for example, work-life balance). 2. Introduce legislation to prohibit discrimination on the basis of age in the labour market. 3. Introduce programmes to encourage the transfer of experience and know-how from older to younger workers (for example, mentoring programmes for entrepreneurs). 4. Introduce fiscal incentives for employers (for example, reducing the social contribution rates) to encourage the retention of older workers. 5. Develop national policies for lifelong learning that include guarantees of education, training and skills development for older workers. 6. Set up programmes to support people in preparing for retirement through savings plans and participation in social security systems. 7. Mount a national campaign of financial education for retirement (for example, send out a yearly letter to workers, projecting their eventual annual retirement incomes). 8. Measure the untapped potential of older persons for active and healthy ageing, through such tools as the Active Ageing Index developed by the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE). 9. Ensure that policies take into account healthy ageing.
Related instruments, forums and mechanisms
The content of this measure is also encompassed in the San José Charter on the rights of older persons in Latin America and the Caribbean, in agreement 8: “Promote fulfilment of the right of older persons to work and have access to income-generating activities by means of the following actions: (a) Promote the development of measures designed to ensure equal treatment and equal opportunities, especially with regard to working conditions, guidance and training at all levels, in particular equality in vocational training and job placement; (b) Adopt active employment policies that promote the participation or re-entry of older workers in the labour market, based on country-specific opportunities; (c) Promote legal reforms and economic incentives to enable older persons to continue working beyond the retirement age, in accordance with their capacity, experience and preferences, including measures such as gradually reducing the working day, part-time employment and flexible hours; (d) Disseminate information on the right to retire, preparations for retirement and its advantages, as well as on the possibilities of other vocational or voluntary activities; (e) Promote entrepreneurship and access to credit”.
The content of this measure is also encompassed in the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, under priority direction 1 (“Older persons and development”, issue 1 (“Active participation in society and development”), objective 1 (“Recognition of the social, cultural, economic and political contribution of older persons”), with the following recommended actions: (a) Ensure the full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by promoting the implementation of human rights conventions and other human rights instruments, particularly in combating all forms of discrimination; (b) Acknowledge, encourage and support the contribution of older persons to families, communities and the economy; (c) Provide opportunities, programmes and support to encourage older persons to participate or continue to participate in cultural, economic, political, social life and lifelong learning; (d) Provide information and access to facilitate the participation of older persons in mutual self-help, intergenerational community groups and opportunities for realizing their full potential; (e) Create an enabling environment for volunteering at all ages, including through public recognition, and facilitate the participation of older persons who may have little or no access to the benefits of engaging in volunteering; (f) Promote a wider understanding of the cultural, social and economic role and continuing contribution of older persons to society, including that of unpaid work; (g) Older persons should be treated fairly and with dignity, regardless of disability or other status, and should be valued independently of their economic contribution; (h) Take account of the needs of older persons and respect the right to live in dignity at all stages of life; (i) Promote a favourable attitude among employers regarding the productive capacity of older workers as being conducive to their continued employment and promote awareness of their worth, including their self-awareness, in the labour market; (j) Promote civic and cultural participation as strategies to combat social isolation and support empowerment.