125 years on – world's first state pension still shaping lives across the globe

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125 years on - world's first state pension still shaping lives across the globe

  • Conference on legacy of the world's first pension and the future of pensions on 28-29 October in Berlin hosted by HelpAge Deutschland, a member of the HelpAge Global Network, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development and GIZ and supported by Allianz.
  • Joint communiqué on future pension systems
  • People over the age of 60 set to rise from 868 million people in 2014 to more than 2 billion in 2050 (UNDESA, Population Division, World population prospects)
  • Only half the world's population of pensionable age actually receive a pension (ILO: Old age effective coverage)

Berlin, October, 2014 - On the 125th anniversary of Otto von Bismarck's creation of the world's first state pension, a conference assessing his international legacy and the future of pensions globally will be held in Berlin.

Entitled ‘Thanks, Otto! 125 years of pensions and new global perspectives', the conference will ask how pension systems can remain valid in the context of demographic ageing, rising inequality and changing labour markets, and question what pension models of the future might be. The conference will be hosted by Allianz, HelpAge Deutschland, an affiliate of the HelpAge Global Network, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, and GIZ.

What is Bismarck's legacy? In 1889, he started plans to introduce a pension law giving Germans over the age of 70 a measure of financial security in their old age. Considered the birth of the world's first state pension, it influenced similar systems worldwide throughout the twentieth century.

Over the past two decades there's been an explosion of new tax-financed, non-contributory social pensions, marking a shift in priorities for pension policy. Social pensions exist in more than 100 countries and have the potential to create a basic regular income for the very poorest older people.

"In most European Union countries, pensions systems as a whole now do more to reduce inequality than all other parts of the tax or benefit system combined," said Michael Buente, Chief Executive of HelpAge Deutschland, an affiliate of the HelpAge Global Network. "They can also contribute to reducing poverty by increasing the amount families have to spend. State pensions are affordable even in the poorest countries."

While rising numbers of low and middle income countries are extending social protection to their older citizens, demographic change is forcing developed nations to consider how to deliver on pension promises without bankrupting the economy.

"The fact that most people in the developed world can expect to receive a pension when they get older is a huge social policy success," said Professor Volker Deville, demography expert at Allianz. "However, one in two older people - mostly in developing nations - still have no pension income. For many, retirement is a luxury they cannot afford."

Speakers will include pension experts such as Robert Palacios, senior pension economist, a director at the World Bank and an author of the 1994 Averting the Old Age Crisis; Stephen Kidd, a recognized international senior social policy expert; Katja Hujo, Research Coordinator, United Nations Research Institute for Social Development, Nicholas Barr, professor of Public Economics from the London School of Economics and Political Science, government delegations, representatives from the ILO, African Union, and INGOs from across the world.

Note to Editors :

www.helpage.org/thanksotto

Allianz, HelpAge Deutschland, an affiliate of the HelpAge Global Network, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, and GIZ will host the conference taking place at the Allianz building, Pariser Platz 6, Berlin on October 28-29.

If you are a journalist wishing to attend, please register with: SJones@helpage.org

PRESS CONTACTS:

HelpAge International

Sarah Gillam, + 44 207 148 7623
Mobile: + 44 771 356 7624
Email: sarah.gillam@helpage.org
www.pension-watch.net/bismarck125
www.globalagewatch.org
www.helpage.org

HelpAge Deutschland

Michael Buente
Email: buente@helpage.de
www.helpage.de

Allianz SE

Petra Brandes
Tel: +49 89.3800-18797
Email: PETRA.BRANDES@ALLIANZ.COM
www.allianz.com

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