Ageing and life-course

Commit to action

Hereward Holland/Age International

Countries, regions, and institutions need strong leadership and commitment to create and implement policies that benefit older populations. Policies for ageing and health are often uncoordinated, fragmented or non-existent. Meanwhile, ageism, which is the stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination against people on the basis of their age, is a powerful barrier to the development of good policy and practice.

To create effective policies for older people, leaders need clear guidance and tools on what works, based on the best available evidence. Countries also need to be aware of existing regional and international frameworks on ageing and health so that efforts at different levels can be coordinated.

Juan Pablo Zorro/HelpAge International

In 2016, following a process of extensive consultation, the World Health Assembly adopted the Global strategy and action plan on ageing and health. Informed by the evidence of the World report on ageing and health and building on existing international and regional frameworks, the Strategy provides an evidence based framework for coordinated global action aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals.

woman from zimbabwe smiling
Kate Holt / HelpAge International

Ageism imposes powerful barriers to the development of good policy on ageing as it limits the way people think, how problems are framed and the way issues are addressed. Ageism also has important implications for the health and well-being of older persons. To transform understandings of ageing and health, WHO is working together with key partners to develop a global campaign that aims to change how we all think, feel and act towards age and ageing.


What WHO is doing to foster commitment to action

WHO has identified a number of ways to support countries and regions committed to action:

  • Provide guidance, support, and training to local and national policymakers to help transform health and social policy;
  • Foster knowledge translation and knowledge exchange between countries; and
  • Challenge and change the way that policymakers, researchers, and people themselves think, feel and act towards age and ageing.

To support these approaches WHO works together with a broad range of partners to:

  • Provide technical support and guidance to countries to develop evidence-based policies;
  • Build understanding and capacity of policy makers and other stakeholders on Healthy Ageing at global, regional and national levels;
  • Produce and synthesize evidence to inform the development of the global campaign to combat ageism, including its strategies and communication tools; and
  • Bring together a committed global coalition to lead the way towards a world for all ages.