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The challenge of gathering data on active ageing

The challenge of gathering data on active ageing

UNECE member States are expected to submit national reports that provide an analysis of the current state of realization of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing and its Regional Implementation Strategy (MIPAA/RIS), by 31 October this year, as part of a five-year reporting cycle.  An integral part of these national reports is a statistical annex based on 22 indicators of active ageing - the same indicators that form the Active Ageing Index (currently computed for the 28 EU countries and a few other countries in the region).

The original active ageing indicators are based on variables that come from a number of harmonized European surveys, equivalents to which are not always available in other UNECE countries. Hence compiling data for many of the active ageing indicators can be problematic. For example, indicators on the social participation of older persons such as voluntary activities or care provision for grandchildren and older adults, or those related to their physical safety or social connectedness are among the most difficult to obtain.   

That is why the UNECE Population Unit organised a series of workshops on “Addressing data gaps for active ageing indicators”. The second one took place on 23 and 24 June in Minsk and was hosted by the National Statistical Committee of the Republic of Belarus (read the press release in Russian at With the support of UNFPA EECARO and UNFPA Belarus the workshop brought together national focal points on ageing and statisticians from fourteen countries of Eastern Europe, Caucasus, Central Asia and Western Balkans.

Consultations with experts from Germany and the Russian Federation as well as the exchange of practices among represented countries provided guidance as to which possible alternative variables and data sources can be used for the indicators in question. Active participation in the group work and the positive feedback from participants indicate that the workshop was an important step towards the preparation of the statistical annex to the national reports, thereby helping statisticians and policymakers to identify possible variables and work together in gathering information that could be used to assess the progress of implementing MIPAA/RIS over the last five years.

The presentations given at the workshop can be found at