85 years of innovation in the service of social security

1927-10-04 00:00:00

Foundation of the ISSA

4 October 1927: The International Conference of National Associations of Mutual Benefit Societies and of Sickness Insurance Funds is founded in Brussels during the first General Assembly, attended by 17 national institutions from nine European countries.

1928-07-01 00:00:00

Albert Thomas

“The world unity which we desire to attain, to which we are so fervently dedicated, would be mere words if we did not have behind us all the living forces which exist in each country.”

1928-07-01 00:00:00

Helmut Lehmann

“In doing this we shall be doing a work of peace in the best sense of the word.”

1936-01-01 00:00:00

Enlarging membership

1936: The Association becomes the International Social Insurance Conference (known as CIMAS in its French acronym) and expands its admission criteria to include social insurance institutions responsible for administering disability, old age and survivors' insurance.

1938-07-01 00:00:00

Moving beyond Europe

1938: The National Social Insurance Fund of Peru becomes the first non-European institution to join the CIMAS.

1944-07-01 00:00:00

Philadelphia Declaration

1944: The ILO adopts the Philadelphia Declaration, an historic document calling for the extension of social security measures and promoting systematic cooperation among social security entities internationally and regionally.

1947-07-01 00:00:00

New constitution, new name

1947: A new Constitution is adopted at the 8th General Assembly in Geneva, opening membership to government-administered social security agencies.

1947-07-01 00:00:00

Vaclav Nĕmeček

“It [the CIMAS] has greatly contributed to the creation of a spirit of international co-operation among the agencies administering social insurance, free of the often inevitable barriers of politics.”

1947-08-01 00:00:00

Leo Wildmann:The ISSA gains in influence

1947: Leo Wildmann (Austria) was elected ISSA Secretary General.

1948-07-01 00:00:00

Social security is a fundamental right

1948: Social security is included as a fundamental right in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

1951-07-01 00:00:00

The first Technical Commissions

1951: The first two Technical Commissions are established – the Medico-Social Committee (renamed the Technical Commission on Medical Care and Sickness Insurance in 1971) and the Technical Commission on Mutual Benefit Societies.

1952-07-01 00:00:00

Renato Morelli

“From a small nucleus of European sickness insurance funds at the beginning, it has now become an organisation whose members include almost all the social insurance administrations of Western Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia...”

1958-07-01 00:00:00

The international stage

1958: ISSA launches regional activities in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

1979-07-01 00:00:00

Consultative status with ECOSOC

1979: The U.N. Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) grants ISSA consultative status, which allows the Association to participate actively in international conferences and events organized by the United Nations.

1996-07-01 00:00:00

Stockholm Initiative

1996: ISSA successfully organizes the Stockholm Initiative.

1997-01-01 00:00:00

Karl Gustaf Scherman

"Social security contributes to the functioning of the market economies, to the prosperity of populations and to social cohesion. This will remain its role in the future."

1998-07-01 00:00:00

The first public website

1998: ISSA launches its public website,, which provides information on its activities in four languages.

1999-07-01 00:00:00

ISSA Initiative

1999-2004: the ISSA Initiative helps to promote international dialogue on the fundamental role of social security in economic and social development.

2002-07-01 00:00:00

Johan Verstraeten

“Our work is important and even vital. Workers and their families and all the excluded of the world who have a right and deserve a sense to security, fairness and peace of mind, are counting on us.”

2004-07-01 00:00:00

First woman president

2004: Corazon de la Paz-Bernardo (Philippines) becomes ISSA's first woman president.

2005-07-01 00:00:00

The new ISSA

2005: Hans-Horst Konkolewsky (Denmark) is elected as the Association's Secretary-General.

2007-09-09 00:00:00

First World Social Security Forum in Russia

2007: ISSA organizes the first World Social Security Forum, held in Moscow and attended by more than 1,169 ministers, decision makers, administrators and researchers from 129 countries.

2010-12-03 00:00:00

World Social Security Forum in South Africa

2010: Errol Frank Stoové (Netherlands) is elected ISSA's President during the World Social Security Forum held in Cape Town (South Africa).

2010-12-03 01:00:00

Video: Social security makes a difference

2010: a Public Service Announcement on social security as a fundamental right is presented during the World Social Security Forum, which took place in Cape Town, South Africa. Actor Kiefer Sutherland, whose grandfather, Tommy Douglas, introduced public health care in Canada, narrates the announcement.

2012-03-22 00:00:00

ILO-ISSA agreement

2012: The ILO and ISSA sign a memorandum of understanding aimed at strengthening their cooperation to extend and promote social security worldwide.

2012-10-01 00:00:00

Errol Frank Stoové

“The success of adequate social protection, social security and health insurance is often not sufficiently recognized. It is now more than ever the time to demonstrate to the people of all nations how much social security matters. It matters because it strengthens individual capacities. It matters because it raises awareness of individual responsibilities and it matters because it is not a cost, but an investment in social and economic development. Effective and efficient social security is the cornerstone of economic development, and the ISSA has over 85 years made an indispensable contribution in assisting social security administrations to achieve excellence.”

2013-11-10 00:00:00

World Social Security Forum in Qatar

The 3rd World Social Security Forum took place in Doha, Qatar, from 10 to 15 November 2013.

2013-11-10 00:00:00

The ISSA Centre for Excellence

The ISSA Centre for Excellence, launched at the World Social Security Forum in Doha in 2013, fosters the transfer of knowledge among ISSA member organizations to achieve administrative excellence.

2016-11-14 00:00:00

World Social Security Forum in Panama

The 4th World Social Security Forum took place in Panama City, Panama, from 14 to 18 November 2016.

2016-11-14 00:00:00

Joachim Breuer

“Social security is nothing else than working for peace. If we are able to be even partially successful in our work, then we are also making our contribution to peace in the world.”

2016-11-14 00:00:00

Ten global challenges for social security

A groundbreaking report published by the ISSA spotlights ten of the most important global challenges that confront social security systems.

2019-02-01 00:00:00

Strengthening member relations

2019: Marcelo Abi-Ramia Caetano takes office as the new ISSA Secretary General.

2019-10-14 00:23:42

World Social Security Forum in Belgium

2019: Under the theme “Protecting people in a changing world”, the 5th World Social Security Forum (WSSF) becomes the biggest ever, with some 1300 registered participants from 150 countries and 380 organizations.


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