Not for use before 4 October 2001

4 October 2001


NEW YORK, 3 October (UN Headquarters) -- Her Royal Highness Princess Infanta Doña Cristina of Spain, the youngest of two daughters of the King and Queen of Spain, will serve as Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Second World Assembly on Ageing, to be held in Madrid, Spain, from 8 to 12 April 2002. The announcement of her appointment is being made today to coincide with the observance in New York of the eleventh International Day of Older Persons.

As Goodwill Ambassador for the World Assembly, Princess Infanta Cristina will join Marcel Marceau, the internationally renowned artist often referred to as the world's greatest mime, who was appointed Goodwill Ambassador for the Second World Assembly last April. Mr. Marceau -- who has already greatly contributed to promoting the World Assembly -- welcomed the support of Princess Infanta Cristina. "I look forward to meeting my fellow Goodwill Ambassador next year in Spain, her home country, and together celebrating the success that I am sure that World Assembly will be."

The Princess’ mission will be to promote the World Assembly and its goals of developing an effective international strategy to address the dramatic impact of global population ageing, one of the defining challenges facing the international community, and of ensuring that all men and women can age with security and dignity.

Princess Infanta Cristina has accepted her appointment as Goodwill Ambassador and will address participants at the International Day of Older Persons observance in a videotaped message. "I am committed to this role, not only because of Spain's involvement as the host country, but because I believe in the importance of seizing this opportunity to respond to a changing world", says Princess Infanta Cristina in this message, adding that "... medical advances are enabling people to live longer and more productive lives. As a representative of my generation, I can say that we are grateful to previous generations for these achievements and we look forward to reaping the benefits".

Born in Madrid on 13 June 1965, Her Royal Highness the Infanta Doña Cristina Federica de Borbon y Grecia studied Political Science at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and received a Master's Degree in International Relations from New York University in 1990. After receiving her degree, she worked with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in Paris for a year.

The Princess is the Honourable President of the Spanish Commission for UNESCO, where she has worked on educational projects and the protection of the natural and artistic heritage. She has also lent her support to various charitable organizations, and is currently the President of the International Foundation of Care for the Disabled. Princess Infanta Cristina was a member of the Spanish Olympic sailing team in the Seoul Games in 1988.

The Second World Assembly on Ageing will be convened in April 2002 in Madrid, 20 years after the first World Assembly was held in Vienna. The upcoming Assembly is expected to adopt an International Strategy for Action on Ageing, intended to be a practical tool to assist policy makers in developing responses to changing demographic structures of their societies. The Strategy will emphasize the need to ensure that ageing is a basic part of all policy agendas, both domestic and international, and that ageing is fully linked to other frameworks for social, economic and human rights development.

Humankind is ageing. In the next 50 years, the number of older people will increase from about 600 million to almost 2,000 million, and by mid-century the old and the young are expected to represent an equal share of the world's population. In some developed countries and countries with economies in transition, the number of older persons already exceeds the number of children, and birth rates have fallen below replacement levels.

However, the increase in number of older persons will be greatest in developing countries where the older population is expected to quadruple during the next 50 years. This demographic shift presents a major resource challenge, as developing countries simultaneously have to contend with development and population ageing. The demographic transformation that the world is undergoing has profound consequences for every aspect of life -- for the individual and for society as a whole.

Further information

The Princess' biography, her official photograph and the videotaped message can be found on the Web site for the Second World Assembly on Ageing: Broadcasters requiring a copy of the Princess' videotaped message can call (212) 963-3507 or (212) 963-7650. The draft of the International Strategy for Action on Ageing can be viewed on the web page of the United Nations Programme on Ageing, at

For additional information, please contact: Laufey Love, Development and Human Rights Section, Department of Public Information, tel: (212) 963-3507 or Diane Loughran, United Nations Programme on Ageing, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, tel: (212) 963-1707

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* Press Release PI/1381 issued on 21 September should have been PI/1382.