International workshop on Strengthening Stakeholders Cooperation in Promoting Active Ageing and Mental Health in ASEAN

18 November 2020

HA NOI, 18 November 2020 The International Workshop on Strengthening Stakeholders Cooperation in Promoting Active Ageing and Mental Health in ASEAN was opened today in Ha Noi by the Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), the United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA), and the World Health Organization (WHO). The workshop was organized as an event of Viet Nam chairmanship of ASEAN 2020 to share experience and strengthen cooperation among stakeholders in promoting active ageing and mental health for older persons in ASEAN community.


Co-chairs of the workshop: Vice Minister of Health, GOPFP General Director, WHO Representative in Viet Nam, UNFPA Representative in Viet Nam and ERIA Reprensentative


Population ageing is a global phenomenon. Virtually every country in the world is experiencing growth in both the size and the proportion of older persons in the population. In 2020, there are an estimated over 700 million persons aged 65 years or over worldwide, accounting for 9.1 per cent. This number will be more than double by 2050, reaching over 1.5 billion persons, accounting for 15.5 per cent.

The number of older persons in ASEAN is more than 45 million population aged 65years or over, accounting for 7 per cent of total ASEAN’s population in 2019. This number is projected to be 132 million persons, accounts for 16.7 per cent of total ASEAN’s population by 2050.

Viet Nam has officially entered the "ageing phase" since 2011, with the number of older persons (at aged 65 years or over) accounting for 7 per cent of the total population. Currently, the number of older persons (65years or over) is 7,4 million older persons, accounting for 7.7 per cent of total population. It will increase to 22.3 million older persons, accounting for 20.4 per cent by 2050. Viet Nam is one of the most rapidly ageing countries in the world. If developed countries take a century or some decades for transform from 7 per cent to 14 per cent of the population at aged 65 years or over, such as France (115 years), Sweden (85 years), Australia (73 years), United States of America (69 years), Canada (65 year), United Kingdom (45 years, it will take 20 years for Viet Nam.

Addressing the workshop, Mr. Truong Quoc Cuong, Vice Minister of Health said: “The Party and the Government of Viet Nam always pay attention, care and support and promote the role of older persons. The Resolution No. 21-NQ /TW dated October 25, 2017 of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Viet Nam, emphasizes the importance of adapting to population ageing, providing necessary health care for the elderly, and encouraging the development of health care facilities to meet the needs of older persons. It is necessary to strengthen cross-sectoral coordination and participation of all stakeholders to build a dynamic and healthy ageing society.”


Participating in the workshop were 170 people, attending both online and offline from 10 ASEAN Member States and partners discussing the current situation, the trend of ageing in ASEAN, health statues especially mental health, and care needs of older persons. International experts from ERIA, UNFPA, WHO and ASEAN Member States shared experiences and lessons learned on how to promote healthy active ageing in ASEAN community, particularly in the context of the Covid19 pandemic.

Ms. Naomi Kitahara, UNFPA Representative in Viet Nam is giving the opening speech at the workshop

Addressing the event, Ms. Naomi Kitahara, UNFPA Representative in Viet Nam said: "Population ageing is not the subject to be ignored in the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. Population ageing happens not because of mortality decline, or because people live longer, but largely because fertility declines. All countries in the world including Viet Nam must be prepared for aging when couples start to have a smaller family. Viet Nam must envision a new paradigm that aligns demographic ageing with economic and social growth and ensures social inclusion of the elderly”. 

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic amplifies and highlights the vulnerabilities and specific needs of older persons. It is clear that the fatality rate for older persons is higher, and for those over 80, it is five times higher than the global average. Older persons must be a priority in ASEAN community’s efforts to overcome COVID-19 to ensure no one is left behind in humanitarian response as well as in development effort.

With the theme Cohesive and responsive ASEAN, the participants came up with recommendations on how to promote meaningful responses to population ageing – responses based on values of non-discrimination and equality that advance the vision of a vigorous, happy and healthy old age to a cohesive and responsive ASEAN community in promoting healthy active ageing.

For further information, please contact:

Mr. Luong Quang Dang

The General Office for Population

Ministry of Health, Viet Nam

Phone: 0904 377 869




Nguyen Thi Hong Thanh

UNFPA Communications

Phone: 0913093363