Designing and expanding pension systems in Asia and the Pacific


Region: Asia and the Pacific

- Year of implementation: 2015

- Region/country of implementation: Asia/ Thailand

- Brief description of the activity or project:

Over the past several decades, many countries in Asia have introduced old-age pension benefits with the aim of securing the livelihoods of older generations and providing invaluable income security to a particularly vulnerable group. Countries are increasingly exploring alternative options to contributory schemes through measures such as universal social pensions. In ageing countries, the need is even a more pressing to develop and reform old-age pension systems, articulating different methods of financing such as contributory and non-contributory schemes.

A key element in the implementation of any changes is the proper training of those who will be involved in pension design and reform. In order to respond to this need, the executive course on designing and expanding universal pension systems was organized in Bangkok from 9 to 13 February in collaboration with the ILO Bangkok Office and Help Age International. The course was designed to train experts on the design, implementation, financing, management and reform of pension systems, with an emphasis on non-contributory social pensions. It also highlighted the socio-economic challenges commonly faced by policy makers and implementers. The course was structured into five modules:


A. Challenges in extending old age pensions in East and South-East Asia

B. International standards and policy options for designing universal pension systems

C. Financial sustainability and fiscal space

D. Changing world of work

E. Institutional coordination, implementation and delivery mechanisms


A key learning methodology was the sharing of experiences from different countries and immediate application of the knowledge gained to simulated situations. The course encouraged learning through presentations, group discussions and practical exercises. Through these examples, the course highlighted a variety of issues and challenges related to pension schemes, drawing particular attention to international good practices and lessons learned. 


- Target audience: The course targeted representatives of ministries of labour and social welfare, social security offices, and representatives of workers and employers involved at the technical level in the planning, financing and management of pension schemes in Asia and the Pacific. The course is also suitable for social protection experts from universities, United Nations agencies and civil society.

- Activity type: workshop in Bangkok, Thailand
- Institutional partners involved: Help Age International, ILO Bangkok, ILO Japan, multi-bilateral Programme
- Web links to the activity/project description, findings or report: flyer


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