Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids, and Social Affairs Le Tan Dung (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Sound strategies should be put in place in response to Vietnam’s ageing population, which has one of the fastest rates in the world, according to Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids, and Social Affairs Le Tan Dung.

At the talk “Responding to the Ageing Population in Vietnam: The Way Forward” held in Hanoi on October 1 on the occasion of the International Day of Older Persons, the Deputy Minister stressed that longevity is a triumph of socio-economic development in each nation, and thus competent authorities must work to ensure healthy and happy lives for the elderly, as well as create conditions for them to engage in meaningful social activities.

In the past few years, the Vietnamese Party and State have carried out a line-up of policies to promote the role of the old-aged people, taking steps to improve their quality of life. These steps include the national action programme for the elderly over the 2012-2020 period, as well as the action month for the elderly, among others, he said.

Astrid Bant, Representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Vietnam, said that aging is an inevitable occurrence of development, and the message “no one is left behind” means that the elderly should have opportunity to make contributions to society.

Sharing a similar standpoint, Country Director of HelpAge International in Vietnam Tran Bich Thuy stated “It’s time to take more drastic action to end age discrimination, which is a barrier to sustainable development goals (SDGs)”.

Meanwhile, Deputy Director General of the General Office for Population and Family Planning Nguyen Thi Ngoc Lan said that the ageing period poses formidable challenges in creating resources ready to meet the demands of pension payments, healthcare costs, and social interaction.

According to the General Statistics Office of Vietnam, by 2038, there will be more than 21 million people aged 60 and above, accounting for 20 percent of the total population. The working-age population is forecast to fall from 2038, which will have negative impacts on socio-economic development if no rational policy is put in place.

Participants at the talk said that responding to an ageing population should be given priority, and timely measures should be well-prepared for an old-aged society in the coming years. The issue is closely connected with 15 out of the 17 SDGs, and thus shoud be integrated into sustainable development policies in Vietnam.

They agreed that the Government should issue and give orientations to the general plan in response to population ageing as well as building an action plan for the 2021-2030 period. Also, it is crucial for the country to review and amend regulations and policies for the elderly like the Law on the Elderly, the Law on Social Insurance, the Law on Gender Equality, and Population Ordinance. –VNA