Towards a Covenant

The Covenant on Demographic Change aims to gather all local, regional and national authorities, and other stakeholders, that commit to cooperate and implement evidence-based solutions to support active and healthy ageing as a comprehensive answer to Europe’s demographic challenge.

The Covenant will build on the outcomes of the AFE-INNOVNET Thematic Network and will be established as an international non-for-profit association under the Belgian Law. You can already consult the legal statutes of the association here

The Covenant on Demographic Change will be launched on 7 December 2015 at the Committee of the Regions in Brussels. You will find more information on the event here.

 


Frequently asked questions

 

What does the Covenant aim to achieve?

To engage local and regional authorities, and other stakeholders, in developing environments for active and healthy ageing that:

  • improve healthy life year expectancy,
  • enhance opportunities for independent living of older people and
  • support a society for all ages.

 

How will the Covenant achieve its aims?

The Covenant will be established as an international non-profit association under Belgian law. The legal statutes have been developed by the AFE-INNOVNET TN consortium and are made available here. It will be open to all interested parties (i.e. local, regional and national authorities, as well as civil society organisations, industries, research centres and universities) that voluntarily commit to making age-friendly environments a reality in their communities and to share their experience with other Covenant members.

The Covenant will connect and align with existing initiatives such as the World Health Organisation Global Network on Age-Friendly Cities and Communities (GNAFCC) and its affiliated programmes, the WHO-European Healthy Cities Network, the Dublin Declaration on age-friendly cities and communities in Europe and the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP AHA).

 

Who will be the members?

The Covenant will be an open network: all interested public authorities and stakeholders will be able to join or withdraw from the Covenant at any time. Applicants can apply to the category of their choice provided they fulfil the criteria for membership outlined below:

  • Full members: open to all local, regional and national authorities located in the EU and EU Associated Countries, as well as to formal networks of local and regional authorities. Full members endorse the Covenant’s overarching goal and vision, including the Dublin Declaration 2013, and commit formally to implement an age-friendly environments plan, share information with other members about their action plan and report back to the Covenant on progress achieved.
  • Ordinary members: open to any non-profit stakeholder that endorses the Covenant’s overarching goal and vision and commits to work together with other Covenant members.
  • Associate partners: open to any for-profit stakeholder that endorses the Covenant’s overarching goal and vision and commits to work together with other Covenant members.

To ensure synergies with existing networks and foster cooperation, members of the following networks have the right to join the Covenant provided they fulfil the membership criteria mentioned above:

  • AFE-INNOVNET Thematic Network
  • EIP AHA, including reference sites
  • WHO GNAFCC cities and communities located in the EU and EU Associated countries
  • WHO GNAFCC affiliated programmes (e.g. Age-friendly Ireland, VIDA cIDADES Portugal, Slovenian Network of Age-friendly cities, Spanish national Programme on age-friendly cities, UK network of age-friendly cities, Réseau francophone des villes amies des ainés)
  • WHO-Europe Healthy Cities Network
  • Dublin Declaration 2013 on age-friendly cities and communities

 

What are the benefits to join the Covenant?

For Full members:

  • right to vote on all governance issues of the Covenant including the election of the President who must come from a Full member
  • support from the Covenant’s secretariat
  • visibility on the Covenant’s website through information/reporting on their action plan, newsletter, blog, etc.
  • learn from each other’s experience and find partners
  • for local authorities, automatic right to join the WHO GNAFCC
  • possibility to participate in activities such as workshops or field visits
  • partnership opportunities

For Ordinary members:

  • right to vote on governance issues of the Covenant excluding the election of the President who must come from a Full member
  • visibility on the Covenant’s website: possibility to upload content and information on the Covenant’s website (e.g. feed in the repository of good practices)
  • possibility to participate in activities such as workshops or field visits
  • partnership opportunities

For Associate partners:

  • visibility on the Covenant’s website: possibility to upload non-commercial content and information on the Covenant’s website (e.g. feed in the repository of good practices)
  • possibility to participate in activities such as workshops or field visits
  • partnership opportunities

 

How can interested parties apply to join the Covenant?

They can joint through an easy online application procedure, no formal paper signature will be needed. It will be up to each public authority to decide, in accordance with their internal rules, how they need to proceed to make the decision to join the Covenant and who should be involved on their behalf.

 

How can full members develop an action plan on age-friendly environments?

All action plans should start with a ‘mapping of the needs’ together with citizens, notably older people, detailing what already exists to meet these needs and what is still needed. This mapping exercise is an opportunity to get an overview of what is already being done in one or several of the eight domains of the WHO age-friendly environments approach: housing, transport, community services and health services, outdoor spaces and buildings, social participation, respect and social inclusion, civic participation and employment, communication and information.

Public authorities can then set priorities together with older people and create a plan for action. If they want, they can start to work on just one area, and expand later on to other areas where needs have been identified. The overall aim is not to compete to become the most age-friendly city as quickly as possible, but to progressively improve age-friendliness in co-operation with local people and with the support of other members.

 

Are there grants linked to it?

No, the Covenant is not a funding programme and cannot provide financial support. The Secretariat will, however, provide information about EU funding opportunities and will help Covenant members develop partnerships to submit project proposals to EU calls for projects.

 

Is there a fee to join?

In its recently adopted report on the outcome of the EY2012 on Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations, the European Parliament is calling on the European Commission to find sustainable funding to cover the core activities of the up-coming Covenant. Other funding options, including potential membership fees, will have to be explored with the founding members. Meanwhile the Covenant will function thanks to in-kind contributions of its founding members. It will work mainly virtually and will seize opportunities such as the Committee of the Regions Open Days or other events organised by the European Commission or national stakeholders to organise back-to-back events for Covenant members.

 

Download the complete leaflet here.

For more information, do not hesitate to contact us at contact@afeinnovnet.eu