Given the seriousness of current world events, and the many ongoing pressing issues like climate change, being discussed by world leaders at major summits this November, from Antalya to Paris and other cities, it seems right now somewhat of lesser concern to be talking about the subject of global aging demographics and longevity patterns. Yet, taking the long view, we should continue to consider this topic as it is one of the many layers of societal change that are interconnected.
In one way or another, we all live in this overlay of global factors – the complexities of political, economic and social change. And over the next few decades in discussing global demographic change as part of this, it should not be solely about looking at the statistics around the significant number of people over age 65 and deliberating – what are all the accelerative issues that fall in or out of taking care of that group?
It is also about looking at all age cohorts and asking – what kind of future world will a society of all ages become as a shared experience? We have no idea what the specific hot button topics at summits of world leaders will be in 2025, but we can likely expect demographic change and longevity patterns will continue to be of influence on the agenda. With any imagination or innovation at all, the conversation might sound a lot different – to the positive of course.
In the here and now, to advance the conversation for a decade out, there continues to be a number of global conferences and network summits that don’t quite garner the public attention as the larger more prominent gatherings do. One such event I intended to highlight but almost forgot with the news around the major global summits and the stressing world events of mid-November 2015; is the European launch of the Covenant on Demographic Change.
Taking place in Brussels December 8 & 9, the two-day workshop series is sponsored by the European Commission, WHO Europe and the Age-Friendly Europe INNOVNET. The title is “Innovations for age-friendly environments in Europe”.
The target audience is mainly policy makers from local and regional authorities in European countries, but they do invite participation from of the civic organisations, research centres, universities, industries and service providers to as they say “enrich the discussion and strengthen the partnership approach”.
Again, one more example of what people can achieve through a collaborative discussion on age-friendly community building. Good news in Brussels at a moment when the complexities of the world seem out of our individual ability to solve, let alone articulate.