Press Release

Ageing Populations - Implications, Challenges and Opportunities

6 September 2016

HelpAge Asia-Pacific Regional Conference 2016: The Economic Implications of Ageing

Ha Noi, Viet Nam, 6-8 September 2016 - As more and more countries in Asia and the Pacific face rapidly ageing populations, understanding and strategically preparing for these shifting demographics and their significant socio-economic implications is a top priority for governments across the region more than ever.

By 2050, there will be close to 1.3 billion people aged over 60 living in East Asia and the Pacific,  equivalent to two-thirds of the world’s older men and women. This has significant economic implications for countries that will face a proportionally smaller working-age population and a growing number of older dependents.

These challenges are being addressed at the HelpAge Asia-Pacific Regional Conference from 6-8 September 2016 in Hanoi, Vietnam - a biannual event that explores issues impacting on the quality of life of older people.

“East Asia and the Pacific’s demographic changes have deep social and economic implications across the region. Policies that prepare for this demographic transformation are urgently needed to maintain economic growth and the wellbeing of everyone.” said Eduardo Klien, East Asia-Pacific Regional Director, HelpAge International.

For 2016, the conference theme of “The economic implications of ageing” focuses on key areas including health and care, work in later life, sources of household income and market dynamics.

Through the lens of population ageing, conference participants will look at national and regional fiscal priorities and future economic performance vis-a-vis individuals, communities and societies.  

“The conference’s main objective is to build a better understanding on the social and economic techniques needed to adapt to rapid population ageing,” added Klien.

“Ageing populations are commonly viewed as a threat, even a potential catastrophe, by many governments and economists, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be a self-fulfilling prophecy,” noted Yoriko Yasukawa, Asia-Pacific Regional Director of the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA. “Making changes to economic and health policies as well as mindsets can help countries achieve an optimal future by minimising the burdens and maximising the contributions of older persons.  Ultimately, this issue must be viewed and addressed within the context of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda whose central pledge is to truly leave no one behind.”

The conference will bring together around 300 participants from 35 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, with government ministries, international organisations, academic institutions, civil society and the private sector all represented.

“We are looking forward to learning from the experiences of other countries taking part in this conference. In addition, we would like to share Vietnam’s experiences, especially the Inter-generational Self-help Club (ISHC). Seeing the ISHC as a good model in caring for and promoting the role and contribution of older people in community, recently the Vietnam Government Prime Minister has approved a national project to replicate ISHCs widely” said H.E. Mr Dam Trong Nguyen, Vice Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs of Vietnam.
“We believe that the outcomes of this conference will lay a strong foundation for Vietnam and other Asia-Pacific countries to come up with policies’ recommendation, development and revision as well as measures needed for a just and equitable society for all people including the older people”, said H.E Mr Dung Ngoc Dao, Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs, Vice Chair of the Vietnam National Committee on Aging (VNCA).

“This Asia - Pacific conference with the theme “economic implications of ageing” has a very significant meaning, which will come up with recommendations to help us transform challenges into opportunities” –noted H.E.Mr Vu Duc Dam, Deputy Prime Minister, Chair of VNCA.

With collaboration from all sectors represented at the conference, participants will discover and expand upon what needs to be done to realise fair and equitable societies for all ages, including older people, across Asia and the Pacific.

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The conference is co-hosted by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs of Vietnam (MOLISA), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and HelpAge International, in collaboration with the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD), Age International, the European Union (EU), Myanmar’s Livelihoods and Food Security Trust Fund (LIFT), and the World Health Organization (WHO).

More information about the conference: www.ageingasiaconf2016.org  

Follow us on Twitter for conference updates via @HelpAgeEAPRO, @UNFPAAsia, @unfpa_vietnam, #AgeingEcon, #HARC16

Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA)
Vietnam’s Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) is responsible for labour, employment, national devotees, social protection for older people and other vulnerable groups, and gender equality.

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is the lead UN agency for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person's potential is fulfilled. Taking a life-cycle approach, UNFPA also works to raise awareness about population ageing and the need to harness its opportunities and address its challenges.

HelpAge International
HelpAge International helps older people claim their rights, challenge discrimination and overcome poverty, so that they can lead dignified, secure, active and healthy lives. Our work is strengthened through our global network of like-minded organisations – the only one of its kind in the world.

For media enquiries and interviews of speakers, please contact:
Vietnamese Media
Ms. Anh Ngoc Nguyen, Specialist Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs
Tel: 0985057513; Email: anh.nn@icd-molisa.gov.vn    

Ms Thanh Thi Hoang, Communication Officer, HelpAge International in Vietnam
Tel: (+84) 043474145; Email: thanhht@helpagevn.org   

Ms Thanh Thi Hong Nguyen, Communication Officer, UNFPA Vietnam
Tel: 0913093363; Email: tnguyen@unfpa.org     

International Media
Baralee Meesukh, Communications Manager
Tel: + 66 (0) 81 921 6462; Email: cee@helpageasia.org   
Panitee Nuykram, Public Relations Officer
Tel: +66 (0) 82 455 5948;  Email: panitee@helpageasia.org