South American summit debates needs of ageing population

26/03/2010

Governments in Latin America need to meet the needs of their ageing populations. Governments in Latin America need to meet the needs of their ageing populations. Photo: Antonio Olmos/HelpAge International HelpAge International will today join representatives from the 12 governments of UNASUR (Union of South American Nations) to debate on pensions, health systems, and social policies aimed at older people. 

According to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), the population over 60 in Latin America will grow from 52 million at present to 100 million by the year 2025, and to an estimated 188 million by 2050.

Increased longevity brings challenges

The increased longevity of the population in Latin America will be particularly challenging if current government services remain unchanged.

Many South American countries currently provide limited access to health services and pension systems.

"HelpAge has reported to these governments on the increasing vulnerability of older people in the region over recent years," says James Blackburn, Regional Representative for Latin America.

"However, through our projects working directly with older people, we also witness on a daily basis the desire of older people to be involved and to contribute economically and socially in the development of their families, communities and their countries. We want to push that message as strongly as possible over these next two days."

A common agenda

Pilar Contreras, HelpAge Latin America Regional Adviser for social protection says:

"HelpAge will be the only NGO attending this event. We see this as a great chance to debate with technical people from governments and highlight the opportunities and challenges of social protection for older people in Latin America.

"We're very excited about working with them towards a common vision and agenda." 

UNASUR will meet on 26 and 27 March in Quito, Ecuador.

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