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Global ageing and urbanization are among the major challenges facing countries around the world. This paper, based on a revised version of the Robert Butler Memorial Lecture delivered at the International Centre Global Alliance Symposium on ‘The Future of Ageing’ on 21 June 2013 in Singapore,  focuses on three aspects.

First, it examines the global ageing trends  and their implications based on the 2012 Revision of the UNDESA’s World Population Prospects projections.

Second, it summarizes selected studies projecting additional expenditure on pensions and health care which may be needed in the future. The projections suggest that additional resources which would need to be generated, at the time when medium term growth prospects are subdued, would be significant, in the range of 2 to 5 percent of GDP. Given constrained tax policy autonomy and high locational elasticity of businesses and individuals, raising resources, i.e. funding for financing aging, and designing  financing-mix between various sources and sectors, have acquired greater urgency.

So the third section briefly outlines how countries could address funding and financing challenges, including developing capacities to access non-conventional sources such as making more productive use of state assets.

Professor Mukul G Asher, a Professorial Fellow in the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, delivered the 4th ILC Robert Butler Memorial Lecture in the symposium. Professor Asher has published extensively in national and international journals, and has authored or edited more than ten books.  He serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of International Social Security Review. He has been a consultant to several Governments in Asia on tax policy and pension reforms, and to multi-lateral institutions including the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank. He has been active in Executive Development Programs, and has been a lead faculty for such programs for Government officials in several countries, including India, Indonesia, Brunei, Sri Lanka and Kazakhstan.

Eleven of the 14 ILCs in the Global Alliance were represented in the symposium; several of the representatives presented papers. The symposium was attended by more than 100 persons from the academic and research community, the NGO community and civil society, and the government of Singapore.

Below is the full paper presented by Professor Asher in the symposium.

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