Beirut, 1 June 2022--The 4th Arab Regional Review of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA), organized by the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), kicked off today. The two-day conference is held at the UN House in Beirut and online.
The Arab region has been witnessing a fast-paced ageing transition, with the number of older persons expected to exceed 71 million by 2050. This accelerated shift leaves a very tight window for countries to address the needs and priorities of older persons and future cohorts. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic put substantial pressure on both Governments and societies to cater for the needs of older persons.
“Ageing with dignity is desired by all of us. It cannot be realized without concerted efforts by government, employers and citizens. With an ageing population in the Arab region, older persons are becoming a population group that requires special attention, policies and actions,” ESCWA Deputy Executive Secretary Mounir Tabet underscored.
“The 4th regional review of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing provides a timely opportunity for an honest reflection and collective thinking on how to better advance the agenda of ageing with dignity in the Arab region,” he added.
The regional conference is the culmination of a more than year-long regional review process during which ESCWA supported member States to develop their national review reports, and provided a whole-of-society approach by organizing dialogues with multiple stakeholders and parliamentarians.
For his part, UNFPA Arab States Regional Director Luay Shabaneh reiterated the UNFPA commitment toward development of national policies that support healthy and equitable ageing within the framework of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. He called for supporting the endorsed Arab Strategy for Older Persons (2019-2029) and strengthening partnerships with stakeholders and parliamentarians in the region to ensure ageing is mainstreamed into the broader development processes.
The conference is bringing together representatives of governmental institutions, parliamentarians, representatives of civil society organizations, regional organizations, UN agencies, academics, experts and other stakeholders. Discussions are centered on social protection, health, well-being, social engagement, and accelerating the MIPAA implementation.
The conference also provides a timely opportunity to launch the 9th edition of the Population and Development Report, titled “Building Forward Better for Older Persons in the Arab Region”. It focuses on inclusive social protection systems, and on developing long term care economies as an entry point to ensure ageing with dignity in the region.
For more information, click here to view the conference website.
One of five United Nations regional commissions, ESCWA supports inclusive and sustainable economic and social development in Arab States, and works on enhancing regional integration.