The GP is based on WHO Age-friendly Cities, Communities programme and stakeholders.
The Basque Country has taken a proactive approach to the WHO Age-friendly cities and communities’ initiative by developing this initiative, which is being implemented by the Department of Employment and Social Policies (Basque Strategy on Ageing 2015-2020) and Matia Institute from 2012.
Rallying institutions, agents and individuals to make living spaces more "age-friendly", where people can live without physical obstacles and barriers is a primary goal.
The goals of the initiative are:
• Tapping the potential represented by seniors in the life of villages and cities as welfare generators.
• Create and promote community participation processes.
• Create a Network of friendly initiatives.
• Facilitate the introduction of changes in the environments to improve the quality of life.
In order to promote and develop the project a work plan in collaboration with the Federation of Retirees and Pensioners of the Basque Country (FEDERPEN) was established. In this way, in some municipalities the elderly associations have created self-managed groups to carry out the qualitative assessment through meetings and citizens forums, promoting empowerment and leadership to older people.

This practice is based on WHO Age-friendly Cities and Communities programme, and stakeholders such us city councils, Government Departments, citizens, associations, schools and businesses are being involved.

Resources needed

7 people working since 2012. A practical guide was developed (tools and best practices) to build a friendly territory. Baseline assessment was made in 15 towns, with secondary data sources, an Age-Friendly Survey, Citizen forums and other 77 stakeholders involved. It scaled to 18 new municipalities.

Evidence of success

During 2012-Jun2016 36 City councils have participated. Furthermore, 6 actions have been implemented:
- Euskadi Lagunkoia (EL), Age-friendly Business
- EL, Dementia Friendly Community Guide
- Time Bank, promoting communication and mutual support among neighbors and time swap
- Age-Friendly places. Working groups to detect improvement proposals, encourage citizen participation and strengthen social networks in the neighborhood
- Legacy: Intangible cultural heritage transmission by the older

Difficulties encountered

Difficulties in social participation, to involve people.
This project needs the implication of a lot of people and stakeholders working together. So it needs a lot of time and perseverance for the successful implementation.

Potential for learning or transfer

This GP is the way that the Basque Institutions have adapted the OMS´ Age-friendly Environments Programme. Indeed, this GP is an example of how to take advantage of the potential that older people represent in the life of the towns and cities of Euskadi as generators of well-being through local regional innitiatives. Besides, the project helps to create and promote processes of community participation and establish a way of creating a network of friendly initiatives in Euskadi. In fact, it also facilitates the introduction of changes in the environments in order to improve the quality of life of their cities.
Last, but not least, the collaboration between stakeholders needs to be part of a continuous time-line.
Main institution
Matia Institute of Gerontology (Research Institution)
País Vasco, Spain (España)
Start Date
January 2012
End Date


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