A man holding a young child in Pakistan

In almost every country, the proportion of people aged over 60 years is growing faster than any other age group, as a result of both longer life expectancy and declining fertility rates. This population ageing can be seen as a success story for public health policies and for socioeconomic development, but it also challenges society to adapt, in order to maximize the health and functional capacity of older people as well as their social participation and security.

The Centre works closely with colleagues from around the world to conduct research on age-friendly environments, including the development of indicators for age-friendly cities. Taking advantage of its location in Japan, the Centre draws upon the specific expertise and experience of Japan. In collaboration with Japanese researchers the Centre is conducting research on identifying interventions and policies that can add healthy years to life.

fact buffet

395 millionthe number of people living to be 80 worldwide by 2050

Q&A on ageing

50 yearsthe difference in life expectancy of a Chilean women between 1910 (33 years) and 2010 (82 years)

Fact file on ageing

25%estimated percentage of the population over 85 years old by 2030 in Japan



Report of the First expert consultation on community-based social innovations that support older people in low- and middle-income countries, 14–15 July 2015, Kobe, Japan

April 2016 -- In 2015, WKC launched a new study programme to investigate models and social innovations for community-based programmes which addressed health and social care for older people at a community level, initially in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). WKC released a call for proposals and supported seven case studies from seven countries. In order to synthesize learning across case studies, WKC organized a consultation with the authors and additional experts in July 2015 in Kobe. This report is a synthesis of both analyses of the case studies and discussions around specific themes identified during the consultation.

Measuring the age-friendliness of cities: A guide to using core indicators

December 2015 -- The WHO Kobe Centre (WKC) published a new guide on the use of core indicators for assessing the age-friendliness of cities. It is available in English, and in Chinese, French and Spanish translated versions. This guide provides a framework and offers guidance and inspiration to all cities and communities to create and manage age-friendly environments and to develop an evidence base of their impact. WKC developed this technical guidance in cooperation with the WHO Department of Ageing and Life Course, with inputs from a wide-ranging group of international experts, national and local governments, and community representatives, including older persons themselves.

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

11 December 2015 -- 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.

Survey of Needs for Assistive and Medical Devices for Older People in Six Countries of the WHO Western Pacific Region

WHO Kobe Centre prepared the report of a survey of needs for assistive and medical devices for older people in six countries of the Western Pacific Region: China, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea and Viet Nam. The research identifies priority assistive and medical devices for older people, provides a better understanding of contributing factors for their availability and proposes approaches to improve access to high quality assistive and medical devices at an affordable cost in high-income and middle-income countries.

Medical and Assistive Health Technology: Meeting the Needs of Aging Populations
The Gerontologist

March 2016 – A new publication prepared by the WHO Kobe Centre, “Medical and Assistive Health Technology: Meeting the Needs of Aging Populations”, was published by the The Gerontologist 2016 56 (Suppl 2): S293-S30.

Report of the WHO Global Forum on Innovations for Ageing Populations

In 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) established the Global Forum on Innovation for Ageing Populations as an information exchange platform for diverse stakeholders to address the challenge of meeting the needs of older people in low resource settings with frugal innovations.

The Global Forum held on 10-12 December 2013 in Kobe, Japan, brought together more than 170 expert participants from 21 countries for 3 days of rich discussion and debate.

Contact us

World Health Organization Centre for Health Development
1-5-1 Wakinohama-Kaigandori
Chuo-ku, Kobe 651-0073
Telephone: (+81) 78-230-3100
Fax: (+81) 78-230-3178