Insufficient funding for children

The authors of
some research by UNICEF and the Audit Chamber of Russia into budgetary funding
for children concluded that not enough is spent on them. They found that the
main reason for this was the absence of a government programme for children. Elena
Ivanova from the Audit Chamber said they did not want simply to criticise the
figures identified in the budget,

as it was more
a matter of restructuring of budget spending. The Director of the Institute for
Budget Decisions, Aleksandr Kovalevsky, agreed with this view, but felt that
there was a need for careful strategic planning and supervision, since funds
are at present ineffectively spent. This point was confirmed by the research.
Only 26% of parents surveyed thought the system of support for families with
children works effectively. Existing practices contradict the Convention on
Rights of the Child, which Russia has ratified, the UNICEF representative in
Russia commented. According to Article 4 of the Convention, the state is
obliged to deploy all its resources to uphold the economic, social and cultural
rights of children. So when the budget is set, the needs of children – 18% of
the population of Russia – should not be forgotten.

The experts
analysed the structure of budget expenditure on education, children’s
healthcare, and social policy. They noted a reduction in the funding for
pre-school education, youth policy and healthcare. This was supported by official
statistical data and regional government accounts.

Most funding for
children comes from regional budgets. 
They spend more than 25% of their funds on children’s needs, while the
federal budget only spent 2% of its funds on social spending on families, women
and children in 2010. The federal budget is not at all geared to the needs of

The federal
budget adopted on 22 November by the Duma envisages reduced spending on
children over the coming three years. This comes on top of the fact that in
2009, less was spent than in 2007. This means that the regional governments
will have to allocate more funding to children than before just to provide the
same level of overall spending. The research documentation was sent to regional
ministries and authorities, governors, and to the Presidential Ombudsman
for  Children’s Rights, Pavel Astakhov.

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