Civil society must work hand in hand with local government

Submitted by AFE INNOVNET on Tue, 12/09/2014 - 09:25.

AGE Platform Europe and the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) are both part of AFE-INNOVNET Steering Committee. On 4 December 2014, Frédéric Vallier, Secretary General of CEMR, addressed AGE Annual Conference highlighting the role of local and regional actors in meeting Europe’s demographic challenge. Mr. Vallier stressed the importance of close cooperation between public authorities and civil society representatives inviting AGE members to contact national associations of municipalities and regions to encourage them to join the AFE-INNOVNET project.

Why should local and regional and civil society work together? How to make this happen?

By joining forces national associations of local and regional authorities and civil society organisations can work hand in hand to mobilise local and regional governments and seniors groups to map the needs of their local populations and co-produce innovative solutions to create age-friendly communities. While local seniors’ groups are best placed to voice the concerns, needs and suggestions of older people living in their community, local and regional authorities are close to citizens and can develop solutionswith local citizens’ groups to make their community more age-friendly and support longer and healthier lives.

Active ageing, demographic change are high on the agenda of local and regional authorities, and we believe that by allowing them to have direct links with other players such as civil society and senior citizens, they can develop policies which better match the needs and means on the ground. We have witnessed in many cities successful collaborations between civil society and public authorities through for instance consultations or setting up of senior councils. This has helped cities and regions make better informed decisions that have a direct positive impact on citizens’ quality of life and healthy life expectancy.

What are the next steps? 

AGE and CEMR will continue to cooperate closely to make sure that the upcoming EU Covenant on Demographic change will follow an informed bottom-up approach, i.e. address the needs and expectations of all citizens using a participatory approach, and built on local expertise and experience of public authorities.