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UNDESA World Social Report 2023

GS Paper 1

Syllabus: Population and Associated Issues



 Direction: The article highlights how fast the world’s population is ageing with a SWOT analysis and way ahead, which may be applied to the Indian context as well.


Context: The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) published the World Social Report 2023, with the theme “Leaving No One Behind in an Aging World“.



  • Rooted in the UN Charter and guided by the transformative 2030 SDGs, the UN DESA (New York City, 1948) upholds the development pillar of the UN.
  • UN DESA helps countries make informed decisions by providing information through publications and databases and international deliberations at the UN General Assembly, ECOSOC, etc.
  • The World Social Report (since 1997 and previously Report on the World Social Situation) has served as a background document for policy analysis of socio-economic trends.
  • Since 2001, the periodicity of the report has been changed from a four-year cycle to a two-year cycle (biennial).
  • In 2022, the world marked the twentieth anniversary of the adoption of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing.
  • To commemorate this landmark, the 2023 Report explores the economic and social implications of the ageing of the human population.


Highlights of the 2023 Report:

  • Population ageing is a defining global trend of the time, which has begun or is expected to begin soon in all countries and areas.
  • People are living longer (an inevitable result of the demographic transition), and more are older than ever before.
  • Spectacular improvements in health and survival and reductions in fertility have driven this momentous shift.
  • This change brings both challenges and opportunities as countries strive to achieve the SDGs.


Population ageing signals the extraordinary collective success of the world in improving living

conditions for billions of people.

●        Decrease in the share of working-age people in the total population.

●        Dependency, vast inequalities, diverse needs, the COVID-19 crisis, the war in Ukraine, and Climate change.

Demand for long-term care is soaring in many countriesImpose significant social, economic, fiscal, and health-related costs on present and future generations.


Two policy actions suggested by the report:

  • To promote labour market participation and increased productivity, uphold good health and prevent poverty.
  • To reduce inequality and promote economic security at older ages in a fiscally sustainable manner, taking into account both pensions and health care.


Conclusion: The national policies aimed at creating equitable, inclusive societies for people of all ages, and prioritising the rights and well-being of older people are the need of the hour.

Insta Links:

As India ages, keeping an eye on the elderly


Mains Links:

Q. Critically examine the effects of globalisation on the aged population in India. (UPSC 2013)