Conference News: Ageing, Development and Social Protection
Accelerated population ageing is a global trend. It has long been a significant issue for developed countries, and it is now becoming one for many developing areas. There is a tendency to depict population ageing as a threat to the future. Rather, it should be recognized as one of the great achievements of the past centuryóalbeit one that also generates a range of social, economic, political and cultural challenges. Population ageing is part of, and is influenced by, wider processes of development and transformation. The well-being and quality of life of elderly people are strongly conditioned by their capacity to manage the opportunities and risks associated with rapid and complex change. Social protection, both formal and informal, can play a key role in mediating these relationships. This conference, at which 14 leading international experts in the field of ageing and development presented papers commissioned by UNRISD, was the Instituteís contribution to the United Nations Second World Assembly on Ageing.
The UNRISD conference provided participants at the global event with insight to the current state of academic research and debate on some core issues related to ageing and development, as they affect different social groups (including the non-elderly), countries and regions, as well as different contexts of development, change and crisis. Because research about population ageing, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, remains underdeveloped and patchy, there is an urgent need for a stronger knowledge base and for coherent policy frameworks that address the effects of ageing and the needs of older people. The conference therefore examined the opportunities, problems and challenges of effective social protection for older peopleóincluding formal public policies and more informal strategies, such as household support systems. In Session One, participants considered the dynamics and challenges of population ageing in countries experiencing different development trajectories. Session Two focused on formal social protection mechanisms, including pension programmes, health care and social services. And Session Three examined a range of issues relating to the care economy. The conference agenda and a list of contributions to the project are included in this report.