With population aging outgrowing its equivalents in the Arab region ... a quarter of Lebanon's population will be over the age of 65
Launch of the National Strategy for Older Persons in Lebanon 2020 - 2030
Beirut, 17 June 2021-- Lebanon is experiencing the fastest population ageing among Arab countries, with demographic expectations indicating that about a quarter of the country’s population, or the equivalent of 23%, will be over the age of 65 by 2050.
In this context, Minister of Social Affairs in Lebanon, Ramzi Al-Moucharafieh, in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNPFA), as well as the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), and the Center for Studies on Ageing, today launched the “National Strategy for Older Persons in Lebanon 2020-2030”, in a virtual event attended by experts, key stakeholders, representatives of international and non-governmental organizations and the media.
In addition to a statement by Minister Al-Moucharafieh, the launch included interventions by Asma Kurdahi, UNFPA Head of Office in Lebanon, and Mehrinaz El Awady, Head of the Gender Justice, Population and Inclusive Development Cluster of ESCWA. In her turn, Abla Mehio Sibai, President of the Centre for Studies on Aging delivered a presentation on the mechanism of the national strategy and its objectives.
This strategy is a steppingstone to address population ageing and provides the necessary attention to draw a roadmap and develop a comprehensive multi-sectoral action plan, from which integrated policies and programmes to protect and empower the aging population will emerge.
In his opening statement, Minister Al-Moucharafieh explained that this strategy stems from a human rights-based approach and takes into account the gender perspective and Lebanon's legal and international obligations. He added that the strategy goes beyond the welfare aspects, to tackle population ageing as a life-long process irrespective of a specific retirement age. Al-Moucharafieh underscored the objectives of the strategy’ namely, combating negative stereotypes that target the ageing population, and positively promoting their capacities and national contributions.
For her part, Kurdahi highlighted the role of the strategy in building a society where people can age positively and with dignity, and older persons are valued and recognized as essential and effective members of their societies, and their well-being is acknowledged as a fundamental right. She added that this strategy contributes towards a future where thousands of people can interact with mutual respect across generations.
In her intervention, El Awady pointed out that, based on demographic expectations, Lebanon will become an ageing country in about 15 years, which makes early planning for the ageing of the population a priority matter to the state, hence the importance of the National Strategy for Older Persons. She also stressed the importance of developing an executive plan to activate the strategy, and translate it into actionable steps that guarantee the rights of the older persons in Lebanon.
The National Strategy for Older Persons rhymes with the recommendations of international conferences calling for ensuring the rights of older persons at the health, social and economic levels. It enhances the work towards reducing social disparities, and achieving justice and equal opportunities for all, while developing societies that ensure a decent and dignified life and preserve the rights and human dignity of older persons.
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.
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