Kolkota becomes 105th city to make commitment to older population
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Kolkota, India this week becomes the 105th city in the world to commit itself to creating inclusive and accessible urban environments that benefit its aging population.
The World Health Organization (WHO) in 2010 set up its Global Network of Age-Friendly Cities and Communities to encourage exchanges about what it describes as “one of the key issues facing policy-makers, communities and town planners today. By mid-century, two billion men and women will be over 60 years old, with 400 million being over the age of 80 years. At the same time, cities are growing very fast and it is estimated that 70 percent of the world’s population will be living in towns and cities by 2050.”
Kolkata is the first city from Southeast Asia to join the network, and as a megacity with more than 15 million inhabitants, many of them very poor, its presence in the network will be significant. Each city identifies its own needs and explores solutions, so that New York, for example, has an age-friendly business initiative and Qiqihaer in China has created an age-friendly park.
John Beard, who heads the WHO department of aging in Geneva says that “many cities have developed computer training initiatives to help older people become more familiar with the internet. Every new idea and variation is potentially useful to other cities and communities.”
Geneva is also a member of the network.