Access to adequate social protection in old age remains a luxury limited to a minority of people globally, with just one in five older people in low- and middle-income countries receiving even a basic pension. This huge gap is symptomatic of the wider failure of social protection systems as a whole to guarantee the right to social security, which constitutes a fundamental barrier to tackling pervasive poverty and growing inequality across the globe. Encouragingly, recent years have seen some positive developments in expansion of old age social protection, particularly in the introduction and extension of non-contributory (or “social”) pensions. As the landscape begins to change, a human rights analysis can help to unpack the remaining barriers and consider how these can be overcome.
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