Welcome to the last Age-friendly World newsletter for 2017!

At the beginning of 2017 the WHO Global Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities had 380 member cities and communities covering 134 million people. Throughout the year we have welcomed 161 members for a total of 541 member cities and communities from 37 countries, covering 179 million people.

The growth of the Network is a reflection of an increasing worldwide interest in the global age-friendly movement. As populations age and the voices of older people grow stronger, there is greater recognition of the importance of making cities and communities good places to live for people of all ages. Much more still needs to be done and the WHO Network is strongly committed to supporting communities, cities and regions on their Age-friendly journey. Thank you for your part in making an Age-friendly World!

In this Newsletter:

• Tell us about your priorities: GNAFCC survey

• Age-friendly World website maintenance update

• Reminder on GNAFCC Membership changes

• Age-friendly News: WHO Global Dementia Observatory launch, Age-friendly Cities and Communities workshop in Japan, the first report of the WHO long-term care series, and a call for applications to a funded PhD programme on ageism

Tell us about your priorities:

GNAFCC survey

WHO is running a short survey for GNAFCC members to hear what issues are priorities for your age-friendly work, and what information and support would help you in your work. For example, you might want to know what can be done to address a particular issue, what others have done, and what has been found to work. You might also have ideas on how you want to receive this information, e.g. webinars, guidelines and others.

The survey responses will help shortlist and prioritise WHO activities over the next three years. Your answers will also help ensure that the Age-friendly World website is responsive to your needs.

A link to the survey has been sent to all Network members. We want to hear from everyone, but only one representative from a city or community can complete the survey. It should take around 15 minutes to complete. 

The survey will close on 24 January 2018 (Wed). Please get in touch with any questions at gnafcc@who.int. We look forward to hearing from you!

Reminder: Age-friendly World

website maintenance

Thank you for your patience as the Age-friendly World website undergoes maintenance and upgrade works for improved functionality. The maintenance process has been progressing on schedule, and is expected to last until mid January 2018.

Until maintenance works are complete, some website functionality such as logging-in and new applications to the GNAFCC will continue to be disabled. For any urgent questions, requests or concerns, please get in touch at gnafcc@who.int.

Reminder: GNAFCC

Membership Changes

The Global Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities recently launched new membership documents and procedures, which include many important changes.

One of these changes is that membership of the Network changed from renewal-based to ongoing as long as members meet the mandatory membership requirements including:  

• Contribute to the development of knowledge by sharing evidence of progress (assessment reports, action plans) and outcomes (age-friendly practices, monitoring and evaluation reports) with other members;

• Share guidelines, tools, and practices with members; and

• Ensure their profile page remains updated.

This change means that current members of GNAFCC will continue to be members without needing to go through a renewal process.

Another significant change is that Membership is now also open to sub-national levels of Government. Many States and regions have indicated their interest to join the Network to better support their cities and communities that are committed to becoming more age-friendly – like the State of New York (see box).

Find out more about the new membership documents and procedures here, or get in touch with any questions at gnafcc@who.int.

Age-friendly News

3 December: Launch of the first report in the WHO long-term care series


Toward long-term care systems in sub-Saharan Africa, the first report in the new WHO series on long-term care, highlights that the need for long-term care is large and growing. Long-term care systems provide support and assistance to people experiencing significant loss of physical or mental capacities.

Currently, there are 46 million people aged 60 years and older in sub-Saharan Africa. By 2050, this number, will more than triple to 165 million. In sub-Saharan Africa, long-term care for older adults is predominantly provided by families, although caregivers often go without the necessary training and assistance. This lack of support often results in poor quality of care and places an unnecessary burden on caregivers, who are overwhelmingly female. Relying on families to meet the care needs for the ever increasing number of older adults in sub-Saharan Africa is unsustainable.

The Global strategy and action plan on ageing and health (2016 – 2020) calls for every country to develop a system of long-term care, emphasizing the importance of enabling older people to age in a place that is right for them.

Key steps for developing sustainable and equitable systems of long-term care in sub-Saharan Africa include:

• Building understanding and commitment for long-term care systems in all countries

• Establishing national coordination mechanisms for long-term care provision

• Mapping the existing long-term care provision and develop indicators that can provide information on the need for and coverage of long-term care

• Fostering cross-national learning and exchange

For further information on the series, visit:



4-5 December: Building Momentum in Japan for

Age-friendly Cities and Communities


On 4-5 December 2017, 18 officials from nine local governments in Japan gathered at the WHO Centre for Health Development in Kobe, Japan, to learn more about the Global Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities. Until recently, only two Japanese municipalities were GNAFCC Members – Akita joined in 2011 and Takarazuka in 2015. However, 19 municipalities from Kanagawa Prefecture joined the Network in October 2017 with the support of their prefectural government. Recognising strong local interest towards GNAFCC, WHO organized a Japanese workshop on Age-friendly Cities and Communities to stimulate action.

At the workshop, officials from Akita and Takarazuka shared their experiences as GNAFCC Members. An official from Kanagawa Prefecture also spoke about the prefecture’s plans to become a GNAFCC Affiliate. WHO explained the updated guidelines for Members and Affiliates, and led a group exercise to identify locally-relevant priority areas of action, stakeholders and indicators. The Centre for Ageing Better (UK) also shared their insights about age-friendly networks in the UK and USA to spark discussions about a potential Japanese network.

The workshop participants valued the event as an opportunity to exchange information and meet other officials interested in age-friendliness. Strengthening networking within Japan was also recognised as a potential opportunity towards broader GNAFCC participation.

7 December: Launch of the WHO Global Dementia Observatory


Dementia is estimated to affect around 50 million people worldwide, and is one of the major causes of disability and dependency among older people. Towards coordinating a global public health response to dementia, better data monitoring and sharing is needed. To respond to this need, WHO launched the Global Dementia Observatory on 7 December 2017.

The WHO Global Dementia Observatory is a web-based platform to facilitate information exchange on dementia for policy-makers and researchers. The Observatory makes global information on dementia policies, service delivery, epidemiology and research available to the public. Currently, data from 21 countries across all income levels have been included. The existing data suggests that much work will be needed to support countries in responding effectively to dementia.

Find out more about the WHO Global Dementia Observatory here.

31 January 2018: Call for applications to EuroAgeism - 15 funded PhD positions available


EuroAgeism is a multidisciplinary international network of researchers, policy-makers, social and health care professionals dedicated to expanding resesarch and action on ageism. As a part of its work, EuroAgeism is recruiting 15 early career researchers for a fully funded 3-year PhD programme.

The projects available under this PhD programme draw from a diversity of disciplines across the sciences, social sciences and humanities. Successful applicants will be hosted by 1 of 8 member institutions of the EuroAgeism network. Secondment and internship opportunities with academic, policy and health organizations will also be available - including with WHO.

The deadline for applications is 31 January 2018 (Wed). For more information, please visit the EuroAgeism website, or download the full recruitment announcement here.


About us

Age-friendly World is a World Health Organization website dedicated to promoting age-friendliness around the world. The World Health Organization Global Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities (GNAFCC) is a global coalition of cities and communities committed to becoming more age-friendly. We currently consist of 541 member cities and communities in 37 countries, covering a population of 179 million people. 

Submit your news on Age-friendly World or get in touch with us at gnafcc@who.int.