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Profile: Mr Nikolay Kozlov, Treasurer of the ISSA

Nikolay Kozlov was elected as Treasurer of the ISSA at the World Social Security Forum in 2016. Nikolay Kozlov is the Deputy Chairman of the Board of the Pension Fund of the Russian Federation and is a prominent economist and financial specialist. The ISSA Communication Unit asked Mr Kozlov to introduce himself to members and to share some of his experience and priorities.

Could you introduce yourself, your responsibilities in social security in your country and how you came to be involved in the ISSA?

I work as the Deputy Chairman of the Pension Fund of the Russian Federation, which today is one of the largest social security institutions in the Eurasian region, with around 120,000 employees and covering 43 million pensioners. My responsibilities include developing the savings component of the pension system, which plays an important role in Russia.

During the last few years the Russian pension funded pillar has grown to 5 trillion rubles, 76 million citizens have pension savings, more than 8 million have improved their pensions due to these funds, and pension savings have become an important long-term source of economic growth.

I have been involved with the ISSA since 2011, and have served as Vice-Chairperson of the Technical Commission on Investment of Social Security Funds. I am particularly pleased with the Technical Commission’s involvement in the production of the ISSA Guidelines on the Investment of Social Security Funds, which were published in 2013.

You were elected as ISSA Treasurer at the World Social Security Forum in December 2016. What were your motivations to stand for this position, and what will be your priorities?

My motivation to be candidate and to be involved in the governance of the ISSA is to contribute to the development of effective standards in social security administration and their comprehensive implementation.

This field of work is particularly relevant today, as we observe how the understanding of the social sphere is being transformed from one of cost to investment in human capital. The modern economy cannot develop without giving the highest priority to this social dimension.

My priority as Treasurer will be to ensure the most favourable conditions for the ISSA programme and operations. The contributions of our affiliated and associate members must give maximum return, and, in the long term, strengthen social security around the world.

The ISSA marks its 90th anniversary this year. How do you see the priority role of the Association?

The ISSA has witnessed a remarkable development over the 90 years of its existence. From its origins as a conference of sickness insurance organizations in Europe it has expanded to become a truly global association of organizations covering all branches of social security in almost 160 countries of the world.

If we compare this with human age, the ISSA has now reached the years of wise maturity! The ISSA’s accumulated and extensive experience allow the Association to give priority to two main areas: to implement and improve international standards and the best practices of social security management; and to ensure the efficient exchange of experience among the member organizations.

Exchange of experience means also to "learn not only from success but from failure", and I believe this is a very important component of international cooperation which the Association promotes, based on the needs of its members and responding to direct challenges they face today.

As an example of this successful format of cooperation, I would like to mention the organization of interregional round tables between ISSA member organizations from Eurasia and Latin America on the portability of social security rights, application of multilateral agreements in social security and other issues. The exchange of experience allowed us to avoid costly mistakes in the design of new systems.

As we discussed at the WSSF in Panama, social security is facing a rapidly-changing global context. What do you see as some of the main challenges for social security and for the ISSA membership, and how can the ISSA best respond?

The World Social Security Forum in Panama highlighted ten key global challenges for social security. I would like to use this opportunity to thank the General Secretariat of the ISSA for the innovative presentation of these challenges and for the dynamic moderation of the discussion on the responses of social security organizations. 

Taking into account the current national agendas of social security and modern trends in the labour market in the Eurasian region, I would identify the following main challenges for social security: population ageing; strengthening the protection of migrant workers; improving the level of services of health-care programmes, especially with the increased demand for long-term care; and also ensuring decent work for young people.

It is obvious that these challenges are complex and interrelated, and can only be approached at a comprehensive and international level. There is no better platform to undertake such analysis and cooperation than the ISSA: Let's not miss this opportunity!