UN-backed Asia-Pacific conference to look into impacts of population ageing

UN-backed Asia-Pacific conference to look into impacts of population ageing

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Government officials and representatives from more than two dozen Asian-Pacific nations have gathered in Macao, China, to discuss regional progress in addressing the challenges posed by population ageing at a United Nations-sponsored conference.

“This meeting provides an opportunity for governments and civil society to review and appraise the results of their work on ageing issues, exchange information and experience, and identify priorities for the future,” said Thelma Kay, Director of the Emerging Social Issues Division of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP).

Participants will review developments made in addressing the graying of populations since 2002, when the landmark Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, which called for new attitudes, policies and practices across all levels to tap into the potential of older persons, was adopted.

“Recognizing the many social and economic implications of the ageing process, governments in the region today have accorded higher attention to ageing issues and many embarked on developing their own national plans and policies for older persons” in the past five years, Ms. Kay noted.

In Asia and the Pacific, the number of older persons is surging, estimate to grow from 410 million this year to 733 million in 2025 and 1.3 billion in 2050. As a percentage of the total population, they will comprise 15 per cent in 2025 and up to 25 per cent in 2050, a massive increase from 10 per cent currently.

In his message marking the International Day of Older Persons on 1 October, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that “population ageing brings significant economic and social challenges, for developed and developing countries alike.”

As a result, “finding ways to provide economic support for a growing number of older persons, through sustainable pension programmes and new social protection measures, is a daunting task, particularly in developing countries,” he added.