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Asian nations confer on impact of population ageing at UN-backed forum

Asian nations confer on impact of population ageing at UN-backed forum

A United Nations-backed meeting – attended by participants from over a dozen countries in the Asia-Pacific region – on the social, health and economic consequences of population ageing kicked off today in Bangkok, Thailand.

The two-day seminar is being held by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), in collaboration with the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).

Population ageing, due to declining fertility and increasing longevity, has increasingly come to pose a challenge to the Asia-Pacific region, with the number of older persons in the area to grow rapidly, surging from 410 million in 2007 to 733 million in 2025 to an expected 1.3 billion in 2050.

Older persons, who currently comprise 10 per cent of the total population, will constitute over 15 per cent of the population in 2025 and nearly 25 per cent in 2050. Such shifts in proportions will have tremendous social and economic impacts on income security, social welfare and medical services.

Adding to those challenges are other demographic changes reshaping family life in the Asia-Pacific area. There will be fewer caregivers to attend to older people’s needs since the number of younger people is declining and the number of working women is increasing. Also, migration to urban areas is leaving many older persons behind in rural areas.

Participants – both experts and Government representatives – at the UN forum will confer on the causes and socio-economic and health consequences of population ageing, focusing on changing family structures and their impact on the provision of care and support for older persons. The region’s existing programmes and policies will be discussed, as well as recommendations for bolstering national programmes.

The outcomes from the seminar will be discussed at a high-level review meeting on the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, scheduled to be held in Macao, China, this October.