Towards an Age-Friendly Europe: Launch of the EU Covenant on Demographic Change

Today,  the  AFE-INNOVNET  Thematic  Network  on  innovation  for  age-friendly environments  is  very  pleased  to  launch  the  Covenant  on  Demographic  Change. The  Covenant  is  set  to  become  the  new  EU-wide  association  gathering  local, regional  and  national  authorities,  civil  society  organisations,  universities,  and businesses that commit to cooperate and implement evidence-based solutions to support  active  and  healthy  ageing  as  a  comprehensive  answer  to  Europe’s demographic challenge.

Europe  is  rapidly  ageing.  People  aged  65+  represented  17.4%  of  the  population  in  2010 and  this  is  set  to  reach  30%  in  2060.  Therefore,  today’s  urgency  is  to  find  sustainable solutions to empower people to live healthily, actively and independently for longer, in order to lower the pressure put on family carers and on public health and long-term care budgets, as well as to enhance quality of life and well-being in later age.

We think that the best approach to ageing is the promotion of age-friendly communities where public space, transport, housing and local services are conceived with the needs of all  generations  in  mind, fostering also solidarity and cooperation between generations”, underlined Markku Markkula, President of the Committee of the Regions.

Public  authorities,  as  main  providers  of  services  and  responsible  for  territorial  planning, are  playing  a  key  role  here.  This  is  why,  with  the  support  of  the  Committee  of  the Regions,  the  European  Commission  and  in  close  cooperation  with  the  World  Health Organisation,  more  than  150  subnational  authorities,  research  centres  and  civil  society organisations have gathered today to launch the Covenant on Demographic Change.

The  Covenant  on  Demographic  Change,  legally  established  as  an  international  non-profit association under the Belgian law, is open to all interested parties (i.e. local, regional and national authorities, as well as civil society organisations, industries, research centres and universities) that voluntarily commit to making age-friendly environments a reality in their communities and to share their experience with other Covenant members.

The  Covenant  “harnesses  the  expertise  and  experience  of  stakeholders  at  local,  regional and  national  levels,  along  with  that  of  European  policymakers.  This  collective  knowledge will help tackle the challenges of an ageing society”, commented Commissioner Marianne Thyssen in her introductory speech. “By formalising and structuring discussions with local and regional actors, it will give both the technical framework and the political impetus to create age-friendly environments”, she continued.

By  joining  the  Covenant, European  local  and  regional  authorities  will  position  themselves at  the  forefront  in  addressing  population  ageing.  They  will  benefit  from  a  wide  range  of opportunities for mutual learning and partnership, various tools to implement and assess
the  impact  of  their  age-friendly  initiatives,  and  will  lead  the  way  to  help  Europe  become age-friendly.

The idea of such a Covenant was born during the European Year 2012 on Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations. After several years of hard work, we are very happy to  launch  it today at  the  Committee  of the Regions”,  said  Anne-Sophie Parent,  Secretary General  of  AGE  Platform  European  and  AFE-INNOVNET  Coordinator.  “We  are  even  more pleased to see that already 70 organisations, including 43 cities and regions, have already decided to join. This is a great step to make population ageing an opportunity for Europe and finally recognise seniors as an asset and not as a burden”, she added.

After  two  years  of  hard  work  within  the  AFE-INNOVNET  Thematic  Network,  we  want  to maintain and expand our position on rehabilitation of our elder citizens, to keep  physically active and self-reliant – enabling to “Life Long Living”, said Mayor Jacob Bjerregaard, from the Fredericia Municipality in Denmark.  “By joining the Covenant, Fredericia gets a unique opportunity  to  stay  ahead  of  the  challenges  and  opportunities  linked  to  demographic change”, he concluded.

  • For  more  information,  please  contact  Julia  Wadoux,  AFE-INNOVNET  Coordinator or Linden Farrer, EuroHealthNet Policy & Research Senior Co-ordinator

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How to join the Convenant?

  • Towards an Age-Friendly Europe: Launch of the EU Covenant on Demographic Change - Spanish versiobn here
  • Towards an Age-Friendly Europe: Launch of the EU Covenant on Demographic Change - Italian version here

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How to join the Convenant?


Annex: Public  authorities  and  organisations  having expressed  their  willingness  to  join  the  Covenant  on Demographic Change

Local and regional authorities
Agia Varvara municipality (Greece), CCAS de la Ville de Marseille (France), Fredericia municipality  (Denmark),  25  Irish  Age-Friendly  Cities  and  Counties  (Ireland),  City  of Leuven  (Belgium),  Local  Association  of  Attica  Municipalities  (Greece),  City  of Manchester  (UK),  City  of  Stockholm  (Sweden),  City  of  Tampere  (Finland),  Nacka municipality  (Sweden),  City  of  Ljubljana  (Slovenia),  Réseau  Francophone  des  Villes Amies  des  Aînés,  City  of  Arnsberg  (Germany),  City  of  Naples  –  Campania  Reference Site  (Italy),  DCRN  (EU),  ELISAN  network  (EU),  ENSA  network  (EU),  City  of  Udine (Italy),  Celje  municipality  (Slovenia),  Veneto  Region  (Italy),  Government  of  Biscay (Spain), City of Salerno (Italy).

Civil society organisations and foundations
AGE Platform Europe (EU),  Age Cymru (UK),  Caritas Coimbra (Portugal),  SIVI cluster (Spain),  Solimai  (Italy),  From  Generation  to  Generation  (UK),  Polish Institute  of  Silver  Economy  (Poland),  RBS  Center  fir  Altersfroen  (Luxembourg), International  Council  on  Social  Welfare  (EU),  Agentschap  Toegankelijk  Vlaanderen (Belgium),  Association  HIPOKAMP  (Poland),  EuroHealthNet  (EU),  European  Union Geriatric Medicine Society (EU).

Universities and research centres Polibienestar  Research  Institute 

University  of  Valencia  (Spain),  University  of Edinburgh  (UK),  Universitat  Politècnica  de  Catalunya  (Spain),  INRCA  (Italy),  Dublin City  University  (Ireland),  LifeTechValley,  boosting  healthy  aging  (Belgium),  Tallinn University  of  Technology  (Estonia),  IRS  –  Istituto  Ricerca  Sociale  (Italy),  FORTH  –Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas (Greece).

Norske  Helsehus  AS  (Norway),  ESCOOL  (Spain),  Acvfit  (France),  ENGIE  Belgium (Belgium), 40+Lab (Portugal).

Join the Covenant here


       The project is funded under the ICT Policy Support Programme (ICT PSP) grant agreement n°620978