2015 International Day of Older Persons:Launching the EU Covenant on Demographic change to make urban environments sustainable and inclusive for older persons

The 2015 International Day of Older Persons focuses on sustainability and age inclusiveness in urban environments. Two months before the official launch of the EU Covenant on demographic change, the AFE-INNOVNET Thematic Network recalls the importance of making Europe more age-friendly as a holistic way to promote and protect older persons’ rights.

As stated by the United Nations, the move of people worldwide to cities is happening at a record pace, with 60% of the world population expected to reside in urban areas by 2030. Together with the rapid urbanisation witnessed in all countries worldwide, this will mean that the number of people 60+ living in cities may grow to over 900 million by 2050 making up a quarter of the total urban population in developing countries and around 35% of the population in Europe.

Ageing and urbanisation are creating major challenges for local and regional authorities. However, if tackled early and comprehensively enough, these challenges will create great opportunities for economic growth and better quality of life for urban dwellers. This is what WHO aims to achieve through its holistic work on age-friendly cities and communities.

Improving the provision of services, including health and social services, increasing the accessibility of homes and public buildings, making everyone able to easily move around, will indeed enhance older persons’ participation in their community and, doing so, will contribute to local development and make cities better places for everyone.

Supporting this approach, the AFE-INNOVNET Thematic Network will launch the EU Covenant on Demographic change on 7 December 2015. The Covenant will gather all European local, regional and national authorities, together with other relevant stakeholders, that are committed to promote active and healthy ageing through the development of age-friendly environments following WHO Age-Friendly Cities’ Guide.

We believe the Covenant will offer what European cities and regions are currently missing when facing demographic change: an open, collaborative and sustainable platform where both politicians and technicians can exchange good and innovative practices, learn from each other and get support when developing and implementing action plans on age-friendly environments”, underlined Anne-Sophie Parent, AFE-INNOVNET Coordinator. “We therefore invite all interested cities and regions to join us on 7 December at the Committee of the Regions in Brussels, for the launch of the Covenant on Demographic Change”.

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