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INTEGRATION. 1999 Summer; (60):29.Largely due to the country's prevailing socioeconomic conditions, the Russian Federation is experiencing complex problems developing its population policies. Since the mid-1990s, Russia's population has decreased, working-age men suffer high rates of mortality, there is below replacement-level fertility, the health of Russian citizens has deteriorated, and STDs are spreading fast. Falling life expectancy and the marked aging of the population and labor force are causing considerable concern. However, despite these challenging conditions, the Russian Federation has been working toward achieving the consensus reached at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). Implementation since 1994 of Presidential Program activities has led to a 33% reduction in the number of abortions in Russia and a 20% decrease in maternal mortality caused by abortions. Some educational programs for adolescents and youth are also under way. The government of the Russian Federation considers international cooperation in population issues to be an important activity which complements domestic policies and actions. International support needs to be mobilized in support of Russian reforms related to social and population issues.
The impact of economic and political reform on the status of women in Eastern Europe. Proceedings of a United Nations regional seminar, Vienna, 8-12 April 1991.
New York, New York, United Nations, 1992. iii, 106 p. (ST/CSDHA/19)This report includes papers presented at the Regional Seminar on the Impact of Economic and Political Reform on the State of Women in Eastern Europe and the USSR in 1991. This seminar was the first opportunity for discussion of the impact on women's status at the UN level. Participants included members from government institutions and international organizations, as well as scholars. The seminar aimed to make the reform process smoother and more effective, and to identify gender factors involved in the reform process, the steps needed to ensure the full force of "woman power," innovative forms of international cooperation across national and regional boundaries, and networking of individuals in a common cause. The working papers included topics on women's roles in making reforms successful, the role and task of national efforts for advancing women during the socioeconomic reform process, and comparative analysis of women's industrial participation during the transition from centrally planned economies to market ones. Specific papers on the present conditions of women and their status were presented for Albania, Bulgaria, Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Ukraine, USSR, and Yugoslavia. The transition requires management expertise that women may not have acquired. The lack of strong women's groups contributes to the low priority given to women's concerns during the transition. The private sector, international nongovernmental organizations, and national governments each have roles in supporting women's entrepreneurship.
WORLD WATCH. 1990 Sep-Oct; 3(5):29-34.In the early 1950s, the Soviet Union and several of its Eastern European satellites completed their transition from high to low fertility before the US and Western Europe. They did this even though there were not enough modern contraceptives available to meet the needs of its citizens. As late as 1990, the Soviet Union had no factories manufacturing modern contraceptives. A gynecologist in Poland described domestically produced oral contraceptives (OCs) as being good for horses, but not for humans. The Romanian government under Ceaucescu banned all contraceptives and safe abortion services. Therefore, women relied on abortion as their principal means of birth control, even in Catholic Poland. The legal abortion rates in the Soviet Union and Romania stood at 100/1000 (1985) and 91/1000 (1987) as compared to 18/1000 in Denmark and 13/1000 in France. All too often these abortion were prohibited and occurred under unsafe conditions giving rise to complications and death. Further, the lack of contraceptives in the region precipitated and increase in AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. On the other hand, abortion rates were minimalized in Czechoslovakia, East Germany, and Hungary due to the availability of modern contraceptives and reproductive health services. Hungary and East Germany even manufactured OCs. OC use in these 2 nations rated as among the world's highest. East Germany also treated infertility and sexually transmitted diseases. The region experienced a political opening in latecomer 1989. In 1989, IPPF gave approximately 15 million condoms and 3000 monthly OC packets to the Soviet Union to ease the transition. More international assistance for contraceptive supplies and equipment and training to modernize abortion practices is necessary.
BACKGROUND NOTES. 1989 Apr; 1-8.Yugoslavia lies along the east coast of the Adriatic Sea opposite Italy. The South Slav groups and 17 minority groups joined in 1918 to form this nation with the greatest ethnic and religious diversity in Eastern Europe. In 1948, due to displeasure with Yugoslav leader's, Tito, insistence on independence, Stalin expelled Yugoslavia from Cominform. The US and its Western allies therefore contributed economic and military assistance to help Yugoslavia remain independent. The federal government consists of the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. Yugoslavia continues to follow a pragmatic Marxist policy, unlike other Marxist countries. For example, certain basic rights are recognized and protected, citizens may travel abroad freely, churches are open, and private property rights are respected, e.g. 84% of all farmland is privately owned. This moderated policy also guides the nation to establish friendly relations with most countries, regardless of sociopolitical systems. Even though only political party is allowed to operate, the League of Communists, it permits open expressions of differences on some major policy issues, unlike the Soviet style 1 party system of the recent past. In the 1950s, Yugoslavia switched from a highly centralized economic system to a decentralized, more market oriented system. In addition, during the mid 1960s, the federal government handed economic and political authority over to the 6 republics and 2 autonomous provinces. Rapid inflation, significant unemployment, and severe balance-of-payment and debt pressures plague the nation, however. Yugoslavia tries to maintain a balance in trade relations with Western nations, the socialist bloc, and with developing countries. The US is Yugoslavia's 4th leading trading partner. US policy on Yugoslavia is based on strong and continuing support for Yugoslavia's independence, unity, and territorial integrity and respect for Yugoslavia's nonalignment.
BACKGROUND NOTES. 1987 Sep; 1-8.The Kingdom of Belgium which borders on the nations of France, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and the Federal Republic of Germany, is one of the smallest European countries and is a parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarch. The branches of its government are the executive (with a king, a prime minister, and a Council of Ministers), the legislative (a bicameral Parliament and various regional and cultural assemblies), and the judicial (a Court of Cassation modelled on the French system). 30% of Belgium's gross national product comes from machinery, iron and steel, coal, textiles, chemicals, and glass. During the 80 year period which preceded WWI, Belgium remained neutral in an era of intra-European wars until German troops overran the country during their attack on France in 1914. Some of the worst battles of that war were fought in Belgium. Again in 1940, Belgium was occupied by the Germans. There was a government-in-exile in London; however the King remained in Belgium during the war. The course of Belgian politics was determined largely by the division of the Belgian people into 2 major language groups--the Dutch speakers and French speakers. Regional and language rivalries are taken into account in all important national decisions. The 3 major political parties representing the main ideological tendencies are the Socialists, the Socialist Christians, and the Liberals. Belgium is one of the most open economies in the world and is a densely populated, highly industrialized country in the midst of a highly industrialized region. An economic austerity program was instituted at the beginning of this decade which included devaluation of the Belgian franc, reduction of government expenditures, a partial price freeze, etc. Improvements have been seen as a result of this program. Although US investment has declined in recent years, total US direct investment is estimated at $5.28 billion and there are 899 US companies currently operating in Belgium. As a member of NATO, Belgium's armed forces are part of the NATO integrated military structure. Belgium is a proponent of close cooperation with the US and they seek improved East-West relations. In this vein, Belgium works closely with the US both bilaterally and multilaterally to liberalize trade, and to foster economic and political cooperation and assistance to developing countries.