Heidelberg gerontologists led by Andreas Kruse want to cooperate with the Indian representation of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). The aim is to intensify knowledge exchange between Europe and Asia in the field of gerontology. Diego Palacios, director of the UNFPA office in India, and Prof. Kruse, director of the Institute of Gerontology at Heidelberg University, have signed a memorandum of understanding to this effect in New Delhi. The cooperation intends to lay the foundations for joint activities such as developing and conducting research projects or transferring research findings into the realms of society, policy-making and business.
"The goals of our cooperation include knowledge transfer in the form of empirically-founded political advice. Through this we can participate in societal changes and bring about improvements in the field of elderly care and well-being," Andreas Kruse underlines. The Heidelberg Center South Asia (HCSA), which is Heidelberg University’s representation in South Asia based in New Delhi, is to support cooperation between different research organisations in India and Germany. The long-term plan is for it to grow into a knowledge hub in the field of gerontology. As Prof. Kruse explains, such a centre could link up the activities of various institutions in Europe and Asia.
Formerly called the United Nations Fund for Population Activities, the UNFPA finances population programmes. The Fund plays an important role in questions of reproductive health and population development, particularly in developing countries. It works with governments and non-government organisations in over 150 countries. The UNFPA also supports countries in collecting the demographic data they need as a basis for their development strategies. The UNFPA publishes annual State of World Population Reports, which explain current issues on population development and contains demographic and socio-economic data for all the countries and regions on earth. Prof. Kruse was a member of the 15-person expert commission that drew up the International Plan of Action on Ageing on behalf of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan.