IT TAKES SMOOTH STRATEGY TO SEND RUSSIAN BIRTH RATES UP, SAYS DEMOGRAPHIC FORUM

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MOSCOW, October 19 (RIA Novosti's Olga Lipich) - A two-day ecclesiastical and public forum on the Russian demographic crisis finished in Moscow today. The gathering called the federal government to elaborate birth rate increasing strategies, with due account for the spiritual aspect of domesticity.

It is essential to blueprint and implement a long-term strategy for higher birth rates and smaller mortality in Russia-a strategy that will take into account the religious and moral aspects of national demographic development, the forum says in its final document.

The statement appeals to the government to add the population increase and life expectancy to the list of criteria on which the activities of federal and regional administrations are evaluated.

The forum calls to establish mortgage patterns for new housing accommodations, proceeding from the number of children in a household on the house-family-household plot formula.

Another appeal concerns support of family orphanages and orphan guardianship.

The forum made several requests to the Education Ministry-in particular, to guarantee affordable reproductive health services, set up a monitoring network for child and adolescent reproductive health, and determine patterns for adopting handicapped children within Russia.

As the conferees see it, the measures they have proposed require an ad hoc government agency that would elaborate and implement government demographic policies.

Parliament ought to blueprint a legislative programme that would promote such policies with due account for religious communities' stances on the matter.

The ecclesiastical and public forum sat, October 18-19, in the Church Council Hall of Moscow's Cathedral of Christ the Saviour under the motto, "The Religious and Ethical Bases of Russia's Demographic Development". Alexis II, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia-Primate of the Russian Orthodox Church, was chairing. The event gathered Mikhail Zurabov, federal Minister of Health and Social Development; members of the State Duma, parliament's lower house; regional governors, spokesmen of ministries and other federal offices, researchers and cultural activists.

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