AGE has organised a panel on age-friendly environments at the German ‘Seniorentag‘, the major event around politics for senior citizens in Germany. AGE presented the AFE-INNOVNET project, which aims to build a partnership of cities, regions, research centres and senior citizen and to exchange practices on age-friedly environments.
Anne-Sophie Parent from AGE Platform Europe presented the AFE-INNOVNET project as a major outcome of the European Year on Active Ageing 2012. Age-friendly environments are crucial, as they support and foster health and independence of all citizens as much as possible: in urbanism, in workplaces, transport etc. The project tries to bring together representatives of local authorities, industry and research to exchange innovations and experiences in age-friendly environments. The project provides the online-platform www.afeinnovnet.eu in this aim, and will organise a Covenant on Demographic Change in Brussels on 7 December, which should be continued in the coming years.
Horst Krämer from the European Commission explained, how age-friendly environments are part of the Commission‘s strategy on the ‚Silver Economy‘. The ageing of society is a challenge, but also a chance for the European economy. Innovations in age-friendly environments can help to fully exploit the opportunities of longer lives. Dr Angelika Poth-Mögele, from the Council of European Regions and Municipalities, agreed and further explained the network on demographic change: many good initiatives can be shared on the web site and the covenant will provide an important opportunity to connect decision-makers. Unfortunately, until now only one German city is part of the network.
Menno Hinkema and Willeke Van Staalduinen from the Dutch research centre TNO presented how research can contribute to the work of local authorities. From the elaboration of a conceptual framework to the analysis of good practice examples, research can support regional authorities to find solutions for their issues.
Ursula Krickl from the German federation of municipalities presented initiatives, which dealt with age-friendly environments in Germany. She emphasised the challenges of demographic change in rural areas.
The following discussion highlighted the opportunities for local authorities to finance innovations, without going against the EU rules on state aid and public procurement.
The Covenant on demographic change will be organised from 7 to 9 December in Brussels and aims to establish the AFE-INNOVNET network as European partner programme to the ‘global network of age-friendly cities‘ of the World Health Organisation.
More information: www.afeinnovnet.eu