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(VELINO) Roma, 24 Jun - An ageing world population "is now notonly a great opportunity and wealth, but also one of the majorbiomedical, social, cultural, economic and employmentchallenges of our time", said Undersecretary for ForeignAffairs, Benedetto della Vedova, in his opening speech at the"G20 Workshop Silver economy and active ageing, an opportunityfor growth and job creation", organised and hosted by theItalian Foreign Ministry in cooperation with the Turkishpresidency of the G20 and OECD. "In the last decade of the 20thcentury we saw a notable increase in the duration of humanlife, which in little over a century has lengthened by about 20to 30 years," he continued. "It is an accelerating demographicphenomenon and one of great significance. It is the result ofmedical advances and improved living conditions for everyone,but also a factor that deeply affects the economy and the wholeof society. It touches, in addition to senior citizens: theirfamilies, local authorities both urban and agricultural,economic and social organisation, the vision of the life cycle,the system of interpersonal and intergenerationalrelationships, and society both at a national and transnationallevel." In this regard, Della Vedova continued: "The G20countries have the opportunity to send a strong politicalmessage to public opinion and the business world. Thestereotype of ageing as a fundamentally negative phenomenon anda 'burden' for society and public finances, needs to bereplaced by a new vision: that of the opportunities that thisphenomenon implies." With this in mind Italy is working to"raise awareness among G20 governments to plan togetherappropriate governance measures to manage this radical change,through better coordination of domestic and internationalaction, and by encouraging the development of a new market forgoods and services focused on ageing." Mr della Vedova believesit necessary to "encourage support and innovation strategiesfor business opportunities, such as the development andmarketing of products and services tuned to the specific needsof the elderly, the adaptation and conversion of products,services, living and residential environments, already inexistence, that are more functional for the elderly, the designof products and universal services that offer added value tothe older population, or greater connection between the oldergenerations and those of other age groups. The objective is toassist future negotiations by the G20 Employment Working Groupover the 'Silver Economy and Active Ageing Principles andGuidelines', which could hopefully be agreed in late July, andthen presented to G20 Labour Ministers at their meeting inSeptember and, subsequently, to the leaders at a summit inAntalya," the undersecretary concluded. vel.