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Aging is now included into the WHO work program. Thanks!

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whologoDear friends,

Following the previous extensive discussion and the recent WHO Executive Board Meeting that was completed on January 27, I felt it was necessary to provide an update on the campaign that many longevity activists were conducting for the inclusion of aging health into the WHO work program.

Briefly: Congratulations, the longevity activists have won!

Thanks to the international advocacy campaign, WHO now has included a strong focus on “healthy aging” into the new WHO draft work program.

See the latest work program draft in English and all the 6 UN official languages (as of January 2018)

See especially paragraphs 15, 16, 17, 37, including the WHO commitment to advance the Global Strategy and Action Plan (GSAP) on Ageing and Health (until 2020, including the strategic objective 5 for “improving measurement, monitoring and understanding of healthy ageing”) and to prepare for the Decade of Healthy Aging (2020-2030).

Perhaps the most significant for advocacy is that Paragraph 17 of the work program declares that “Ensuring healthy ageing is an urgent challenge in all countries” and Paragraph 15 declares the major public health goal “to live not just long but also healthy lives” and suggests the use of “healthy life expectancy” as the main measure of health care success. Such goals and measures for healthy longevity can be advocated and quoted also at the national and local level.

Further, WHO published the specific targets and indicators of the WHO 13th General Programme of Work (GPW) 2019-2023. The main target for advancing aging health in the WHO work program is: “Reduce the number of older adults 65+ yrs who are care dependent by 15 million” – from the estimated baseline of 180 million in 2017 to 165 million in 2023. The data are to be evaluated through national population surveys, though the measurements of “care dependence” and distributions by countries and regions are not clear. Yet, as the program states, “Agreed impact indicator framework [is] under development prior to the Decade for Healthy Ageing 2020-2030”. This can provide further justifications to advance healthy longevity as well as an item for consultation and reporting, nationally and internationally.

So thanks again to everybody who participated in the campaign to include aging health into the WHO work program for your contribution! Here the head of the WHO Ageing and Life Course division acknowledges the importance of this campaign for the change of the program, and quotes the article “Aging health and R&D for healthy longevity must be included into the WHO work program” as an example of the successful joint advocacy effort.

Hopefully, this advocacy will continue, to ensure healthy longevity is not just planned, but actively advanced and implemented. If you organize or are involved in further longevity advocacy campaigns – either for specific topics (like the one for the WHO) or specific dates and occasions – please share your plans and actions, so we could coordinate together and create a stronger impact!


Ilia Stambler, PhD

Chairman. Israeli Longevity Alliance (ISRLA). Chief Science Officer. Vetek (Seniority) Association – the Senior Citizens Movement (Israel)

Outreach coordinator. International Society on Aging and Disease (ISOAD)

Coordinator. Longevity for All


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