Later last month, the General Assembly of the AAL Joint Programme nominated Rafael de Andres Medina as the new President of the AAL Association. Mr Medina had been already part of the Executive Board of the AAl Association for the last six years as well as treasurer. The new president is inaugurating his mandate with an open letter to present his thoughts and goals for the coming years.
This is the full version of this letter:
The AAL Joint Programme is of very high importance in the context of aging in Europe, and the expectations from its owners, stakeholders, SMEs and end-users will increase it. Meeting the demand for active and assisted and independent living from an increasing number of older people and those with chronic conditions present a major challenge for the European societies and beyond, as well as an opportunity. The AAL Joint Programme should contribute to enable business, smart specialization, the health and care sectors and other ones to develop innovative, cost-effective, user centered technology and services for active and assisted and independent living. Current care models are unsustainable, and major changes will be needed. If we grasp this opportunity correctly, not only will we improve quality of life but we will also generate wealth across Europe. My valuable experience as member of the Executive Board during the last six years makes me as President aware of the need to smart maintain, grow and nurture the AALA in this season in which we will most likely should confront the coming transition from AAL-1 (2008-2013) to AAL-2 (2014-2020), if the co-decision is adopted by the European Parliament and the Council. As President, I will continue working with the Advisory Board [AB] and the European Commission [EC] to enable the Executive Board [EB] to deliver the defined priorities adopted by the AALA Partners States via the General Assembly [GA]. It continues to be critical for the next period of AALA to progress in:
• Efficient smooth operation of the Management Unit [MU] (Central Management Unit [CMU] and National Contact Person [NCP]) in order to deliver the Joint Programme effectively for all stakeholders, especially the GA, funding AALA Partner States, and most importantly the businesses of all shapes and sizes;
• A close cooperation with the Advisory Board [AB] and all stakeholders to get strategic and practical input to the AAL Joint Programme for exchange and debate of views and experiences to continue updating and agreeing within the strategic vision of the AAL-2 (2014-2020) for the commitment so that we can renew our activity and be viewed as the delivery partner of choice for programmes across AALA Partner States in the Active and Assisted Living Sector – including engagement with the Active and Healthy Aging lnnovation Partnership (EIP-AHA), Joint Programme Neurodegeneration (JP ND) and Joint Programming More Years Better Lives (JP MYBL);
• The AAL Joint Programme should show that solutions for active and assisted and independent living are scalable to provide support for a great number of people and at the same time respecting users, social and cultural aspects, in order to improve health and wellbeing;
• Wider engagement across Europe so the solutions that are developed in Europe can access the global market and pursue export opportunities;
• Standardization, interoperability and interworking, deployment at scale, is needed to ensure different technology solutions work with one another and knowledge exchange robust delivers this different type of care;
• Enhancing the visibility of the AAL Joint Programme in all AALA Partner States, and further encourage new EU Member States and/or countries with less project involvement to actively taking part in the AAL Joint Programme;
The core of the AAL Joint Programme is the projects and the outcomes of the projects with its further deployment:
• A close cooperation with the AALA Partner States and other key stakeholders ensuring that the yearly AAL work programme and priorities are in line with the policy and priorities of the AALA Partner States, still taking into account that an R&D/Innovation programme also has the role and tasks to support and show new innovative solutions to support social innovation;
• A strong involvement of SMEs, industry and end-users and other key stakeholders, e.g research organisations (e.g. in technology, social, health, economy) and standardisation organisations, municipalities/regions, health and social care / insurance organisations.
• A close cooperation with the EC to maximize the impact of the AAL Joint Programme;
• Working together for the consumer and the provider to drive the development of technologies, systems and services that can be tailored to the needs of each user which means they need to be flexible and interoperable;
• The AAL Fora and accompanying and support measures are cornerstones at the purpose;
And finally, enhanced communication and a good collaborative and proactive environment between the MU (CMU and NCPs), EB, GA, EC and other stakeholders is essential, and will be key for the success of the AAL Joint Programme. I strongly believe that I can deliver this vision as President of AALA and will work to achieve it.
Rafael de Andres Medina
President of the AAL Association