Brussels, 6-9 October 1998
Participants' Views on Ageing: Excerpts from press releases
The Flemish European Conference Centre, Brussels,
Venue of the Meeting on Population Ageing
The meeting was organized by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in cooperation with the Population and Family Study Centre (CBGS), a Flemish scientific institute in Brussels. Participants reviewed the experiences and population policies of developed countries and identified practices that can be adopted by their developing counterparts. The meeting also appraised the implementation of the Programme of Action of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and proposed key actions to meet older persons’ needs, with a special focus on gender and poverty dimensions.
Mr. Robert CliquetThe General Director of the CBGS, Robert Cliquet, described population ageing as one of the important issues of the ICPD as well as for the industrialized nations and their developing counterparts. Mr. Cliquet welcomed all participants and introduced them to his organization. He described population ageing as one of the important issues of the ICPD and one of the most critical issues facing both industrialized and developing nations.
Dr. James SchultzDr. James Schultz, economist from Brandeis University in the United States, made a presentation on the economic implications of ageing. "There have been all sorts of demographic statistics presented in population ageing discussions. Most are worthless in assessing the economic impact of an ageing population," he declared. In the United States, he noted, the retired "baby boom" generation and their children in 2030 are likely to share a per capita income (inflation adjusted) that is three times greater that of 1964.
Mrs. Kasturi SenKasturi Sen, a senior community medicine scientist at the University of Cambridge, said that the drop in standards is being reinforced in developing countries by structural adjustment policies and the rising tide of privatization. "While these policies have affected vulnerable groups disproportionately throughout the world," Ms. Sen said, "they have had very serious consequences for groups such as pregnant women and elderly people in developing countries, owing to the complete absence of safety nets, such as pensions or social security coverage."
Mr. James Ntozi African governments and international agencies should assist the orphans and widows of those who die of acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), to reduce the burdens on older people who currently support such relatives, said James Ntozi, a population studies professor at Kampala's Makerere University. He said the elderly raise a significant fraction of Ugandan orphans. AIDS mostly affects people in their most productive years, often depriving elderly parents of their means of support, he added.
Zeng Yi, a professor at Peking University's Institute of Population Research, said China urgently needs to establish a universal old-age insurance system and other family support services to respond to its rapid population ageing. Such an undertaking would be on the scale of building a new Great Wall of China.
Conclusion: Donor Community Should Negotiate Debt Relief to Release Funds For Social Services, Meeting on Ageing Recommends
Day Four: Expert Warns Developing Countries on Costs of Western-style Social Security Systems, as Technical Meeting Enters Final Day
Day Three: China's Elderly Need an Insurance System on Scale of Great Wall, ICPD+5 Meeting Told
Day Two: Political Prioritization, Redistributive Economy Needed to Stem Slide in Older Persons' Living Standards, Experts' Meeting Told
Day One: Governments, Society Must Act Promptly on Ageing, Says UNFPA Official as Technical Meeting Begins
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