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Statement by Counsellor YAO Shaojun of the Chinese Delegation in the General Debate at the 7th Session of the Working Group on Ageing


Mr. Chairman,

China congratulates you on your election as the chairman of the working group and supports you and the bureau in your work. Ageing is a global issue with profound and lasting implications for human society. How to deal with ageing and protect the rights and interests of the older persons is a subject of major importance facing all countries. In this connection, China would like to make the following observations.

First, there is need for a more positive approach to ageing. A positive view should be advocated of ageing, the elderly and their life. Effective response to ageing not only improves quality of life for the elderly and safeguards their dignity and rights, but also advances economic development and social harmony. Countries need to create enabling conditions for older persons to play their role and encourage them to maintain a healthy mindset and an enterprising spirit so as to make new contributions to the society.

Secondly, there is need to constantly improve policies and regulations on ageing. Governments should play the leading role in improving policies relating to the elderly in areas of family provision and support, social assistance, social welfare, social care, living environment and social participation, formulating and improving old-age and medical insurance systems, and setting up rules on the conduct and release of statistical surveys of the conditions of older persons. Meanwhile, there is need to encourage and support enterprises, social organizations, families and individuals to participate in the undertaking of caring for the elderly, to put in place a service system for the elderly. This system combines medical and caring services and is based on home care, supported by community care and complemented by institutional care, so as to better satisfy the need of older persons for elderly-care service.

Thirdly, there is need to further intensify international cooperation on the issue of ageing. An ageing perspective was incorporated in multiple goals in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. China welcomes this fact and calls on member states to expedite the implementation of relevant goals in light of their national conditions and levels of development. At present, 67% of older persons of the world live in developing countries. Compared with developed countries, developing countries are in a more disadvantaged position while facing the ageing of their population. The international community should pay attention to the special difficulties faced by developing countries and provide them with more financial and technical assistance.

Fourthly, there is need to give full attention to the role of existing international frameworks. The Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing is a guiding document in dealing with the issue of ageing. Countries should attach importance to the third cycle of review and appraisal and further implement the Plan of Action on the basis of the review and appraisal. The working group should, according to its GA mandate, continue its in-depth study on the global trend of ageing, existing protection mechanisms and their gaps. In view of the major differences among the Member States on the formulation of a new international legal instrument, a gradual process is required to ensure full consultations.

Mr. Chairman,

Respect and care for the elderly have always been a traditional virtue of the Chinese nation. China has now entered a stage of rapid ageing with its ageing population exceeding 200 million. The Chinese Government attaches great importance to the issue of ageing. It has incorporated active response to ageing into the Outline of the 13th Five-Year Plan for National Economic and Social Development and major policies and regulations on employment, retirement and elderly care, with a view to making timely, rational and integrated responses. Governments at all levels have formulated special development plans for the care of the elderly and have taken a series of measures to eliminate discrimination against the elderly, protect their legitimate rights and interests, and help them make voluntary contributions to the society. We are speeding up efforts to build a system of societal elderly-care service, develop service industry for the elderly, and improve the system of caring for the elderly left behind in the rural areas, with a view to steadily improving the well-being of the elderly.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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