pensions for all

Charles Knox-Vydmanov, social protection policy advisor at HelpAge, a UK charity, urges everyone to become involved with social pensions in developing countries.

Social pensions are state-provided, non-contributory cash transfers to older people. This is not a new idea. The first social pensions emerged in the early steps towards comprehensive social-protection systems at the turn of the twentieth century in countries such as Denmark, Australia and Britain. They continue to play a core function in the systems of more developed countries.

Yet it is only in the past decade or so that social pensions have risen to prominence as a social-protection tool. According to HelpAge International’s Pension Watch database, 101 countries now have a social pension, with over half of them introduced since 1990, and 33 since the year 2000. ….

Social pensions are by definition programmes that should be implemented and financed by the state. Some might therefore conclude that the role for external players to support and influence these processes is minimal. HelpAge International’s experience working on the issue shows that there are a variety of ways in which non-governmental and international actors can support this process. This relates to the supply side of social pensions through provision of technical assistance to governments on design, implementation and fiscal feasibility. At the same time, civil society needs support in influencing policy and holding governments accountable on the delivery of existing schemes.

Charles Knox-Vydmanov, “Pensions for all elderly people“, Development and Cooperation, 4 November 2013.

There is much more at the link. You can access Pension Watch here.


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