New UN initiative dedicated to healthy ageing

April 27, 2022

A new United Nations (UN) Decade of Healthy Ageing initiative has been announced seeking to name and honor 50 leaders who are working to transform the world to be a better place in which to grow older.

Nominations are now open for the Healthy Ageing 50: an initiative supported by the World Health Organization (WHO), the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), and the World Economic Forum (the Forum).

Populations are ageing worldwide. People now live on average 20 years longer compared to 50 years ago. However, the opportunities that these extra years provide are heavily dependent on healthy ageing: not merely the absence of disease, but the creation of environments, opportunities, and policies that enable us to be and do what we value as we age.

“The UN General Assembly declared 2021-2030 the UN Decade of Healthy Ageing because we need to change not only what we do but how we think about ageing itself if we are going to add life to years,” said Etienne Krug, Director of Social Determinants of Health, WHO. “There are leaders across diverse sectors already innovating to increase health and wellbeing in older age. It is now time to celebrate these champions and inspire others by showcasing what can be done.”

The Healthy Ageing 50 is open to all leaders who have contributed to fostering healthy ageing in their respective areas of work—whether within administrations, organizations, universities, businesses, local communities, and more. Nominations, including self-nominations, can be made under any of the UN Decade of Healthy Ageing’s action areas: Combatting Ageism, Age-friendly Environments, Integrated Care, and Long-term Care.

“We believe a public-private collaborative approach is critical to drive sectors such as government, business, academia, civil society, media, and local communities, to foster healthy ageing,” said Dr. Shyam Bishen, Head of Health & Healthcare at the World Economic Forum. “It is of utmost importance now to encourage and celebrate leaders working to improve the lives of our older population, their families or communities.”

Nominations will be reviewed by an expert panel composed of representatives from the UN and the Forum. The Healthy Ageing 50 will be announced by a high-level UN panel at a virtual event this October, marking the 20-year milestone of the Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing (MIPAA) and the second year of the UN Decade of Healthy Ageing.

WHO release