Macau, 28 September - 1 October 1998
1. The Regional Meeting on a Plan of Action on Ageing for Asia and the Pacific was convened by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) at Macau from 28 September to 1 October 1998. The Meeting was hosted by the Government of Macau through the Macau Social Welfare Department.
2. The main purpose of the Meeting was to consider and adopt a plan of action on ageing for Asia and the Pacific which would serve as a guide and a framework to governments in the region in formulating or strengthening national policies and programmes which aimed to improve the quality of life of older persons and to integrate them into mainstream development. It would also provide a reference for development planners and policy-makers in the concerned sectors in setting attainable, time-bound targets and goals concerning ageing and older persons.
3. The Meeting was attended by representatives of the following members and associate members: China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam.
4. Representatives of the following non-governmental organizations and other organizations attended as observers: Caritas of Macau, General Union of Labour Associations of Macau, General Union of Neighbourhood Associations of Macau, HelpAge International, Holy House of Mercy of Macau, Hong Kong Charity Association, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, International Federation on Ageing, Japan Ageing Research Center and the Saint Anthony Parish Elderly Center.
II. OPENING OF THE MEETING
A. Opening statements
5. In opening the Meeting, the Deputy Executive Secretary of ESCAP welcomed the participants and drew attention to the fact that populations were ageing rapidly across the Asian and Pacific region. She pointed out that the Meeting offered a most timely opportunity to reflect upon past achievements and the current situation concerning ageing and older persons, as well as to foresee and plan for the future with an open and broad perspective.
6. The ESCAP region was facing a myriad issues which had given rise to a host of shared concerns for the well-being of older persons and their role in society, particularly relating to health care, employment, social security, the family and community support system and other related issues. The situation, exacerbated by the current economic crisis in the region, would have a serious impact on older persons, especially the destitute, including women in the old-old category who were living alone.
7. ESCAP resolution 54/5 of 22 April 1998, entitled "International Year of Older Persons: towards a society for all ages" had urged the formulation of a plan of action on ageing for Asia and the Pacific. The Meeting was building on the results of the Regional Workshop on Preparations for the International Year of Older Persons, held at Beijing from 26 to 29 May 1998, which had contributed information on and analysis of the regional situation and the prospects on ageing and older persons and had amalgamated the views of representatives of governments, non-governmental organizations and other concerned organizations. Noting the numerous initiatives undertaken in many countries in dealing with issues related to ageing, the Deputy Executive Secretary urged all concerned to work together to make preparations for the International Year of Older Persons and to put their efforts into drafting and implementing the plan of action on ageing for Asia and the Pacific.
8. In closing, the Deputy Executive Secretary expressed, on behalf of ESCAP, heartfelt thanks and gratitude to the Government of Macau, through the Social Welfare Department, for its generous support towards the organization of the Meeting.
9. The Meeting was inaugurated by Alarcão Troni, Secretary for Social Affairs and Budgeting of the Government of Macau. In his address, the Secretary noted that, following the Copenhagen Summit on Social Development in 1995, increasing attention had been paid to social development issues such as poverty alleviation, human resources development, and the participation of civil society in the development process and ageing. The rapid ageing of populations in Asia and the Pacific would pose serious challenges and older persons would remain among the disadvantaged and vulnerable groups of society.
10. Countries of the region needed to prepare themselves for those challenges. Governments, non-governmental organizations and other concerned parties should join efforts in addressing critical issues related to ageing and older persons and the Secretary called for new and innovative programmes in that regard.
11. The Plan of Action
on Ageing for Asia and the Pacific should address the diversity of conditions
of the countries of the region and provide guidance to countries in their
national endeavours to face the challenges posed by the implications of
B. Election of officers
12. The Meeting elected the following members of the bureau:
Gloria S. Mallare
Wu Cang Ping
Ashok Pal Singh
III. ADOPTION OF THE AGENDA
13. The Meeting adopted the following agenda:
1. Opening of
14. The Meeting had before it document SD/RM/PAA/INF.1 entitled "Asia and the Pacific into the twenty-first century: prospects for older persons", which it used as information material for its deliberations under that agenda item.
15. The Meeting exchanged experiences and views on the situation and prospects for ageing and older persons in the Asian and Pacific region. It recognized the rapid ageing of populations and the sizeable number of older persons in countries across the region and the socio-economic implications of that phenomenon. While recognizing intercountry variations in population ageing, the Meeting agreed on the underlying trend of the rising proportion and number of older people. The significance of that trend and its impact on the region were discussed.
16. The Meeting discussed the evolution of national policies on ageing in the region, noting that, in many countries, a national policy on ageing was either in existence or in the formulation process. It observed that national focal points on ageing and older persons and a service infrastructure had been established in many countries. The Meeting noted that, within that policy framework, a longer-term view in planning for older persons was adopted while immediate problems and needs were also addressed.
17. The Meeting reaffirmed the importance of the family as an institution in the countries of the region, and its unique role in the provision of care for older persons. It recognized the special need to support the family in performing its role of care provider for older persons, especially with large numbers of married women joining the workforce.
18. In discussing the prospects for ageing, the Meeting observed the increasing emphasis on community-based care and services as a key thrust of government services for older persons. Community-based care, which was more accessible and focused, was recognized as a cost-effective supplement to traditional institutions. The Meeting indicated that community-based care should be further promoted since it had helped to reduce reliance on hospitals as a provider of long-term care. It was also noted that communities were able to provide support for the family in caring for older persons.
19. The Meeting expressed its concern over the lack of resources to plan for a fuller range of services for older persons and the importance of mobilizing adequate resources. In that regard, the Meeting expressed its appreciation of the role of NGOs, both local and international, as important partners with governments in delivering services to older persons and their family. Effective cooperation between governments, NGOs and the corporate sector would greatly enhance the existing service capacity. The corporate sector should be more actively involved as part of the service infrastructure for older persons.
20. The Meeting had before it a draft plan of action on ageing for Asia and the Pacific prepared by the secretariat in accordance with comments and observations made on a preliminary draft by the Regional Workshop on Preparations for the International Year of Older Persons, held at Beijing from 26 to 29 May 1998. Following extensive deliberations, in which NGO participation was welcomed, the text of the Plan of Action on Ageing for Asia and the Pacific was agreed upon.
21. The Meeting formulated the Macau Declaration on Ageing for Asia and the Pacific and decided to annex the Plan of Action to that Declaration.
22. The Meeting unanimously adopted the Macau Declaration on Ageing for Asia and the Pacific, which contained the Plan of Action on Ageing for Asia and the Pacific, on 1 October 1998.
VI. ADOPTION OF THE REPORT
23. The Meeting adopted its report on 1 October 1998.
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