The first day of HelpAge Asia-Pacific Regional Conference was held in partnership with UNFPA and the Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare and State Welfare Organization in Tehran. The conference addresses the family, community and state in aging societies and its focus is to pave the way for planning policies and programmes on ageing. Three main areas of Health, Social inclusion and income security are the themes for group discussion. All participants including, experts, policy makers, academia from international organizations will have the opportunity to share their knowledge, plans and experiences to come up with comprehensive programmes for the elderly.
The conference started with the welcoming speech by Dr. Leila Joudane, UNFPA Representative in Iran. She emphasized the significance of the conference objectives and stated that the conference "will bring plenty of opportunities for Iranian experts and policy makers to share their knowledge and experiences while benefiting from presentations by high level international academics and specialists."
In his opening speech, Dr. Anoushiravan Mohseni-Bandpei, Acting Minister of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare referred to the aging matter as a global issue. “In Iran, while the population growth rate is 1.2, the aging growth rate is about 3.8”. He added that; “These data reveals the significance of the need for appropriate strategies and solutions for social and economic support of the elderly. According to him, the government of Iran has achieved outstanding progress in these areas including; wellbeing, health, medicine, employment and income of the elderly community.
H.E. Dr. Eshaq Jahangiri, First Vice President of Iran, talked about population growth in Iran said that due to the growth of ageing population in future, it would be a good opportunity for the government “to benefit the global experiences of the countries to come up with a more comprehensive planning and be prepared for the inevitable ageing population needs.”
After the opening ceremony and welcoming speeches the conference continued with a high level panel discussion on the perspectives of policy makers. In this discussion, H.E. Dr. Farideh Oladghobad, Member of Parliament, pointed out the challenges that older women face, taking into the account that e fact that there is longer life expectancy among women than men.
Mr. Bjorn Andersson, UNFPA Asia Pacific Regional Director started his talks stating that; “the governments should plan appropriate policies and prepare facilities based on the elderlies’ needs. He added that the perspectives of decision makers should be changed to ensure the gender equality in ageing population”.
The conference continued with three sessions, focusing on income (How will income sources in old age expand beyond the household as societies age?), Care (How will the long term care context evolve as families change?), and Social Health (How can future older people build social connections beyond the family?) by presentations of experts and academicians.