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With Russian support, UNFPA assists Belarus in developing new population policy

9 December 2014
UNFPA Regional Director Heimo Laakkonen (left) and Russian Ambassador Alexander Surikov sign an agreement on providing assistance to Belarus in improving population policies, Minsk, 3 December 2014. (Photo: UNFPA Belarus)

MINSK – The Director of UNFPA’s Regional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Heimo Laakkonen, and the Ambassador of the Russian Federation to Belarus, Alexander Surikov, signed an agreement on 3 December 2014 on providing assistance to the Belarusian authorities in implementing the country’s national demographic security programme.

“We aim to strengthen the authorities’ capacity to develop and implement population policies and progammes, thereby contributing to socioeconomic development and improving the quality of life in Belarus,” Laakkonen said.

He welcomed the Russian Federation’s significant contribution to the project, and more broadly the country’s emergence as an important donor in the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region.

“This is the first time that, globally, a non-traditional donor has financially supported a non-humanitarian UNFPA-led project outside its own borders,” Laakkonen said.      

Under the agreement, the Russian Federation will cover USD900,000 of the total project costs of USD1.14 million, while UNFPA will contribute USD180,000. The remaining USD60,000 will be provided by UNICEF. The collaboration between the Russian Federation, Belarus and UNFPA goes far beyond the financial contribution as key ministries as well as leading scientific and educational institutions of the Russian Federation will also make available their expertise and knowledge on population policy development.

The project will be implemented together with the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of Belarus and UNICEF. It will provide support for developing a new population policy, enhancing capacities for data collection, analysis and dissemination, and improving systems for the monitoring and evaluation of the population policy’s effectiveness. The project will also focus on improving demographic education in universities and among relevant civil servants.