Multigenerational relationships

Countries, communities, and organizations are collaborating in new and unique ways in multigenerational initiatives that span information technology, cultural and art events, volunteer and educational programmes, aiming to create a new harmony of the generations in the context of changing societies.

National activities
With the aim to strengthen traditional intergenerational relationships, Venezuela is creating preventative measures to avert the erosion of traditional cultures; India launched partnership programmes between older persons, school children and youth; and Mongolia is encouraging older persons to share their life and work experiences with the younger generation

Mauritius hosted, through the Ministry of Social Security and National Solidarity, and in collaboration with the Fédération internationale des associations de personnes agées (FIAPA) and the Lions Club, a conference with emphasis on intergenerational activities whereby participants agreed to improve collaboration on ageing in the Indian Ocean region. Intergenerational activities are a ubiquitous component of life in Ireland, where interaction and skills in computer technology, historical exploration, and the creative arts flow between the generations. Creative approaches to intergenerational initiatives as a way to promote positive images of older persons are plentiful among other countries, including Peru, Austria, Malta, Cameroon and the Philippines. In particular, Zimbabwe and Singapore focused on walk or dance marathons; Sweden publicized Attitudes Between Generations, a living theatre performance; and Portugal's emphasis on intergenerational activities ushered in a specially made poster and an intergenerational bicycle tour of the country as one of its publicity drives for "A society for all ages". El Salvador worked at promoting the participation and partnership between the young and the old, bringing recognition to older persons who have greatly contributed to society. Luxembourg reached out to youth to participate in film, theatre and music exhibitions for the International Year.

In Canada, GenerationsCANConnect intends to build bridges between seniors and youth using information and communication technologies in various programme settings, including the involvement of Canadian youth interviewing seniors about significant memories and posting them on the Internet. New Zealand has been working with primary- and secondary-school principals in the development of a handbook to assist schools and other organizations in establishing and maintaining volunteer intergenerational programmes. The Netherlands hosted a Day of the Generations, where thousands of young and old came together to create a mosaic and celebrate, through games, projects and exhibits, the generations coming together. Denmark initiated one-week high school courses in which individuals of all ages discussed the role of older persons in different cultures and interaction between the generations. France included intergenerational solidarity, and Sweden, intergenerational relationships for a better future, as chosen themes for the International Year.

United Nations system
The United Ntions Development Programme (UNDP) promoted multigenerational dialogue on development issues, through its Global Meeting of Generations in January 1999. The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) launched The State of World Population, 1998: The New Generations. This comprehensive report examines how families and societies will meet the needs of an older population that is growing at an unprecedented rate at a time when more young people are entering their childbearing and working years. The Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) prepared a comprehensive background paper in its regional seminar on promoting "A society for all ages", entitled Promoting Multigenerational Relationships in Asia and the Pacific. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) distributed an interactive calendar specially made for 1999 as a way to inspire schools to carry out intergenerational dialogues and activities during the Year.

International non-governmental organizations
The CONGO Committee on Ageing/New York, together with the Department of Public Information and the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, organized the Ninth International Day of Older Persons at United Nations Headquarters on 30 September 1999, around the theme "Across generations/across cultures".

Afro-Elder International is exploring how rapid changes in technology and demographics threaten to tear away the threads of culture and history, which are so important to intergenerational relationships. The Pan-African Foundation for Childhood and Third Age Protection (FETAG) works principally to form bridges between the generations by promoting traditional African values of intergenerational solidarity. They hope to open FETAG delegations in other African countries. The CONGO Committee on Ageing/Vienna launched the International Year on the International Day of Older Persons (1 October 1998), with the unique title, "Generations lending wings to each other - learning with each other, from each other, for each other".

The Association la Renaissance de St-Pierre in Martinique organized a regional, week-long event in celebration of the Year to promote multigenerational dialogue and explore regional initiatives. The Fédération internationale des associations de personnes agées (FIAPA) launched Adolescents of Yesterday and Today, an extensive survey that involved a team of one older and one younger person to discuss issues and determine the place of young and old in the next century. The results will be presented at a meeting in Paris in September 1999, which will also serve as a forum for generations to gather and exchange views. The International Council for Caring Communities (ICCC), together with UNCHS (Habitat) and the Open Society Institute New York, will convene "Caring communities for the twenty-first century: a cross-sectoral dialogue" in Budapest in September 1999. The conference will involve an intergenerational design competition from students in 12 countries of Eastern and Central Europe. The European Federation of the Elderly (EURAG) promoted multigenerational development through the conferences, the Importance of Voluntary Work and Self-Help for a Harmonious Co-Existence of Generations, in Germany, and Young & Old 2000: Towards A Society for All Ages, in Austria.