As more and more countries in Asia and the Pacific face rapidly ageing populations, understanding and strategically preparing for these shifting demographics and their significant socio-economic implications is a top priority for governments across the region than ever.

By 2050, there will be 1.2 billion people aged over 60 living in East Asia and the Pacific, equivalent to two-thirds of the world’s older men and women. This has significant economic implications for countries that will face a proportionally smaller working-age population and a growing number of older dependents.

These challenges are being addressed at the HelpAge Asia-Pacific Regional Conference from 6-8 September 2016 in Hanoi, Vietnam – a biennial event that explores issues impacting on the quality of life of older people.

“East Asia and the Pacific’s demographic changes have deep social and economic implications across the region. Policies that prepare for this demographic transformation are urgently needed to maintain economic growth and wellbeing of everyone,” said Eduardo Klien, East Asia/Pacific Regional Director, HelpAge International.

For 2016, the conference theme of The economic implications of ageing focuses on key areas including health and care, work in later life, sources of household income and market dynamics.

Through the lens of population ageing, conference participants will look at national and regional fiscal priorities and future economic performance on individuals, communities and societies.

“The conference’s main objective is to build a better understanding on the social and economic techniques needed to adapt to rapid population ageing,” added Klien.

“Ageing populations are commonly viewed as a threat, even a potential catastrophe, by many governments and economists, but that doesn’t necessarily have to be a self-fulfilling prophecy,” noted Yoriko Yasukawa, Asia-Pacific Regional Director of the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA. “Making changes to economic and health policies as well as mindsets can help countries achieve an optimal future by minimising the burdens and maximising the contributions of older persons. Ultimately, this issue must be viewed and addressed within the context of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda whose central pledge is to truly leave no one behind”.

The conference will bring together around 300 participants from 35 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, with government ministries, international organisations, academic institutions, civil society and the private sector all represented.

With collaboration from all sectors represented at the conference, participants will discover and expand upon what needs to be done to realise fair and equitable societies for all ages, including older people, across Asia and the Pacific.