Speech of Ms. Astrid Bant, UNFPA Representative at Talkshow "Responding to Population Ageing in Viet Nam: the Way Forward"

1 October 2018

Your Excellency Ms. Pham Thi Hai Chuyen, President of the Viet Nam Association of the Elderly;
Your Excellency Mr. Le Tan Dung, Vice Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs;
Ms. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Lan, Deputy General of GOPFP;
Ms. Pham Chi Lan, Economic Expert of Viet Nam;
Representatives of line ministries, government organizations, youth representatives, civil society organizations, HelpAge, the media and my fellow UN colleagues;

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is my great pleasure to open this event "Responding to Population Ageing in Viet Nam: the Way Forward".  Let me at the outset thank the Viet Nam National Committee on Ageing, General Office for Population and Family Planning (GOPFP), Viet Nam Association of the Elderly, and HelpAge for co-hosting and co-organizing today’s talk-show on the occasion of the International Day for Older Persons, which is celebrated across the world on 1 October to raise awareness of how vital older people are as a part of the community and break down age discrimination.  And today we mark this day with the theme of "Celebrating Older Human Rights Champions".

Distinguished guests,

We are all getting older. This is a fact of life.
One in nine persons is aged 60 or older. This is projected to increase to one in five by 2050.

Between 2015 and 2030, the target date for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, the number of older persons worldwide is set to increase by 56 per cent—from 901 million to more than 1.4 billion.  By 2030, the number of people aged 60 and above will exceed that of people aged 15 to 24.

In Viet Nam, the proportion of older persons in the total population has increased to 11.9 per cent in 2017, and will be doubled to 20 per cent in 2038.  As the world sets out an inspirational new development agenda, and commits to reaching the new Sustainable Development Goals, Viet Nam must envision a new paradigm that aligns demographic ageing with economic and social growth and protects the human rights of older persons.  

Ageing is a triumph of development. We must now turn our focus from merely helping people reach old age to helping them reach a happy old age.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Today's talk-show aims to raise awareness about ageing population and the need to ensure that people can grow old with dignity and continue to participate in society as citizens with full rights. We will hear inspiring stories from both older persons and younger persons and we hope to spread the message that older persons are a benefit to society, not a cost or a burden.

Older persons can be active and forward-looking participants in society. We must no longer treat older people as passive recipients of social services.

Distinguished guests,

As we step towards the better future we all want, ‘leaving no one behind’ will mean making space for the contributions of older persons. Let us promote the rights and ensure the full participation of older persons to build better societies for all ages.

Thank you, and wishing you all health, happiness and success this International Day of Older Persons – and always.

Xin cam on.