Report of the Second WHO Global Forum on Innovation for Ageing Populations, 7-9 October 2015, Kobe, Japan

The report of the Second WHO Global Forum on Innovation for Ageing Populations is now available. The World Health Organization Centre for Health Development (WHO Kobe Centre, WKC) convened the Forum to build upon the platform WKC created in 2013 to share information, debate and drive new thinking about the current and emerging health and social challenges surrounding ageing populations and innovations. The Forum, with its theme “IMAGINE TOMORROW,” explored ideas for transforming communities, systems, and technologies for ageing populations worldwide – developments that are timely and key to attaining universal health coverage (UHC) and the new Sustainable Development Goals.


Two years after convening the first one, the World Health Organization (WHO) held its second WHO Global Forum on Innovation for Ageing Populations on 7-9 October 2015 that successfully gathered 212 participants from 24 countries in Kobe, Japan, in exploring visions of transformation in communities, systems, and technologies for ageing populations worldwide. Organized by the WHO Centre for Health Development, also known as the WHO Kobe Centre, the 3-day forum brought together diverse stakeholders - policy-makers and government representatives, members of the academia and the research community, funders, public health professionals, innovators from civil society and the private sector and older people’s voices - to highlight and accelerate social as well as technological innovations for older adults globally.

With the theme “Imagine Tomorrow”, the forum connected innovators with practical knowledge, the latest WHO data and framework and a diverse stakeholder network that shares in common an interest in the physical, mental and social well-being of older people towards innovation for healthy ageing.


The report of the Second WHO Global Forum on Innovation for Ageing Populations entitled “Imagine Tomorrow”, based on its theme, showcases - in both static and interactive versions - the ideas, suggestions, experiences and tensions expressed during the forum on the journey from today’s realities to realizing tomorrow’s envisioned person-centred, integrated care and support systems that would enable older people to age in their communities and continue functioning and engaging in society at large. In the spirit of innovation, the Global Forum provided several platforms for participants to be able to connect, engage in conversations and share solutions in improving the lives of older people in different settings being a global imperative.

The report captured overcoming the stereotypes about older people that limit their opportunities; narrated a personal story on ageing in place; detailed “the 5Ps” that would enable ageing in place; and reiterated the need for ensuring that health services and care are accessible to everyone everywhere. In synthesizing documented inputs and discussions, the report upheld the Global Forum’s innovative and participative format by mirroring its interactive, conversational approach, thus, the contents were delineated as a series of conversations among older adults.

Moving forward

The Second WHO Global Forum on Innovation for Ageing Populations, convened shortly after the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals 2016-2030 and the release of the first WHO World Report on Ageing and Health (WHO, 2015), has set the stage and momentum for continuing efforts on how health systems, the health sector and other sectors of society can be imagined to be transformed to provide coordinated health and care services, as close as possible to older people in the community.

It, therefore, urges all participants and readers to go beyond just having the conversations, towards concrete actions for older people. WHO and the WHO Kobe Centre invite all in moving forward together to share the inputs, lessons, research, insights and questions embodied in the report to advance social and technological innovations for ageing populations in order to “create tomorrow” that has been imagined at the forum.