Deteriorating health and declining incomes threaten the welfare and security of many people as they enter old age. Nearly 80 per cent of older persons living in developing countries (about 342 million people) lack adequate income security, a figure that could, according to the World Economic and Social Survey 2007 (https://digitallibrary.un.org/record/601358?ln=en), rise to 1.2 billion by 2050 if pension coverage does not keep pace with demographic changes. The Survey suggests that a minimal universal social pension provides the surest way to tackle the problem. Universal pensions would provide a floor below which nobody could fall. Moreover, they could provide the basis for a more comprehensive pension system which may consist of a mixture of public and private initiatives adapted in accordance with existing country practices, financial circumstances and equity considerations.