Following the Ulyanovsk Demographic Summit (September 12), which was also a WCF regional event, the World Congress of Families and the Ministry of Labor and Social Development of the Russian Region of Ulyanovsk signed a historic “Protocol of Intent,” pledging to work together to support the family and provide solutions to Russia’s well-below replacement fertility rate.
The Ulyanovsk region has a population of approximately 1,382,000. Its capital lies 555 miles east of Moscow, along the Volga River.
TUnder the pioneering leadership of Governor Sergey Morozov, the regional government has undertaken important steps to strengthen the family and improve the demographic situation. Between 2005 and 2011, the number of births in the region increased 19.5%, marriages increased 24% and abortions declined by 40.5%.
Among other programs to raise the region’s birth rate, Governor Morozov has increased financial support for families with children, assigned land for housing construction to large families and introduced a regional standard of financial support for pregnant women.
Ulyanovsk is also the first regional government in Russia to host a demographic summit.
Speakers at the Summit included Governor Morozov, World Congress of Families Communications Director Don Feder (who also signed the protocol for WCF), Alexey Komov (WCF Representative in Russia and the CIS), John Mueller (of the DC-based Ethics and Public Policy Center, a WCF Partner), and Pavel Parfentiev of the “Family Policy.ru” Advocacy Group. Komov and Parfentiev also signed the protocol on behalf of their respective organizations.
Feder commented: “This is the first time World Congress of Families has agreed to work directly with a Russian regional government to increase fertility and strengthen the natural family – the essential building block of society.”
World Congress of Families Managing Director Larry Jacobs said: “We are grateful for the vision of Governor Morozov, who was presented with a WCF International Leadership Award in the course of the Summit. The Governor told us he wants the Demographic Summit to be an annual event and we look forward to working closely with him to make that a reality. Government institutions can’t solve the social and demographic problems alone. But, good government policies and programs can encourage the involvement of religious, business, media, entertainment and cultural leaders who can affirm and defend the natural family restoring a prosperous, stable, and free society.”
Komov was also the coordinator of the World Congress of Families Moscow Demographic Summit at the Russian State Social University, June 29-30, 2011, the first international gathering devoted exclusively to examining the challenge of rapidly falling fertility worldwide, and which attracted more than 500 demographers, economists, scientists, physicians, and political and religious figures.
The Madrid Declaration of World Congress of Families VI (May 25-27, 2012), provides in part: “Human aging and depopulation are the true demographic dangers facing the earth in this new century. Our societies need more people, not fewer.”
Go to www.worldcongress.org for the text of the Protocol signed by World Congress of Families and the Ulyanovsk regional government.
For more information on the World Congress of Families, go to www.worldcongress.org. World Congress of Families VII: Happy Families, Healthy Economy will be in Sydney, Australia, May 15-18, 2013, www.worldcongress.com.au. World Congress of Families VIII is planned for The Kremlin Conference Center in Moscow in 2014. For information on pro-family activities in Russia, go to www.FamilyPolicy.ru.