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The world is witnessing unprecedented growth in older populations, especially in Asia. This global demographic shift presents opportunities and challenges for individuals, families, communities, and countries. UNFPA Indonesia, in collaboration with HelpAge Indonesia–Yayasan Emong Lansia and Centre for Ageing Studies- the University of Indonesia, held a symposium at the Hotel Indonesia Kempinski Grand Ballroom in Jakarta on Wednesday (31 October 2012) to discuss concerns about the capacity of Indonesia and other nations to address changes associated with this demographic shift. The event,“Ageing in the 21st Century: A Celebration and a Challenge,” heralded the recent publication of an eponymous report by UNFPA and HelpAge International.


Three years in the making, this reportdraws upon contributions from across the UN, civil society, and 1,300 older persons from 36 countries. It presents new data, success stories, and recommendations on how countries can unlock the potential wisdom and energy of the rising numbers of people over age 60. The symposium brought together national and international experts, as well as eminent Indonesian senior citizens, to discuss the implications of Indonesia’s ageing demographic structure and to contextualize the report’s recommendations.


The symposium also marked commemorations for International Day of Older Persons 2012, observed on 1 October. This year’s theme was “Longevity: Shaping the Future.”


“Increased longevity is a call to action for enacting legislation, formulating policies, and implementing programs to promote ‘active ageing’, with the aim of enhancing the health, participation, and security of older persons. Population ageing is a phenomenon that we can no longer ignore,”saidUNFPA Representative in Indonesia Mr. Jose Ferraris.


“If Indonesia is to reap a ‘longevity benefit’ from people’s longer life expectancies—and the steadily growing proportion of the population of older age—policy discussions of all kinds must include consideration of problems facing the ageing,” Ferraris added.


Mrs. Eva Sabdono, Executive Director of Yayasan Emong Lansia for HelpAge Indonesia, also delivered remarks before the symposium was officially opened by Mrs.Yulia Suharti, Director of Elderly Issues for the Ministry of Social Affairs – Republic of Indonesia.


Two panel presentations were chaired, respectively, by Dr. Richard Makalew,UNFPA Indonesia National Programme Officer for Population and Development, and Prof. Dr. Tri Budi Rahardjo, Director of Centrefor Ageing Studies - the University of Indonesia.


In the first panel presentation, HelpAge International Regional Representative for East Asia and the Pacific Mr. Eduardo Klien emphasized key findings from“Ageing in the Twenty-First Century: A Celebration and a Challenge.” Among them was the need to invest in older people and their organisations as contributors and partners in development.


Prof. Dr. Sri Moertiningsih Adioetomo of Demographic Insitute, Faculty of Economics, the University of Indonesia profiled current issues of elderly people in Indonesia. Prof. Adioetomo highlighted the need for young people to understand and actively prepare for ageing. As a matter of population policy, this means ensuring young people are healthy and active, socially and economically.


The second panel presentation provided valuable views from three Indonesian eminent senior citizens: Prof. Dr. Subroto, Chairperson of the Indonesian Mining and Energy Society (BIMASENA),Mrs. Sjamjiah Ahmad, and Prof. Dr. HaryonoSuyono, Chairperson of Damandiri Foundation.


Closing the symposium, UNFPA Representative Mr. Jose Ferraris outlined four objectives to work towards: increased evidence-based research for policy- and decision-making on ageing; review and improvement of current policy and regulations; strengthened networks of stakeholders; and further support for efforts to involve elderly populations, both as individuals and organizations, in the process of policy formulation, programme implementation, monitoring, and evaluation.


For further information, please contact Ms. Puji Maharani, Communications Assistant, by email ( or mobile phone (+6285624771055).

Tags: Ageing, Population