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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ): Age-friendly World

What is the WHO Global Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities?

The WHO Global Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities (GNAFCC) was established by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2010 to connect cities, communities and organizations worldwide with the common vision of making their community a great place to grow old in. Creating age-friendly environments requires a process across the life course that progressively improves the fit between people’s needs and the environments in which they live. To achieve this a coordinated response is required across many stakeholders, sectors and multiple levels of government. An age-friendly city or community is a place in which people want to grow older. Age-friendly cities and communities foster healthy and active ageing. They enable older people to age safely in a place that is right for them; be free from poverty; continue to develop personally; and to contribute to their communities while retaining autonomy and dignity. Because older people know best what they need, they are at the centre of any effort by local governments to create a more age-friendly community.

As a response to global population ageing and rapid urbanisation, it focuses on action at the local level that fosters the full participation of older people in community life and promotes healthy and active ageing.

What is the mission of GNAFCC?

The mission of GNAFCC is to stimulate and enable cities and communities around the world to become increasingly age-friendly. GNAFCC seeks to do this by inspiring change by showing what can be done and how it can be done; connecting cities and communities worldwide to facilitate the exchange of information, knowledge and experience; and supporting cities and communities to find appropriate innovative and evidence-based solutions.

Is membership an accreditation of age-friendliness?

Membership to GNAFCC is not an accreditation for age-friendliness. Rather, it reflects cities’ commitment to listen to the needs of their ageing 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.

Who can apply to GNAFCC?

An eligible member to GNAFCC:

  • Is located in a WHO Member State;
  • Is a directly elected or mandated governing body possessing within a given territory, as defined by law, a set of competences to deliver public goods and services to citizens. Given the diverse allocation of responsibility for health policy and community planning among countries, membership is inclusive of sub-national organizational levels from the provincial or state level, to villages and townships with limited population numbers;
  • Has the authority and capacity to convene mechanisms for inter-sectoral collaboration, conduct baseline assessments and to develop, implement and monitor action plans aimed at making the cities and communities under their sphere of influence more age-friendly.

What are the advantages of being a member of GNAFCC?

The advantages of being a member of GNAFCC include having access to information sharing with a global community; support from a global network of affiliates, practitioners, researchers, experts, and advocates committed to fostering age-friendly environments; recognition and visibility on WHO’s dedicated website ‘Age-friendly World’ as well as on global events (e.g., international exchanges on age-friendly practices); opportunities for collaboration such as international research projects, joint publications, and networking.

Does GNAFCC provide funding to members?

GNAFFC does not provide funds or any direct financial resources for the implementation of Age-friendly Environments by members. However, GNAFCC provides multiple opportunities for connecting the members and facilitating technical exchange and advocacy. This includes training, global events and gatherings, as well as technical resources, and guidelines.

What are the GNAFCC membership requirements?

Cities or communities are not required to have achieved age-friendliness at the time of joining GNAFCC. However, they must commit to working towards it and to document their progress in both their profile page and through the submission of their age-friendly practices. Cities and communities can join GNAFCC with the commitment by the political leadership to engage in this process and they are welcome to remain in GNAFCC for as long as they stay engaged and share their experience with fellow members. There is no membership fee but participation in GNAFCC requires a commitment to invest time and resources in developing age-friendly environments, and to share learnings and achievements with fellow Network members.

Members must:

  • Contribute to the development of knowledge by sharing evidence of progress (assessment reports, action plans, and monitoring and evaluation reports) with other members;
  • Share age-friendly practices;
  • Share guidelines and tools with other members;
  • Ensure their profile page remains updated.

Network membership is continual except in the following circumstances:

  1. The member requests that their membership be terminated, after which they will be removed from the list of members and their profile page will no longer appear on the Age-Friendly World website. The contact person’s user account will however not be deactivated enabling them to remain connected to the Network and re-engage at any time.
  2. The city or community, over a period of three years, has not met the mandatory membership requirements listed above.
  3. Membership may be withdrawn by the decision of the Network Secretariat, in consultation with the relevant Affiliates and governing bodies due to non-respect of Membership terms of reference or related WHO terms of reference.

What is the process for my membership application being reviewed?

Membership applications are reviewed by the GNAFCC Secretariat prior to final approval from the applicable WHO country or regional office. Upon acceptance you will receive an email notification with login credentials to ‘Age-friendly World’ website where you will then be able to access your age-friendly certificate, submit age-friendly practices and associated documents and update your city’s profile.

What is a Network Affiliate?

Affiliates are national or regional/state governments, civil society or research organizations, national or transnational city or community networks in WHO Member States that are working to promote age-friendly environments at the sub-national, regional, national or international level. Affiliates advocate for the work of GNAFCC and within their respective spheres of influence, advance knowledge and action on age-friendly environments. They serve as catalysts at the sub-national, national, regional, and international levels by promoting the age-friendly cities and communities’ approach.

Many affiliates also provide guidance and support to cities and communities who wish to become more age-friendly in their local language, within their local policy context, and through local opportunities to meet face-to-face. Often times, aligned membership criteria allow those members of affiliated networks to be automatically eligible to join the WHO Global Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities. WHO provides guidance and an accompanying toolkit on how to develop and strengthen national and subnational programmes for age-friendly cities and communities.

What do Network Affiliates do?

Network Affiliates contribute resources and expertise, energy and enthusiasm and diverse perspectives and connections to GNAFCC, which help to deliver concrete results on the ground and ensure that GNAFCC can thrive and grow. In addition, affiliates have a substantial role in mainstreaming, developing, implementing and monitoring the national programmes for age-friendly cities and communities.

Network Affiliates play an essential role in supporting the GNAFCC’s mission. They advocate for the work of GNAFCC and within their respective spheres of influence, advance knowledge and action on age-friendly environments. Some of the functions the Network Affiliates must carry out include:

  • Spread the word, including in relevant languages, about age-friendly cities and communities
  • Promote (e.g. conferences and in press releases) the use of “Age-friendly World” as a tool for information exchange, networking, accessing resources and age-friendly practices
  • Help to ensure that older people, especially those from marginalised groups, are central to the leadership and development of age-friendly cities and communities.
  • Show what is being done by collecting and disseminating information on relevant developments in policy and practice.
  • Support cities to understand and complete the application process to become a Network member
  • Provide training and or technical advice for cities and communities
  • Promote research on age-friendly cities and communities
  • Monitor and evaluate progress of cities and communities that are members of Network Affiliates, documenting what works and what does not and the evidence of impact.

What are Age-friendly Practices?

Age-friendly practices help build older peoples’ abilities to meet their basic needs; learn, grow, and make decisions; be mobile; build and maintain relationships; and contribute. Age-friendly practices support age-friendly environments, which foster healthy and active ageing by building and maintaining intrinsic capacity across the life course and enabling greater functional ability in someone with a given level of capacity.

‘Age-friendly World’ houses the Global Database of Age-friendly Practices, where examples of age-friendly practices from around the world can be found. Practices in the database provide specific details of the individual measures taken to promote age-friendly environments.

How can I submit an Age-friendly Practice?

Age-friendly Practices are submitted for review by the GNAFCC Secretariat via Age-friendly World. Please login to your Age-friendly World profile (not mandatory) before completing the Age-friendly Practice submission form. Logging in will link your practice to your city or community’s public profile page on Age-friendly World for greater visibility. As it is not possible to save your progress on this form, it may be helpful to compose your answers on a separate file before inputting them into the form for submission.

Do you have to be a member of GNAFCC to submit an Age-friendly Practice?

No, anyone can submit an age-friendly practice for review so long as the practice is a concrete measure that you have put in place in your community, city, region or country to share with other communities, cities, and regions.