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SOCIAL ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION


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POVERTY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

On 24 October 1996 the State Duma adopted in first reading a Federal Law on the Minimum Income in the Russian Federation, which establishes the fundamental principles for determining the level of the minimum income and social support of the poorest families. The levels of minimum wages, pensions, allowances and benefits are regularly adjusted to the cost-of-living index. This most closely affects pensioners, children, the unemployed, and workers in establishments funded by the State budget.

In accordance with the Presidential Decree of 2 March 1992 on System of Minimum Consumer Budgets of the Russian Federation, the poverty level in the Russian Federation is measured by the level of the minimum income, which is defined as the lowest possible volume of personal consumption of essential goods and services.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available

Status 

In the period since 1992 the level of real monetary incomes has fallen by about 40 per cent, the purchasing power of wages has declined in comparison with the pre-reform period by a factor of two, and pensions by a factor of 2.5. The minimum levels of wages and pensions have lost their significance as the most important social indicators.

A specific feature of the present situation in Russia is that, in addition to the traditional socially vulnerable groups (families with many children and single-parent families, the chronically sick and pensioners), the poverty category now includes large new groups - the unemployed, workers with children, and workers in budget-financed branches of the economy, i.e. categories of the economically active population who are capable of ensuring and must independently ensure their essential living standards by their labour. The impoverishment of Russia's population manifests itself not only in general terms in the increase in the number of people with incomes below the minimum but also in the growth of extremely poor (indigent) groups among the poor.

On the instructions of the Government Council on Questions of Social Development, the Ministry of Social Security, together with the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of the Economy and the Ministry of Finance, prepared a report on Ways of Overcoming Poverty in the Russian Federation. By a decision of the Council it was proposed that ministries and offices and executive organs of members of the Russian Federation should prepare measures for participation in the International Year for the Eradication Poverty. Matters connected with the preparation and implementation of measures to solve this problem are under consideration in all of Russia's regions.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing 

No information is available

Cooperation

In conjunction with the World Bank, pilot programmes are to be implemented in 1997 in three regions of the Russian Federation on the introduction of targeted social support for the poorest families, with the aim of bringing per capita incomes in such families up to a level not lower than 50 per cent of the minimum income in the region of their permanent residence. This approach will later be extended to the whole of Russia.

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This information is based on Russia's's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997.

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DEMOGRAPHICS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of Labour and Social Development, in accordance with the decisions of the Parliament and Government, and on the basis of research conducted in Russia's largest centres of population, is developing and implementing measures for the achievement of the fundamental socio-demographic objectives, preparing annual reports on the status and trends of demographic development in the Russian Federation for the President and Government, and making proposals for the solution of the most pressing demographic problems.

An Inter-departmental Commission on Socio-demographic Questions, established by Governmental Decree No. 697 of 23 July 1993, is working on the formulation of an overall strategy for socio-demographic policy, the determination of priorities in the development and implementation of federal socio-demographic development programmes, and coordination of the activities of central federal executive organs, scientific organizations and regional inter-departmental commissions on questions of socio-demographic development. The Inter-departmental Commission is establishing working groups on the basic problems of the demographic development of the Russian Federation: human health, the death rate, migration from northern regions, refugees and forcibly displaced persons, etc.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.


Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

In accordance with the recommendations of the International Conference on Population and Development (Cairo, 1994), the Ministry of Labour and Social Development produced in 1995 a Concept of the Demographic Development of the Russian Federation, subsequently approved by the Government, which addresses the need for strategic programmes to counteract the crisis affecting the health of the population, with a view to increasing life expectancy and reducing the death rate and solving the problems of the birth rate and migration as the fundamental determinants of sustainable demographic development. In 1997 a Programme of Action to Resolve the Demographic Crisis in the Russian Federation is being elaborated for confirmation by the President or Government.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available

Programmes and Projects     

No information is available


Status 

In the early 1990s the demographic development of the Russian Federation entered a period of very acute crisis reflected in all demographic indicators. The total annual death rate for the previous 15 years rose by almost 50 per cent and the death rate among the economically active population by a factor of 1.6, with the male rate four times higher than the female. The current situation has arisen against a background of long-standing unfavourable demographic trends over more than 30 years. At the same time, the evolving tendency for constant deterioration in demographic processes has been intensified by the impact on the population of the country's socio-economic crisis and the decline in the living standards of a significant part of the population, which has been reflected in the health and life-expectancy indicators. Over the period 1965-1994 life expectancy in Russia fell by five years before rising slightly in 1995 (0.68 years for men and 0.52 for women). At present Russia's life expectancy indicators lag behind the average European figures by 11 years for men and five for women.

In 1991 Russia's overall birth rate fell to its lowest level in the post-war period, and it has continued to decline, reaching 1.34 in 1995. Russia is now among the European countries with the lowest birth rates. This lower birth rate has been influenced by the ongoing reforms in Russia and the general dynamics of the socio-economic and political situation in the country, but it is consistent with trends established earlier.

Despite a generally favourable increase in migration, the natural loss of population in Russia, which began in 1992, means that numbers have continued to decline: in 1996 the population totaled 147.5 million, as against 148.1 million in 1995.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing 

No information is available

Cooperation

Finance for demographic-related activities comes from the federal budget and the budgets of members of the Russian Federation, as well as the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). The Ministry of Labour and Social Development is acting as lead agency for the participation of the Russian Federation in UNFPA, UNICEF and the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research; it coordinates and plays its part in scientific research in the regions connected with their demographic development.

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This information is based on Russia's's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997

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HEALTH

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available 

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

A law on Medical Insurance of Citizens of the Russian Federation was adopted in 1991, and in 1993 a law was passed on Fundamental Legislation of the Russian Federation on the Protection of Human Health. In accordance with the health care priorities, eight special-purpose State programmes have been drawn up, with subprogrammes, including:

A number of bills on improvement of the protection of human health have been submitted to the State Duma. In 1996 the Federal Assembly adopted a law of the Russian Federation on Framework of State Regulation of Socio-Economic Development in the North of the Russian Federation. By 1998 the preparation of the following practical scientific federal programmes will be completed:

The period since 1992 has seen the adoption in Russia of key documents on the protection of mothers and children, documents which form the basis for State social policy on the protection, survival and development of mothers and children. The measures include:

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Actions regarding health in the Russian Federation are oriented toward the formulation of State policy for protection of human health and adoption of comprehensive measures to improve the performance of the branches of the health system. People's health always subtly and clearly reacts to and reflects the socio-economic and socio-political conditions in which they lives. Accordingly, on the basis of analysis of the country's medical and demographic situation, a State policy is being constructed for the protection of human health. The proportion of GDP spent on health remains small at 2.5 per cent.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available

Programmes and Projects 

No information is available

Status 

Over the past year the total death rate fell in the Russian Federation, and the birth rate continued to decline. The death rate among the population of working age is high in a number of regions of the country, and this is an important factor in the decline in life expectancy. The number of elderly persons is increasing, while the number of children and adolescents is decreasing. There is growth in the overall morbidity rate both among adults (psychological disturbances, tuberculosis, syphilis) and among children (diseases of respiratory organs). At the same time the indicators for controllable infections have declined.

In these circumstances the fundamental task of the Ministry of Health is to ensure the sustainable functioning of the health system and maintenance of the volume and standards of medical care. Despite the objective difficulties of the transitional period in Russia, it has proved possible to maintain the capacity of the health system with respect to personnel, materials and equipment, and scientific and industrial requirements. The organizational structure of institutions of curative and preventive medicine in urban and rural areas guarantees free access of all citizens to primary health care. Hospital facilities at the municipal, regional and federal levels provide every kind of specialized medical services. As in the past, great attention is given to prevention. The public health and epidemiological services continue to perform their functions.

In the past year work continued on reform of the health system, including administrative decentralization and adaptation of health institutions and enterprises to the new economic conditions. To this end measures have been carried out to effect a transition to compulsory personal medical insurance and to ensure the regulation of activities of institutions of curative and preventive medicine in the new circumstances, the use of general practitioners, and the introduction of modern methods of prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

One task of State-wide importance is the protection of workers and of the whole population by means of comprehensive programmes of environmental safety.

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies 

The scientific-industrial combine Medical-Social Problems, the Economy and Information Technology and a number of public health scientific research institutes are providing the Ministry of Health with expert scientific assessments of problems of protecting human health.

Financing   

No information is available

Cooperation

Cooperation has begun in the Russian-American commission on science and technology (the Gore-Chernomyrdin commission) on programmes to combat infectious diseases, health education, and improvement of human health.

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This information is based on Russia's's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997

To access the Health for All On-Line Database (WHO): Europe and CIS countries, click here:
Click here to go to the Health and health-related statistical information from the World Health Organization.

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EDUCATION

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

Public information on matters of sustainable development is provided under the leadership and coordination of the State Environmental Protection Committee.

The Ministry of General and Vocational Education of the Russian Federation has practically completed its work on a new generation of instructional materials that include, on a compulsory basis, questions relating to sustainable development of the Russian Federation. In some regions of the Russian Federation, in institutions providing basic and supplementary education, sustainable development centres (departments) have been established with a view to educating and providing information to the population at the regional level. This work is coordinated by an Inter-departmental Council on Public Environmental Education, which has been approved by the President.

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The Russian Federation's State Environmental Protection and Sustainable Development Strategy provides for the creation of an effective system of environmental education and the expansion of activities in the fields of information and education.

In accordance with the decision of the Government of the Russian Federation on measures to improve the environmental education of the population (1994), the Inter-Agency Commission for the Environmental Education of the Population prepared a draft federal target-oriented programme, entitled Environmental education of the population of the Russian Federation, which is currently in the approval stage.

Educational standards at all levels of education include the study of problems relating to the sustainable development of the Russian Federation and the international community. There is an established essential minimum of knowledge, skills and experience that each student must acquire at the respective level of the educational system. In the context of the emerging Concept of Russia's sustainable development, the system for promoting public awareness of matters of sustainable development is undergoing change. Teaching programmes have been created, textbooks are being produced, and arrangements are being made for the training of teachers in this subject.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status   

No information is available

Challenges  

No information is available

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

The problems of sustainabledevelopment are now regularly aired by the mass information media and are being extensively incorporated in further-education curricula. The State Committee of the Russian Federation for Environmental Protection is implementing a programme to support information and publishing activities in the field of environmental protection.

The "Water on Earth" competition of educational and research projects on the environment, which was the initiative of a public organization, the Association for Education in Chemistry, and supported by environmental protection agencies, was held in 1994 and 1995. In all, approximately 180 projects were entered in the competition. The competition was continued in a number of regions of the Russian Federation; for example, the Republic of Bashkortostan held the "Clean Water" competition, Dagestan held the "Life for Small Waters" competition, and Novosibirsk region held a competition of projects entitled "A Clean Ob River".

Public environmental organizations of the Russian Federation participate actively in the preparation and conduct of mass events devoted to the protection of water resources ("Clean Water", "Source", "Water Day" and others).

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies 

No information is available

Financing 

Funding for the work of re-educating the public in the problems of sustainable development is provided from the resources of the State budget and international programmes.

Cooperation  

No information is available

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This information is based on the Russian Federation's submission to the fifth and sixth sessions of the Commission on Sustainable Development. Last update: 31 July1998.

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HUMAN SETTLEMENTS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

No information is available

Decision Making: Legislation and Regulations 

In accordance with the Presidential Decree on a Comprehensive Programme of Measures on Job Creation and Preservation for 1996-2000, a general plan has been prepared for the creation of jobs in the light of the restructuring of the economy and social and regional policies. The Government has confirmed this general plan for changes in the settlement pattern (Protocol No. 31 of 15 December 1994). The indicators of this general settlement plan are reviewed and adjusted annually.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement

No information is available

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available

Status 

At present the development of a sustainable human settlement system in Russia is proceeding on the basis of the preservation of the existing basic settlement framework but with a reduction in the proportion of urban population due to a decline in the number of urban settlements. The inefficient employment system, especially in towns with a variety of industries, obstructs the establishment of a sustainable settlement system.

The proportion of urban population in Russia stands roughly at the average European level and is only slightly lower than in such countries as the United States and Japan. However the concentration of population in very large towns is noticeably lower, especially in comparison with the United States. In Russia there are 12 cities with populations of more than one million, two times fewer than in the United States, and the population of 10 of these cities is below two million. The process of dispersal of population from large cities is proceeding in Russia, despite the obstacles, with the introduction of the registration system and attempts to carry out a policy of limiting large-city growth.

There are plans for the further development of densely populated large and very large conurbations, with due attention given to considerations of human environmental safety and the priority development of transcontinental settlement along the St. Petersburg-Vladivostok axis.

In view of the need to improve the environmental situation in Russia, the existing settlements in areas of exceptional environmental conditions will be reorganized, and this will mean the relocation of population. Measures to improve the urban environment by means of new construction projects on the cleanest suburban sites envisage low-rise instead of high-rise building, the rehabilitation of land in industrial zones and centres, and the implementation of programmes to upgrade the environment. This will include the development of suburban zones for the construction of individual and collective housing, the use of local recreational possibilities, the establishment of a sustainable network of settlements, and the creation of model sustainable landscapes in the buffer zones of specially protected natural areas.

Special attention will be given to the environmental rehabilitation of urban land, suburban and recreational areas, rural settlements and open spaces between settlements, and to the creation on this basis of a congenial living environment; attention will also be given to the preservation of the historical traditions and authentic living environment of various ethnic and ethnic-cultural population groups, especially minority indigenous peoples, and to the establishment of federal or regional systems for the regulated use of nature (national parks and reserves).

Challenges

Currently the most urgent problems of sustainable human settlement are connected with the establishment of an efficient employment system; in addition the small towns have problems of social infrastructure and ensuring maximum satisfaction of social requirements. Principles for the establishment of an efficient employment system have been proposed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Development and the relevant federal executive organs and executive organs of members of the Russian Federation.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available

Information   

No information is available

Research and Technologies   

No information is available

Financing 

Funding for settlement activities comes from federal and local budgets and investments, including direct foreign investments, the Small Business Development Fund, and regional development funds.

Cooperation

With the support of the International Labour Organization the Ministry of Labour and Social Development held a conference on improvement of the employment system in the Russian Federation.

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This information is based on Russia's's submission to the 5th Session of the Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997.

For information related to human settlements and refugees, you may access the UNHCR Country Index by clicking here:


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