The Seventh International Meeting of the International Institute on Ageing, United Nations – Malta (INIA) took place between the 14 and 15 May 2015. The Board Meeting was chaired by Mr. Wu Hongbo, United Nations’ Under-Secretary-General for Social and Economic Affairs. The Board members present included Professor Isabella Aboderin (African Population and Health Research Centre, Kenya). Professor Toni M. Calasanti (Virginia Tech University, United States of America), Professor Jose R. Jauregui (Buenos Aires University, Argentina), Professor Malcom Johnson (University of Bath, United Kingdom), Dr. Olga Mikhailova (St. Petersburg Institute of Bio-regulation and Gerontology, Russian Federation), H.E. President Emeritus Dr. Ugo Mifsud Bonnici (President of Malta 1994-1999), and Professor Du Peng (Renmin University, People’s Republic of China). Professor Anthony Zammit was unable to attend due to a personal emergency. United Nations staff in attendance included Rosemary Lane (United Nations Focal Point on Ageing) and Lin Yang (Assistant to Mr Wu Hongbo), whilst Dr. Marvin Formosa (INIA Director) and Rosette Farrugia-Bonello (Rapporteur) represented INIA.
During the Board Meeting, INIA’s activities for the intervening years since the last meeting were reported under the headings of Training, Networking, Publications and International Activities. It is noteworthy that to-date, INIA has trained 2121 participants from 141 different countries in training programmes taking pace in Malta. The demand for ‘in-situ’ programmes in recent years was also highlighted, with INIA conducting as much as 98 training programmes in 27 countries, training 3,081 personnel working in the field of ageing since 1995. In coming months, ‘in-situ’ programmes are planned to take place in China, Philippines, India, Turkey, Russian Federation, Kenya and Argentina.
The success of INIA’s capacity building programme is also evidence by the number of INIA’s Satellite Centres in developing countries. In 2015 alone, INIA signed or reached agreement for the opening of Satellite Centres in the Russian Federation at the St. Petersburg Institute for Gerontology and Bio-regulation, and in India at the International Longevity Centre in Pune. In the same year, INIA published a book titled ‘Ageing and later life in Malta: Issues, trends and future prospects’, and worked to upgrade INIA’s journal BOLD to an internationally refereed journal titled ‘BOLD: International Journal on Ageing in Developing Countries’.
Dr. Formosa presented INIA’s Work Programme for the years 2015 and 2016 which included the core training programmes in ‘Social Gerontology’, ‘Health Promotion, Quality of Life and Wellbeing’, and ‘Policy Formulation, Planning, Implementation and Monitoring: The Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing’. Application for these programmes for the year 2015 far outstripped the available places. ‘In-situ’ programmes will continue to be held in countries already held, but also in continents where INIA was not so active in recent years. An important activity for this period is for INIA to investigate the effectiveness of its training programmes.
Dr. Formosa finished his report by stating that INIA will continue to take part in various activities in the field of ageing organised by the United Nations and affiliated organisations. He also thanked the Government of Malta and UNFPA for their continued support and assistance, and all the Board Members who had travelled so far to attend the Board Meeting.
Mr. Wu Hongbo closed the meeting by stressing the importance of INIA’s central role in the field of capacity building in the field of gerontology and geriatrics in developing countries. He augured that INIA, through its training programmes and networking activities, will help meet the challenges of population ageing in the world, which is a phenomenon with no precedent.