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Talk-show on the International Day of Older Persons 1/10/2018: "Responding to population ageing in Viet Nam: the Way Forward"

HA NOI, 01/10/2018 - A talk-show "Responding to population ageing in Viet Nam: the way forward" was held today in Ha Noi by the Viet Nam National Committee on Ageing, in collaboration with the Viet Nam Association of the Elderly, General Office for Population and Family Planning (GOPFP), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), and HelpAge International in Viet Nam.  
The talk-show was organized on the occasion of the International Day of Older Persons 1/10/2018 to show a positive view of ageing population in turning challenges into opportunities and to strengthen the understanding of the dynamics of an ageing society. These aims are also clearly reflected in  this year's global theme "Celebrating Older Human Rights Champions.”

Viet Nam has officially entered the "ageing phase" since 2011, and is among the most rapidly ageing countries in the world. The proportion of older persons in the total population has increased to 11.9 per cent, and one in six persons is over the age of 60 in 2017. According to the projection of the General Statistics Office, in 2038, the population over 60 years old is expected to reach 21 million, accounting for 20 per cent of total population.

This projection also shows that from 2030 onwards, working age population will start decreasing and such fall will badly affect the development of socio-economy if no suitable policies are applied. Population ageing is an inevitable trend, unless Viet Nam has early intervention policy to maintain rational population structure. Besides, feminization of aging also takes place in every nation, including Viet Nam, which enquires that new policies and programmes adapting to population ageing need to consider the gender factor and different demand due to gender differences among older population.

Participating in the talk-show are Ms. Pham Thi Hai Chuyen, President of the Viet Nam Association of the Elderly, Vice President of Viet Nam National Committee for Ageing;  Mr. Le Tan Dung, Vice Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs; Ms. Nguyen Thi Ngoc Lan, Deputy Director General of GOPFP; Ms. Astrid Bant, UNFPA Representative in Viet Nam; and Ms. Tran Bich Thuy, Country Director of HelpAge International in Viet Nam.

Representatives of older persons and young people also participated in the talk-show. The two generations had interesting discussions and confirmed that age is nothing but a number and both senior and young generations are valuable in their own right, and older persons are active and forward-looking participants in society.

Addressing the event, Mr. Le Tan Dung, Vice Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs expressed that “Longevity is the greatest achievement of the country's socio-economic, not a social or economic liability.  On this International Day of Older Persons, let us pledge to ensure the well-being of older persons and to enlist their meaningful participation in society so we can all benefit from their knowledge and ability".

Ms Nguyen Thi Ngoc Lan, Deputy Director General of GOPFP said: "Population Ageing brings important benefits to society, including investment opportunities, quality of labour and knowledge, and economic benefits. But at the same time, it poses tremendous challenges that require new approaches in health care, retirement age, pensions, social interaction and intergenerational relations".

"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", said Ms. Astrid Bant, UNFPA Representative in Viet Nam.  

Ms. Tran Bich Thuy, Country Director of HelpAge International in Viet Nam said: "It’s time to take more concrete actions towards ending of ageism. Especially, the stereotypes of older persons as burden, inactive and dependent must be stopped, as they are complete opposite of the reality we see everyday. Ageism is the primary factor suppressing active ageing and the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals”.

Participants of the event discussed and came up with the following lessons learned and recommendations:

  • Responding to population ageing should be considered as a priority issue and require timely measures to prepare for older people in the coming years;
  • The issue of older people is closely related to the 15 of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), which should be integrated in the policies and indicators of Sustainable Development in Viet Nam. The Government should issue an overall strategy on responding to the population ageing, and develop an action plan on population ageing for the period of 2021-2030;
  • Continue to implement and review the laws and policies related to the elderly, such as the Elderly Law, the Social Insurance Law and the Population Ordinance to effectively address the challenges of population ageing;
  • Remove age barrier in policies, strengthen infrastructure and improve social environment to ensure older persons can participate in social activities; strengthen social services for older persons in the community; model of the elderly club, particularly inter-generation club,  day care center, short term community care for the elderly;
  • Strengthen behavior change communication and create a friendly environment for the elderly. Raise awareness among young people on ending stigma, discrimination and violence against the elderly;
  • Conduct studies on the situation of stigma and ageism; Improve data collection on the ageing population for policies and programmes development;
  • Strengthen the role of mass organizations and civil society organizations in providing legal advice and protection of the rights of the elderly;
  • Support the promulgation of the Convention on the Rights of older people.

For further information, please contact:
Ms. Nguyen Thi Hong Thanh
UNFPA Communications
Phone: 84-24-38500345
Cell: 0913 093363