Action area II:
Ensure that communities foster the abilities of older people
Physical, social and economic environments, both rural and urban, are important determinants of healthy aging and powerful influences on the experience of aging and the opportunities that aging offers. Age-friendly environments are better places in which to grow, live, work, play and age, which means an age-friendly community is a better place for all age groups.
The WHO Global Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities
In turn, the WHO Secretariat and other UN agencies were called to extend the WHO Global Network for Age-Friendly Cities and Communities and other work to foster healthy aging to ensure providing:
- evidence and technical assistance to countries for building age-friendly environments and ensuring that the most vulnerable are being served;
- opportunities to connect cities and communities, exchange information and experiences and facilitate learning by leaders in countries, cities and communities on what works to foster healthy aging in different contexts;
- tools and support to countries, cities and communities to monitor and evaluate progress in creating age-friendly environments; and
- identifying priorities and opportunities for collaborative action and exchange among networks and constituencies.
The WHO Global Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities currently includes 1,000 cities and communities in 41 countries, covering over 240 million people worldwide.
Just in 2019, 186 communities from the Americas were added to the WHO Global Network. The Americas now has the most approved communities of any region and represents more than half of all member communities worldwide, with over 600 certified cities. At the moment, the approved countries include Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Cuba, Mexico, Peru, Puerto Rico, U.S.A., and Uruguay.
Membership to the Network is not an accreditation for age-friendliness. Rather, it reflects cities’ commitment to listen to the needs of their aging population, assess and monitor their age-friendliness and work collaboratively with older people and across sectors to create age-friendly physical and social environments. Membership is also a commitment to share experience, achievements and lessons learnt with other cities and communities.