Tuesday, December 12, 2017

ILO World Social Protection Report 2017

In recent days, the ILO - International Labour Organization, has published its new report on "World Social Protection". See:

This important report has a special section regarding the "Social Protection for Older Women and Men".
Here are the key messages of this report regarding older persons:

Pensions for older women and men are the most widespread form of social protection in the world, and a key element in SDG 1.3. At the global level, 68 per cent of people above retirement age receive a pension, either contributory or non-contributory.

Significant progress has been made in extending pension system coverage in developing countries. Universal pensions have been developed in Argentina, Belarus, the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Botswana, Cabo Verde, China, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Maldives, Mauritius, Mongolia, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Timor-Leste, Trinidad and Tobago, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan and Zanzibar (United Republic of Tanzania). Other developing countries, such as Azerbaijan, Armenia, Brazil, Chile, Kazakhstan and Thailand, are near universality.

However, the right to social protection of older persons is not yet a reality for many. In most low-income countries, less than 20 per cent of older persons over statutory retirement age receive a pension. In many developing countries, a large proportion of older persons still depend heavily on family support arrangements.

Observed trends vary substantially across regions and even between countries within the same region. In countries with comprehensive and mature systems of social protection, with ageing populations, the main challenge is to maintain a good balance between financial sustainability and pension adequacy. At the other extreme, many countries around the world are still struggling to extend and finance their pension systems; these countries face structural barriers linked to development, high levels of informality, low contributory capacity, poverty and insufficient fiscal space, among others.

A noticeable trend in developing countries is the proliferation of non-contributory pensions, including universal social pensions. This is very positive, particularly in countries with high levels of informality, facing difficulties in extending contributory schemes. Trends show that many countries are succeeding in introducing a universal floor of income security for older persons.

Public schemes, based on solidarity and collective financing, are by far the most widespread form of old-age protection globally. Pension privatization policies, implemented in the past in a number of countries, did not deliver the expected results, as coverage and benefits did not increase, systemic risks were transferred to individuals and fiscal positions worsened. As a result, a number of countries are reversing privatization measures and returning to public solidarity-based systems.

Recent austerity or fiscal consolidation trends are affecting the adequacy of pension systems and general conditions of retirement. In several countries, these reforms are putting at risk the fulfilment of the minimum standards in social security, and eroding the social contract. Countries should be cautious when designing reforms to ensure that pension systems fulfil their mission of providing economic security to older persons.

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