Ms Gulshara Abdikalykova, Minister of Labour and Social Protection of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Photo: State Social Insurance Fund of Kazakhstan
The ISSA Secretary General Hans-Horst Konkolewsky was keynote speaker at the international conference on the theme of Social Security amid the Global Crisis: National Responses to the Challenges of the Day , held in Kazakhstan’s capital, Astana. In his speech, Mr Konkolewsky outlined the recent responses of social security institutions, and affirmed the crucial role that these systems have played in limiting the social impact of the crisis.
“Although the financial crisis has weakened the financial position of many social security programmes, it has also underscored the critical role that social security systems play, both as an income replacement mechanism and as a potential policy tool to help respond to economic downturn,” Mr Konkolewsky stated.
“The crisis has increased human suffering and hardship for people around the world. Nevertheless, many governments have seized on social security systems as a vital policy tool to counteract the crisis. The challenges presented by the crisis have drawn attention to the strengths of these systems, thus energizing arguments in favour of the more vigorous promotion of social security worldwide.”
During the visit, Mr Konkolewsky held talks on the development of social security in Kazakhstan with Mr Erbol Orynbayev, Vice-Prime Minister, Ms Abdykalykova, Minister of Labour and Social Protection of the Population, and with Mr Kurmanov, President of the Social Insurance Fund. The ISSA Secretary General also had meetings with representatives of the International Labour Office, the International Association of Pension and Social Funds, and with Ministers and CEOs of social security systems from several other CIS countries. Mr Konkolewsky was accompanied during the visit to Kazakhstan by Mr Wim Franssen, ISSA Treasurer.
The conference and presence of the ISSA leadership attracted considerable media attention in the country. In addition to interviews in the national press, Mr Konkolewsky took part in a live national TV discussion on social security issues.