Section of Public Health, Demography,
and Protection of Children, Youth and Family
The Section treated the topics of demography, public health, ecology and protection
of family and had about forty participants. Reports on demography, public health
and social policy were delivered, above all, by experts and scientists from
Hungary. A participant from Finland reported on related problems connected with
the forthcoming population census in the Russian Federation in 1999. Reports
on environment protection were presented by delegates from the Komi, Udmurt
and Mari republics, as well as from Hungary and Estonia. The discussion covered
a wide range of problems and was as many-sided as those topics. The participants
made it quite clear that the questions of demography, family and economy are
closely interconnected, which must be well understood to successfully manage
these problems. In some Finno-Ugric territories, the problems of environment
protection are difficult and complex to a degree of threatening the health of
local people, particularly pregnant women and children, and thus posing a threat
to survival of the indigenous population.
Therefore it is vital for the indigenous population to have an
influence over the use of natural resources in their living space. A point was
made during the discussion that for a family to exist and effectively pass the
Finno-Ugric heritage to its younger generation, protection of family and a corresponding
family policy are essential. The range of discussed problems also revealed that
the shared heritage common to Finno-Ugric peoples it not limited to linguistic
relationship only but, in the post-communist period, most Finno-Ugric peoples
face the same problems.
The importance of co-operation was stressed by almost all speakers.
It was noted that to co-ordinately study environmental, health, social and demographic
problems there is a need for co-operation between scientists, institutes of
higher education, public institutions and non-governmental organisations. Ministries
responsible for these spheres must also co-operate in finding solutions by rendering
information and data exchange and by establishing databanks. Those peoples who
have had advanced structures to start with might now support others who are
busily building them. These structures include statistical offices and research
institutions in demography, ecology and economy, as well as agencies for protection
of family, children and youth and for rendering public health service. In particular,
the exchange of scientific information should be improved in the spheres of
health service and demography. In the area of public health, it is not enough
to operate with average figures; instead, the data must be provided on separate
nationalities, indigenous populations and ethnic minorities. As an example it
was pointed at the corresponding UN Economic Commission programme: this should
be extended on Finno-Ugric peoples of the Russian Federation. Experts in Finland,
Estonia and Hungary have already obtained their results under this programme.
To map the relationship between the state of health and the conditions of ecology
in the Finno-Ugric areas where such studies have not yet been conducted, a programme
of interviewing on public health must be started along with other programmes
aimed to evaluate the present situation. If our efforts to attain appropriate
life standards for youth are to ensure good physical and spiritual health of
the new generation and to achieve that every youngster develops as a fully able
person, data on the quality of habitation are also of importance.
The Section makes a suggestion to bring the methodology in agreement
and to adopt the relevant proposals and recommendations introduced by the European
Union and international organisations. The Section finds it important that the
population census to be carried out in the Russian Federation in the end of
the millennium complies with European practices and meets the expectations in
regard to minorities1. As a methodological solution we
propose that Finno-Ugric peoples be counted in population censuses in all parts
and corners of the world where they are settled. We propose the Consultative
Committee to find an organisational form to accomplish this, thus assisting
the various partners engaged in this work. Scientific co-operation among Finno-Ugric
peoples in the relevant spheres must be extended to the international scale
as well, including the activities of relevant agencies and institutions of the
United Nations and the European Union.
It is essential to have development and funding programmes specifically
intended for Finno-Ugric co-operation. We propose that Finno-Ugric peoples assist
each other in gaining access to the relevant development and funding programmes,
domestic as well as international. The three independent states with Finno-Ugric
languages speaking populations are already actors in the international co-operation
in many aspects.
We hope that the Finno-Ugric peoples would take all this into
account and would spare their attention to the issues outlined herein when acting
on the international arena.
Secretary of the Section
Source: 2nd World Congress of Finno-Ugric Peoples.
Budapest, 1996 [Debrecen, 1999], pp. 218–220.