HelpAge Asia-Pacific Regional Conference: The Economic Implications of Ageing
Hanoi, Vietnam

7 September 2016

I would like congratulate all of you for the success of the HelpAge Asia – Pacific Regional Conference ‘The Economic Implications of Ageing’ which took place in the past two days.  I know that, in the last two days, our delegates have spent much time discussing and sharing experiences and ideas about the problems of an ageing society at regional and international level as well as its impact on the society, the communities, the families and individuals. The participants have also had in-depth discussions on the topics of employment, household income, health, markets and strategies, financial priorities of which the governments have and are going to take into account in the near future.

As you have already aware, Vietnam is among the countries with the fastest growing rate of ageing population in the Asia-Pacific region and the world. Unlike the high income countries which have accumulated enough resources to handle the problems of an ageing society, Vietnam is entering this phase with difficulties such as the financial resources and human limitations; the lack of experience in managing an ageing society; the low coverage of social security; the long term problem of jobs shortage, the environmental pollution, etc. They are the causes of major challenges of an ageing society which the Government of Vietnam is responsible to find the comprehensive and adaptable solutions to.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the HelpAge International, the United Nations Fund for Population – the co-organised agencies and the Government of Vietnam for the efforts and contribution to the success of the conference.

I also would like to convey my heartfelt appreciation to the Parliamentarians, the experts from international organisations and NGOs, the research institutes and the representatives of 35 countries in the Asia – Pacific region and the Vietnamese participants for your active involvement in the plenary and thematic sessions of the Conference. Your experience and suggestions are precious and the important policy implications for the Government of Vietnam.

In the following day, the delegates will have the opportunity to visit the actual operational model of the Intergenerational Self-Help Club (ISHC) in the two provinces of Hai Duong and Thanh Hoa. I hope that you will be impressed with our most efficient models of this club in the fields of health care, livelihood, income generating activities, enhancing the participation and developing promotions of the role of older people in the community, satisfying most of the demands of older people. This community model was, has been and is going to be an important part of Vietnamese efforts in adapting to the aging society in the context of a country with low income. Realising the effectiveness of the Intergenerational Self-Help Club model, the Government of Vietnam has decided to replicate it all over the country. The determination to carry out this decision has been demonstrated through specific targets of the National Action Programme for older people from 2012 to 2020. Furthermore, the Prime Minister has recently approved a scheme to replicate the ISHC model in order to mobilise more resources.

I hope that during your days in Vietnam, you will also learn more about the Vietnamese culture and people, enjoy the unique cuisine and visit some famous scenic spaces of both Hanoi and Vietnam in general. We believe that you will find it pleasant and comfortable here in Vietnam and learn that Vietnamese tradition is grateful and respectful to older people.

I declare the closing of the HelpAge Asia-Pacific Regional Conference ‘The Economic Implications of Ageing’.

I wish you all healthy, happy and successful;

I express my sincere gratitude to all of the delegates for your participation.