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The first international conference ‘Building the WHO Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities’  will be held in Dublin from 28th – 30th September 2011. The conference is being co-hosted by the World Health Organization’s Global Network of Age-friendly Cities, the International Federation on Ageing and the Age-Friendly Counties Programme of the Ageing Well Network, Ireland.  

More information on the WHO Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities, the International Federation on Ageing and the work of the Ageing Well Network in Ireland is available at the following websites: www.who.int/ageing/agefriendlycitiesnetwork , www.ifa-fiv.org and www.ageingwellnetwork.ie

The conference will bring together 400 leaders and senior managers from existing members of the  Age-friendly Cities Global Network , CEOs and senior managers of municipal authorities including planners, architects and elected representatives interested in, or already championing an Age-Friendly City initiative. Participants will also include senior professionals across the public, private and voluntary sectors in areas such as transport, health care and housing, research and academia, and key civil society organisations.

The conference programme will be built around three themes: Social and Cultural Connectivity, Age-friendly Environments and sustaining the global Age-Friendly Cities movement. The Dublin Declaration setting out the Principles of Age-Friendly Communities will be launched at the conference and signed by a core group of mayors and leaders from municipal authorities across the world.

The WHO’s Age-Friendly Cities Programme is an international effort to help cit­ies prepare for two global demographic trends: the rapid ageing of popula­tions and increasing urbanisation. The Programme targets the environmental, social and economic factors that influence the health and well-being of older adults.  A core aspect of the approach is to include older people as active participants in the process. The programme has identified the following eight domains of city life that influence the health and quality of life of older people:

  1. outdoor spaces and buildings
  2. transportation
  3. housing
  4. social participation
  5. respect and social inclusion
  6. civic participation and employment
  7. communication and information
  8. community support and health services

The Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities was established to build on the widespread interest generated by this Pro­gramme. To become a member of the Network a city must commit to undertake a process of continually assessing and improving their age-friendliness. The Network links participating cities to the WHO and to each other and facilitates the exchange of information and best practices. It also fosters interventions that are appropriate, sustainable and cost-effective for improving the lives of older people and provides technical support and training. At the moment it has members in over 60 countries across the world and the conference provides a unique opportunity to strengthen the Network and advance thinking and approaches on how to make cities and communities more age-friendly.

The International Federation on Ageing is a not-for-profit federation of thought leaders and agencies from around the world including professionals, academics, government agencies, non-governmental organisations, business organisations and individuals. It is devoted to improving the quality of life for older people and dealing with ageing issues throughout life. It is headquartered in Toronto and is one of a small group of NGOs with consultative status at the United Nations.

The Ageing Well Network is a not-for-profit leadership network comprising heads of organisations across the public, private and voluntary sectors, with a shared commitment to make Ireland one of the best countries in which to grow old. One of its core objectives is to ‘reframe’ the agenda around ageing and to extend the focus of policy makers and others beyond the real challenges of addressing health, care and pension costs.  As an organisation the Network recognises that a particularly effective way of acting as a catalyst for change is to actively support and champion initiatives which make a real difference to older people in their local communities. The Age-Friendly Counties Programme which is one of its key initiatives does exactly that, and the framework for its development reflects the approach recommended by the WHO. The Network is presently working across Ireland in four of the 26 counties and plans to be established in 12 counties by the end of 2011. It is delighted to be in a position to co-host this very important conference with the World Health Organization and the International Federation on Ageing.  

For additional information on the conference please go to www.afc-internationalconference.ie or contact the conference office at info@afc-internationalconference.ie or speak with Gareth at + 353-1-6127040.

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