Ageing and life-course

The Global strategy and action plan on ageing and health

Why do we need a Global strategy and action plan on ageing and health?

An older man in the sea, looking to camera.
Frédéric Dupoux/HelpAge International 2010

Populations around the world are rapidly ageing, with some of the fastest change occurring in low- and middle-income countries. Promoting healthy ageing, and building systems to meet the needs of older adults, will be sound investments in a future where older people have the freedom to be and do what they value.

How is the Strategy being developed?

In 2014, the World Health Assembly asked the Director-General to develop a comprehensive Global strategy and action plan on ageing and health for consideration by the Executive Board in January 2016 and by the Sixty-ninth World Health Assembly.

Recent updates

The "Multisectoral action for a life course approach to healthy ageing: draft global strategy and plan of action on ageing and health (Document A69/17)." is agenda item 13.4 for consideration and adoption by the 69th World Health Assembly (WHA) in May 2016.

Document A69/17

The Strategy will be a significant step forward in setting out a framework for Member States, the WHO Secretariat and partners to contribute to achieving the vision that all people can live long and healthy lives.

The Strategy (2016 – 2020) suggests two goals:

  • five years of evidence-based action to maximize functional ability that reaches every person; and
  • by 2020, establish evidence and partnerships necessary to support a Decade of Healthy Ageing from 2020 to 2030.

Specifically the Strategy will focus on five strategic objectives:

  • commitment to action on Healthy Ageing in every country;
  • developing age-friendly environments;
  • aligning health systems to the needs of older populations;
  • developing sustainable and equitable systems for providing long-term care (home, communities, institutions); and
  • improving measurement, monitoring and research on Healthy Ageing.

What is the process of consultation?

The strategy focuses on what needs to be done globally going beyond what the WHO Secretariat can do alone. As such an extensive consultation process with Member States and other stakeholders involving face-to-face meetings and an online survey took place between August 2015 and November 2015.

A zero draft, reviewed through an on-line survey (28 August – 30 October 2015), yielded more than 500 contributions - comments, edits and statements - from individuals and institutions in 55 countries.

Based on inputs received a first draft of the Global strategy and action plan on ageing and health was developed and formed the basis for four regional meetings and a global consultation in Geneva. These meeting, organized in collaboration with all WHO regional offices, brought together almost 200 participants including 75 delegations from Member States, 35 non-governmental organizations, 30 experts from a diverse range of research institutions, as well as representatives from other International and United Nations agencies and WHO technical departments.

The consultation process gathered valuable inputs that informed the revisions of the Global strategy and action plan on ageing and health, including suggested goals, strategic objectives, action points, commitments from stakeholders, and indicators to measure progress towards healthy ageing that reaches every person.

The revised version of the Global strategy and action plan on ageing and health was discussed by the Executive Board on 27 January 2016 in Geneva, Switzerland. Representatives from 30 Member States and civil society organizations contributed to the discussion.

Supporting documents

Online survey

Draft Zero of the Global Strategy was released in August 2015 to start the online consultation process.

Global consultation on Draft 1 of the Global strategy and action plan

Draft 1 was made available in mid October 2015.

Executive Board


What is 'healthy ageing'

“Healthy ageing” is defined by the World report on ageing and health as the process of developing and maintaining the functional ability that enables well-being in older age.