C.30 - Social protection for the elderly

C.30 - Social protection for the elderly
Promote the development of allowances and services relating to social security, health and education in the social protection systems targeting older persons to improve their quality of life, economic security and social justice.
Priority measure number


This priority measure is related to priority measure 32: “Extend social protection and social security systems, with a gender perspective, to include those women who have devoted their lives to productive work, whether as domestic workers, women in rural areas or informal workers”. In addition, the health area is addressed in priority measure 26: “Bring health policies into line with the challenges of the varied and changing epidemiological profile arising from ageing and the epidemiological transition, reinforcing the fight to eradicate communicable diseases and implementing actions for the prevention and treatment of chronic, diseases traditionally referred to as non-communicable, but now known to be strongly influenced by conditions of social and economic vulnerability in the early years of life, and ensure that these policies take into account gender, age, regional, ethnic and socioeconomic specificities”.

Possible lines of action

1. Create continuing education programmes (training and retraining) for older persons. 2. Reinforce programmes to combat illiteracy among older men and women. 3. Facilitate access and active participation for older persons in recreational, cultural and sporting activities sponsored by public and private organizations, associations and institutions. 4. Promote training for older persons in the use of information and communication technologies. 5. Achieve universal social security coverage, with at least minimum levels of protection, guaranteeing progressively higher levels in line with the updated social security standards of the International Labour Organization (ILO). 6. Promote the production and dissemination of information on pensions in a manner readily understandable for the entire population. 7. Train organizations representing pensioners and older persons in the financing and management of pensions, so that they can establish effective relationships with policymakers. 8. Promulgate legislation protecting the rights of workers vis-à-vis private pension funds. 9. Gradually expand the scope of social security coverage for independent workers, domestic workers and workers in rural areas, adapting the scope of benefits, contributions and administrative procedures accordingly.

Related instruments, forums and mechanisms

The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights provides in article 9 that “The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone to social security, including social insurance”, a provision that implicitly includes recognition of the right to old-age benefits. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has declared in its general comment No. 6 that “in so far as respect for the rights of older persons requires special measures to be taken, States parties are required by the Covenant to do so to the maximum of their available resources.”

The International Labour Organization (ILO) has general standards relating to social security: the Social Security (Minimum Standards) Convention, 1952 (No. 102); the Income Security Recommendation, 1944 (No. 67); and the Social Protection Floors Recommendation, 2012 (No. 202).

The Madrid International Plan of Action on Ageing includes social security in issue 7 (“Income security, social protection/social security and poverty prevention”), under priority direction 1 (“Older persons and development”), and education under issue 4 (“Access to knowledge, education and training”), also under priority direction 1.

 This priority measure is also related to the Sustainable Development Goals and their targets, in particular target 1.3 (“Implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable”), target 3.4 (“By 2030 reduce by one-third pre-mature mortality from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) through prevention and treatment, and promote mental health and well-being”) and target 10.4 (“Adopt policies especially fiscal, wage, and social protection policies and progressively achieve greater equality”).

C. Ageing and social protection