The UNDP believes that when age is used to categorize and divide people in ways that lead to harm, disadvantage, and cause injustice, it hampered sustainable, inclusive and equitable development.
It has been estimated that about 6.3 million cases of depression globally are attributable to ageism, and this has negative effects on people’s well-being and societies at large.
Dr Angela Lusigi, UNDP Resident Representative in Ghana, sharing her thoughts with the Ghana News Agency on the 2022 International Youth Day, said prejudice and discrimination based on a person’s age was an increasing problem that affected young and old alike.
“This ageism devalues and limits the contribution of both younger and older populations to our collective development.”
The theme for this year’s celebration is “Intergenerational Solidarity: Creating a World for All Ages”.
The Day which falls on August 12, every year, is used to create awareness of a given set of cultural and legal issues surrounding the youth.
In Ghana, she noted, young people were more likely to be unemployed and up to 13.4 per cent of Ghanaians over the age of 15 were unemployed.
This figure was much higher for young adults aged between 15-24 years where 32.8 per cent or nearly 1 in 3 were unemployed.
Young people were also poorly represented in political institutions, public service, and decision-making, she observed, arguing that, older adults were also disadvantaged in workplaces and access to healthcare, specialized training and education.
A recent UN global report on ageism revealed that, globally, one in two people is discriminatory against older people.
“Our future depends on breaking the barriers that contribute to ageism.”
Dr Lusigi believed that fostering inclusion required an integrated approach that created an enabling environment, innovative tools, mechanisms, and platforms that allowed youth and people of all ages to contribute meaningfully to the advancement of the SDGs.
There was also the need to implement supportive policies and laws to end discrimination, develop educational interventions for empowerment as well promoting engagement across generations for collective action.
She said these were why the UNDP and partners continue to create platforms like the YouthConnektAfrica to connect young people to other generations and also for them to tap into opportunities to unleash their innovative potential.
In Ghana, through its youth empowerment interventions, UNDP had invested in many young entrepreneurs who were building on traditional knowledge from older family members.