AGE Platform Europe: Why we joined the Covenant on Demographic Change

Since 2008, inspired by the World Health Organization (WHO) holistic approach to active ageing, AGE Platform Europe has been promoting age-friendly environments as the best way to help Europe overcome this unprecedented demographic challenge. AGE members indeed strongly believe that age-friendly environments will not only improve quality of life of our ageing populations, but will also help lower the pressure on public health and care budgets, create new jobs, boost the silver economy, enabling our societies to better cope with demographic ageing in ways that are sustainable and fair to all generations.

AGE has used both the European Year 2012 on Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations (EY2012) and the European Innovation Partnership on Active and healthy Ageing (EIP-AHA) to raise awareness of the need to adopt and promote the concept of age-friendly environments across the EU down to the local level. While the EY2012 helped convince policy makers and leaders to take action in that field, the EIP-AHA provided a unique opportunity to mobilise a wide range of stakeholders, i.e. local and regional authorities, research centres, civil society organisations, industries, to commit to work together to develop innovative age-friendly solutions to support longer healthier lives.

Within the EIP AHA, AGE launched the discussion around the need for a European covenant on demographic change. The proposed Covenant received then the support of the Committee of the Regions in their “Opinion on Active Ageing: Innovation, Smart Health and Better Lives” requested by the Danish EU Presidency and of a large network of stakeholders (local and regional authorities, research centres, NGOs, etc.). Based on the EIP AHA achievements, AGE was able to coordinate for two years the AFE-INNOVNET Thematic Network which set up a large EU wide community of local and regional authorities (LRAs) and other relevant stakeholders across the EU who want to work together to find smart and innovative evidence based solutions to support active and healthy ageing and develop age-friendly environments across the European Union. This work has been done in close cooperation with WHO and the EU Covenant on Demographic Change has been officially launched on 7 December 2015. The effort will continue as of 2016 onwards through the Covenant, of which AGE is a proud Founding member.