Improving lives of elderly with information technology focus of UN event

Video of press briefing Former United States Congressman Benjamin Gilman told a press briefing that as part of his address, he had encouraged participants to develop a campaign for public diplomacy. In that connection, he recommended that communities form advisory councils, liaise with business and marketing experts, develop good messengers and work with the media.He cautioned that without leadership fostered through public diplomacy, the best goals in the world would be “meaningless.” More than 100 delegates had gathered for the meeting on “Caring Communities for the 21st Century: Imagining the Possible – Age of Connectivity: Harnessing the Generations,” organized by the International Council for Caring Communities in collaboration with several UN bodies, to look at how ICT can be used to deal with the economic, social and cultural challenges brought on by an ageing population worldwide.Joining Mr. Gilman was Alexandre Sidorenko, the UN Focal Point on Ageing, who said the forum had focused on the goals set by two recent international meetings: the 2002 Second World Assembly on Ageing in Madrid, which had the goal of creating a society for all ages; and the 2003 World Summit on the Information Society in Geneva, which aimed to overcome the digital divide and build an all-inclusive information society.The focus of today’s discussion, Mr. Sidorenko said, was how the goals of the two conferences could be achieved. One of the major tasks in achieving targets in the field of ageing and information and communications technology was to have workable public diplomacy.One of the predominant themes had been the lack of political will, particularly in developing countries, to consider the needs and expectations of older persons, Mr. Sidorenko added. To redress this, he said he had stressed the need to mobilize civil society to persuade governments to look at the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.