Forum raises public awareness of ageing population hinh anh 1UNFPA Representative in Vietnam Naomi Kitahara speaks at the forum. (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Society should have a more positive look at ageing population, and work to turn its challenges into opportunities as well as enhance the understanding of momentum of an aging society, heard a forum in Hanoi on September 30.

“The Journey to Age Equality” forum was held by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in collaboration with the Vietnam Association of the Elderly (VAE), the Ministry of Health’s General Office for Population Family Planning, and HelpAge International. It was part of activities in response to International Day of Older Persons (October 1).

Addressing at the event, VAE Vice President Dam Huu Dac said Vietnam is among the fastest ageing countries in Asia. As it takes 17-20 years to transition from an aging to an aged society, the country has faced thorny problems in outlining rational policies for the elderly, many of whom are having difficult lives and need support from the State, families and community.

Meanwhile, UNFPA Representative in Vietnam Naomi Kitahara said ageing population cannot be ignored to achieve the integrated 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, and all countries worldwide, including Vietnam, must be well-prepared for an ageing world.

Vietnam should have a new model that aligns ageing population with socio-economic growth, while ensuring social integration for the elderly, she stressed.

Participants at the forum, who are in three groups of over sixty, forty and twenty years-old, shared inspiring stories to change social norms and negative prejudice about the elderly. They all agreed that older persons can make positive contributions to society.

A photo exhibition featuring relations between population and sustainable development was organised in the framework of the forum.

Population ageing is poised to become one of the most significant social transformations of the 21st century. One in nine people in the world is aged 60 or over, and by 2050, one in five people could be aged 60 or over. During 2015-2030, the number of old persons is forecast to surge 56 percent, from 901 million to 1.4 billion. By 2030, persons aged 60 or above will outnumber people aged 15-24.

Vietnam officially entered the phase of ageing population in 2011, and is among the most rapidly ageing countries in the world. In 2017, the number of old persons accounted for 11.9 percent of the total population, which means one among nine persons was over 60.

According to the General Statistics Office, the number of people over 60 years old is expected to reach over 21 million, or 20 percent of the total population by 2038, and 27 million, or 25 percent of the total by 2050./.