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4 Apr 2019

UNFPA hails Belarus’ efforts to boost birth rate, family support measures

UNFPA hails Belarus’ efforts to boost birth rate, family support measures
Andrei Dapkiunas and Natalia Kanem. Photo courtesy of Belarus' Ministry of Foreign Affairs

MINSK, 4 April (BelTA) – The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) hails Belarus’ efforts to increase birth rate and also its family support measures. The statement was made at a meeting between Belarus’ Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrei Dapkiunas and UN Under-Secretary-General, UNFPA Executive Director Natalia Kanem in New York on 3 April, BelTA learned from the press service of the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Andrei Dapkiunas noted that the Belarusian government attaches great significance to demographic security. These issues are under the control of the president of Belarus. The deputy minister informed the UNFPA executive director about the efforts that the Belarusian government undertakes to increase the birth rate in the country and support families, especially large ones. Andrei Dapkiunas assured that Belarus is ready to be a catalyst for these issues in the region. He also told her about the forthcoming population census in Belarus in October, which is important to develop effective strategies in demography and sustainable development.

The deputy minister praised UNFPA’s country and regional activities and also spoke about joint initiatives implemented in Belarus. Natalia Kanem welcomed the Belarusian government’s interest in improving the demographic situation in the country. She also commended Belarus for efforts to stimulate fertility and family support, emphasizing the country's exemplary role in the region. Natalia Kanem advocated the continuation of Belarus’ active work on UNFPA topics. Andrei Dapkiunas invited her to visit Belarus to discuss ways of further interaction of the country with UNFPA.

The parties also discussed the forthcoming visit of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to Belarus.

UNFPA is the United Nations body of population sustainable development, which assists countries in addressing demographic issues. The fund came to Belarus in 1994. The current UNFPA country program is based on the following national priorities: population and development, reproductive health and gender equality.

At the invitation of UNFPA, Belarus presented the results of the regional review in the field of population and development at the thematic session of the 52nd meeting of the UN Commission on Population and Development, and also participated in the thematic discussion organized by Belarus, Bulgaria, Tunisia, Japan, UNFPA and UNECE “Policy options for low fertility: Choices and prosperity” which took place on the sidelines of the 52nd session of the UN Commission on Population and Development.

The deputy minister briefed participants on the main directions of the national demographic policy on solving key demographic challenges such as population aging and low fertility. He drew attention to the tremendous efforts that are being made in the country to support families with children and stimulate fertility. Andrei Dapkiunas stressed that work had been started to adjust the state demographic policy until 2020 with a focus on supporting families with children.

Belarus is working on an Active Longevity Strategy which is designed to improve the quality of life of the elderly and also to help them be effectively involved in society. The deputy minister stressed that today every seventh Belarusian is over 65 years old.

On the sidelines of the 52nd session of the United Nations Commission on Population and Development, the deputy minister also met with UNFPA Regional Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia Alanna Armitage.

On the same day, the deputy minister took part in a thematic event dedicated to the World Autism Awareness Day, organized at the UN Headquarters on initiative of Belarus, Bangladesh, India, Italy, Qatar, Oman, Republic of Korea, and the United States in cooperation with international non-governmental organization «Autism Speaks».

The event was attended by Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Coordination and Inter-Agency Affairs Maria Spatolisano, representatives of World Health Organization, UNICEF, and specialized NGOs. In his speech, Belarus’ deputy minister of foreign affairs emphasized the urgency of the problem of autism in the world. Andrei Dapkiunas stressed the need for targeted and comprehensive support for families raising children with autism as a key element in building a truly inclusive society.

The deputy minister said it is necessary to strengthen partnerships with specialized NGOs assisting in adaptation and integration of children with autism into society. Andrei Dapkiunas also drew attention to the joint project of the Belarusian organization “Children. Autism. Parents” and Aleksandra Gerasimenya’s Swimming Club aimed at swimming therapy for children with autism. The Belarusian diplomat called upon stakeholders to support the project.

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