Regional Meeting in Macao to Review Progress in Dealing With Population Ageing

Ban Ki-Moon Speaks on International Day of Older Persons 1 October

As the regional focal point on population ageing, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) will bring together representatives from 25 countries in Asia-Pacific to a High-level Meeting in Macao, China to review progress made in response to the challenges of population ageing. The Meeting will be held from 9 to 11 October 2007.

Convened at a time when population ageing – resulting from declining fertility and increasing longevity -- has emerged as an important issue in the Asian and Pacific region, the High-level Meeting on the Regional Review of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA) will appraise progress made in the implementation of the landmark agreement.

Adopted by the Second World Assembly on Ageing convened in Madrid in 2002, MIPAA calls for changes in attitudes, policies and practices at all levels and in all sectors, so that the enormous potential of “a society for all ages” may be fulfilled in the twenty-first century.

In Asia and the Pacific, the number of older persons is growing rapidly, from 410 million in 2007 to about 733 million in 2025 and to an expected 1.3 billion in 2050. In terms of percentages, older persons will constitute about 15 per cent of the total population in 2025 and up to nearly 25 per cent by 2050, from over 10 per cent now.

“Population ageing brings significant economic and social challenges, for developed and developing countries alike”, said United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Ban Ki-Moon, in a message marking the International Day of Older Persons celebrated today.
“Sobering statistics show that some 80 per cent of the world’s population are not covered by social protection in old age.

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”, Mr. Ban said.

“Our views on what it means to be old are changing all the time. Where older persons were sometimes seen as a burden on society, they are now increasingly recognized as an asset that can and should be tapped”.

In his message, Mr. Ban also made reference to the milestone Madrid Plan adopted five years ago: “The role of older persons in economic and social development is a major feature of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing, as is promoting democracy and the rights of older persons through their participation in all aspects of society. This year, we mark the fifth anniversary of the adoption of the Madrid Plan, and the launch of its first review and appraisal”.

The outcome of the Macao High-level Meeting will feed into the global review of the Madrid Plan which will be held at the United Nations Headquarters in February 2008

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For more information about the High-level Meeting on the Regional Review of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA), please visit http://www.unescap.org/esid/psis/meetings/AgeingMipaa2007/index.asp