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Addressing ageing in the Pacific Islands: challenges and constraints in policy formulation

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Addressing ageing in the Pacific Islands: challenges and constraints in policy formulation

  1. 1. Addressing ageing in the Pacific Islands:Addressing ageing in the Pacific Islands: challenges and constraints in policychallenges and constraints in policy formulationformulation Geoffrey HayesGeoffrey Hayes Research AssociateResearch Associate National Institute of Demographic and Economic AnalysisNational Institute of Demographic and Economic Analysis Waikato UniversityWaikato University New ZealandNew Zealand HelpAge International Regional Conference,HelpAge International Regional Conference, Yangon, MyanmarYangon, Myanmar 7-11 May 20127-11 May 2012
  2. 2. Main challenges in addressingMain challenges in addressing ageing in the Pacificageing in the Pacific 1.1. Skepticism or denial that ageing is an issueSkepticism or denial that ageing is an issue 2.2. Lack of awareness of the Madrid InternationalLack of awareness of the Madrid International Action Plan on AgeingAction Plan on Ageing 3.3. Insufficient knowledge about the actual situationInsufficient knowledge about the actual situation of the elderlyof the elderly 4.4. Planning capacity weakened by structuralPlanning capacity weakened by structural adjustment policiesadjustment policies 5.5. Insufficient training in the formulation of socialInsufficient training in the formulation of social policiespolicies 6.6. International assistance is sporadic and un-International assistance is sporadic and un- coordinatedcoordinated
  3. 3. 11. Skepticism or denial about ageing. Skepticism or denial about ageing  ““Our populations are still young, ageing is aOur populations are still young, ageing is a long way off…”long way off…” But ageing is closer than you might think. TheBut ageing is closer than you might think. The “oldest old” are growing fast in many Pacific“oldest old” are growing fast in many Pacific countries and will grow faster in the future.countries and will grow faster in the future.  ““In our culture, the family takes care of ourIn our culture, the family takes care of our old people… ”old people… ” Yes, but… the family is changing rapidly due toYes, but… the family is changing rapidly due to urbanization, local and international migration,urbanization, local and international migration, nuclearization, fertility decline, outer islandnuclearization, fertility decline, outer island depopulation, etc. More signs of elder abuse ordepopulation, etc. More signs of elder abuse or hardship.hardship.
  4. 4. Continued…Continued…  ““Why are you trying to keep our old peopleWhy are you trying to keep our old people alive?”alive?” Ageing policy is about improving the qualityAgeing policy is about improving the quality of life, not just about extending lifeof life, not just about extending life expectancy (“adding life to years, not yearsexpectancy (“adding life to years, not years to life”)to life”)  ““We don’t need to worry about ageingWe don’t need to worry about ageing because NCDs are keeping the elderlybecause NCDs are keeping the elderly population low (“population control”)population low (“population control”) NCDs reduce the quality of life, and not onlyNCDs reduce the quality of life, and not only for the elderly. It is not just about mortalityfor the elderly. It is not just about mortality but morbidity. Other issues affect the qualitybut morbidity. Other issues affect the quality of life, such as dementia, etc.of life, such as dementia, etc.
  5. 5. 2.2. Lack of awareness of the MIPAA andLack of awareness of the MIPAA and its recommendationsits recommendations  Pacific countries were not active participantsPacific countries were not active participants in the first or second World Assembly onin the first or second World Assembly on AgeingAgeing  Thus, few national coordinating bodies haveThus, few national coordinating bodies have been established, or else they werebeen established, or else they were established but faded awayestablished but faded away  The underlying philosophy of MIPAA isThe underlying philosophy of MIPAA is therefore not well knowntherefore not well known  New efforts needed to improve awarenessNew efforts needed to improve awareness and understanding of MIPAA and ageing inand understanding of MIPAA and ageing in generalgeneral
  6. 6. 3.3. Lack of knowledge of the actual situationLack of knowledge of the actual situation of the elderly and their future prospectsof the elderly and their future prospects  Including the demographic dimension (projectedIncluding the demographic dimension (projected increases in the “old” and the “oldest old”) andincreases in the “old” and the “oldest old”) and impact on health and pension costs…impact on health and pension costs…  Studies of “vulnerable groups” are useful butStudies of “vulnerable groups” are useful but may not go far enoughmay not go far enough  Need to include issues of abandonment, abuseNeed to include issues of abandonment, abuse or neglect, social participation, health care,or neglect, social participation, health care, income support, particularly among widowsincome support, particularly among widows  Existing surveys need to collect or report moreExisting surveys need to collect or report more data relevant to the elderly (e.g., HIES)data relevant to the elderly (e.g., HIES)  Further analysis of census data can be usefulFurther analysis of census data can be useful (e.g., on economic activity of the elderly)(e.g., on economic activity of the elderly)
  7. 7. 4. Planning capacity weakened by structural4. Planning capacity weakened by structural adjustment and reformist agendasadjustment and reformist agendas  Up to the 1980s, most Pacific countries hadUp to the 1980s, most Pacific countries had strong central planning Departmentsstrong central planning Departments  By the 1990s these were being dismantled asBy the 1990s these were being dismantled as part of public sector “reform” (private sectorpart of public sector “reform” (private sector will take care of development….)will take care of development….)  Some re-building has occurred but notSome re-building has occurred but not enoughenough  More sector planners needed (health, socialMore sector planners needed (health, social policy, and regional and urban planners)policy, and regional and urban planners)  Good plans or policies can pay for the cost ofGood plans or policies can pay for the cost of producing them through increased efficiencyproducing them through increased efficiency
  8. 8. 5. L5. Lack analytical and planning skills andack analytical and planning skills and experience in policy formulation among currentexperience in policy formulation among current plannersplanners  Training of social and economic planners has beenTraining of social and economic planners has been neglectedneglected  Regional meetings on social planning virtuallyRegional meetings on social planning virtually absentabsent  Existing planning meetings focus largely onExisting planning meetings focus largely on statistical issuesstatistical issues  Little sharing of experience and cooperationLittle sharing of experience and cooperation between countriesbetween countries  Minimal experience in developing Multi-sectorMinimal experience in developing Multi-sector Population policies (but MDG reports have helped)Population policies (but MDG reports have helped)  More efforts needed to train sector plannersMore efforts needed to train sector planners (health, education, economic development) in(health, education, economic development) in policy formulation tools (e.g., MDG-based targetpolicy formulation tools (e.g., MDG-based target setting)setting)
  9. 9. 6. International assistance is sporadic6. International assistance is sporadic and uncoordinatedand uncoordinated  AgeingAgeing is a multi-sector and multi-disciplinaryis a multi-sector and multi-disciplinary field and requires a multi-agency responsefield and requires a multi-agency response  UNFPA has taken some limited initiatives butUNFPA has taken some limited initiatives but ESCAP, ILO and WHO have a role to playESCAP, ILO and WHO have a role to play (along with NZAID and AusAID)(along with NZAID and AusAID)  HelpAge has played a significant role inHelpAge has played a significant role in bringing countries together in recent yearsbringing countries together in recent years  Technical assistance needs to focus onTechnical assistance needs to focus on capacity building, training and fosteringcapacity building, training and fostering communication between countriescommunication between countries
  10. 10. Requirements for preparing a anRequirements for preparing a an ageing policy…ageing policy…  A supportive minister and SecretariatA supportive minister and Secretariat  Social planners able to undertake analysis andSocial planners able to undertake analysis and policy formulationpolicy formulation  A situational analysis of the elderly or the capacityA situational analysis of the elderly or the capacity to undertake oneto undertake one  Recent census data and a set of populationRecent census data and a set of population projectionsprojections  Sector planners able and willing to participate inSector planners able and willing to participate in the processthe process  Supportive National Statistics OfficeSupportive National Statistics Office  Adequate and appropriate technical assistanceAdequate and appropriate technical assistance  Reasonable aims re scale and scope of the policyReasonable aims re scale and scope of the policy
  11. 11. The way forward in the PacificThe way forward in the Pacific  Assisting countries to learn about theAssisting countries to learn about the MIPAA and hence what ageing policies areMIPAA and hence what ageing policies are aboutabout  Familiarize countries with theFamiliarize countries with the ResearchResearch AgendaAgenda of the MIPAAof the MIPAA  Develop a regional strategy on ageingDevelop a regional strategy on ageing through a meeting of all Pacific countriesthrough a meeting of all Pacific countries  Improve donor coordination and leadershipImprove donor coordination and leadership  Increase technical assistance and improveIncrease technical assistance and improve its relevance to country situationsits relevance to country situations  ““Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of theDon’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good”good”
  12. 12. Thank you!

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