Population ageing is one of the biggest demographic changes facing the globe, and Việt Nam in particular. — Photo tuyengiao.vn
HÀ NỘI — Population ageing is one of the biggest demographic changes facing the globe, and Việt Nam in particular.
Experts met for a two-day conference which began on Monday in Hà Nội. The International Workshop on Adaptation to Population Ageing was held by the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) in co-operation with the Vietnamese Government.
Attending the workshop were 200 delegates working in the fields of economics, banking and finance, insurance, health, population, labour and social welfare.
Nguyễn Văn Tân, deputy general director of the General Office for Population and Family Planning, said that Việt Nam has had an ageing population since 2011 and there are currently 10.1 million older people, accounting for 11 per cent of the total population.
There are currently two million people aged 80 and above.
It is estimated that by 2030, the percentage of older people in Việt Nam will reach 17 per cent, and will hit 25 per cent by 2050, he said.
If it only takes a few decades for developed economies to transform from ageing populations, in which the over-60 group takes up 10 per cent, to aged populations, in which the over-60 group takes up 20 per cent, like Australia in 73 years, America in 69 years, Canada in 65 years, then for Việt Nam it will only take 22 years.
“This demographic transformation will have major impacts on economic growth, labour, savings, investments, healthcare, social welfare, immigration changes and infrastructure design,” said Tân.
The population of APEC accounts for 40.5 per cent of the total global population but consists of almost 50 per cent of global senior citizen density.
Most APEC economies have been and are facing population ageing including Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Russia, Korea, Singapore, China, Thailand, the US and Việt Nam.
Some have among the highest number and density of older people like China, Russia, the US and Japan.
Associate professor Phạm Lê Tuấn, deputy minister of health, said that the workshop was a forum for policy-makers, professionals and researchers of APEC economies and APEC partners to co-operate in creating an overall picture of APEC population ageing, including the reality, trends, economic challenges and opportunities, investment, savings, healthcare, social welfare and labour in the context of population ageing.
The conference offered the chance for APEC members to share models and initiatives in improving the role of older people and taking care of them with the support of families and communities, he said.
Shinichi Akiyama, Deputy Assistant Minister for International Policy Planning of the International Affairs Division under the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare in Japan, said that in his country, as a legal system to ensure the employment of all willing workers until the age of 65 by businesses has already been established, the next challenge is how to ensure a wide range of employment and working opportunities for the elderly beyond the age of 65.
One of the measures is the establishment of councils in regions comprising local governments and relevant agencies in order to find employment opportunities for the elderly in each region, he said.
The elderly should be engaged in temporary, short-term or light work. In principle, this means a work load of 10 days or less per month or working hours not exceeding 20 hours per week.
“There is no one-size-fits-all policy. Each economy has to seek its own policy, taking into consideration their situation of demographic ageing and employment law,” he said.
Close co-ordination with pension policy is needed, he said.
Policy recommendations from the workshop will be stated in the health policy dialogue, in meetings of health working group, APEC high level meetings of health ministers in HCM City next month.
The International Workshop on Adaptation to Population Ageing is divided into sections with topics including population ageing and economic growth, population ageing and social welfare, population ageing and healthcare, models and ideas in improving the role of older people and taking care of them with support from families and communities. — VNS