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Past Event

“Building back better” in post-pandemic Asia: Back to the future for older people?

This event is co-hosted by HelpAge International and Asian Development Bank (ADB)

As a result of the pandemic, the global economy has experienced its deepest recession since World War II, and inequality has increased. The pandemic has also triggered a broader reflection on how to build a better world for future generations. It is commonly said that the pandemic crisis presents an opportunity to “build back better” or plan for a “great reset”. Is this just talk?

Many underlying macro challenges affecting all aspects of society will be critical for 2021 and beyond, including inequality, climate change, inclusive economic development, multilateralism, and societal well-being. How will these macro challenges and changes intersect specifically with ageing and older people?

As the pandemic spread, older people initially attracted attention because they suffered more from the direct impacts of the virus than any other age group. But in the future, after the pandemic is brought under control, it is unclear whether Asian societies will revert to a pre-COVID status quo, fall backwards, or move towards systemic change that supports people to age with security and dignity. In this respect, the webinar seeks reflections on what change could happen, whether it is happening, and how it might happen. Specifically, the webinar will ask:

  • Does COVID-19 present opportunities to “build back better” in relation to Asia’s older populations? Are transformational gains for life in old age more or less likely because of the crisis? What types of changes are possible? At the same time, what risks does the crisis present for the future?
  • Do we see any clear signs of building back better? Do we sense momentum towards change, the appearance of any “green shoots” – for example, in public or policy dialogue, or through expanded or innovative services?
  • How might transformational change come about? What may be the drivers or incentives for change? Will the push come from mobilised popular demand, government foresight, multilateral agreement, the private sector or other forces? And where would leverage make the most difference?

Moderator: John Beard, ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research (CEPAR), University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Join a conversation with a panel of experts including

  1. Aiko Takenaka, Economist, Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department, Asian Development Bank
  2. Mary Ann Tsao, Chairwoman, Tsao Foundation, Singapore
  3. Pungky Sumadi, Deputy Minister for Population and Employment, Ministry of National Development Planning (BAPPENAS), Indonesia
  4. Sarah Harper, Clore Professor of Gerontology, University of Oxford, UK
  5. Stephen Kidd, Principal Social Policy Specialist, Development Pathways, UK

A presentation on “Building Back Better and Ageing” by Stuart Gietel-Basten, Professor, Director, Center for Aging Science, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. A summary video of United Nations virtual Expert Group Meeting: Building Forward Better for Older Persons post COVID-19 by Amal Abou Rafeh, Chief, Programme on Ageing Unit, UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), New York.

Webinar Registration

Event Details

09 March 2021 08:00 - 09:30

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Online with Zoom