EVENT: Ageing in Context of Large Labour Market Informality: How Can Social Protection Take up the Challenge?

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07-08 December 2023 – Virtual

Interpretation will be provided in French and English.

Population ageing is a global trend: the number of older persons aged 65 or over is projected to double, exceeding 1.6 billion by 2050. Emerging and developing countries will likely enter an ageing society in the next 15 to 35 years, a much shorter period compared to the 40 to 120 years it took for developed countries to reach this stage. At the same time, old age in developing countries comes with high risks of vulnerability to income poverty and inequality due to limited access to formal employment, social pensions, and retirement savings.

Informal workers, who operate outside the reach of social protection systems, often earn too little to enrol in contributory pension schemes or may be legally excluded from such schemes, facing greater income insecurity in old age compared to formal workers. Gaps in social assistance programmes may further aggravate the risk of poverty in the later stages of life.  Informality in the labour market also entrenches large gender disparities in old age as women live longer than men but experience large earning gaps in employment and are more likely to engage in more precarious forms of informal employment throughout their life course. Furthermore, ageing populations experience a fast decline in health and thus need elder care while access to healthcare and longterm care (LTC) systems is limited. These concomitant factors raise the question about the readiness of social protection systems in emerging and developing countries to take up the challenge of rapid population ageing.

The fourth meeting of the Policy Dialogue on Social Protection and Development (PD-SPD) will focus on the role of social protection policy in providing income and health security during old age in the context of high informality in the labour market. It will provide an interactive platform for the member countries of the OECD Development Centre, USP 2030 members and partner countries, as well as social protection experts and practitioners to share policy experiences, learn from their peers, produce collective knowledge, and put forward recommendations for regional and local policy responses to the challenges of ageing in the developing world.  

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