Launch of the State of World Population 2007

Moscow, 27 June 2007 - On the occasion of the launch of UNFPA’s State of World Population Report 2007, entitled "Unleashing the Potential of Urban Growth", a press conference was held on 27 June 2007 at the RIA-Novosti news agency in Moscow. It was attended by journalists from 20 news outlets, along with interested experts and representatives from the European Commission and UN agencies.


Ms. Sietske Steneker, UNFPA Representative in the Russian Federation, launched the Report and provided a summary of its main messages concerning urbanization world-wide.

To attract greater interest from the media, and to ensure relevance also for Russian audiences, we had invited three Russian experts on urbanization to the launch: Ms. Zhanna Zayonchkovskaya, director of the Center of Migration Studies, Mr. Alexander Puzanov, general director of the Institute of Urban Economics, and Mr. Andrei Treyvish, lead expert of the Institute of Geography of the Russian Academy of Sciences. They provided comments and views that complemented the information contained in the Report.

Alexander Puzanov pointed out that: "Contrary to developing countries, which have a growing proportion of urban population, Russia is faced with its decrease, by more than 600 thousand in 2005." The experts stressed that, although rural to urban migration is no longer an issue for Russia, urban to urban migration is ongoing and that neglecting the challenges of urbanization could be hazardous for Russia’s future. Zhanna Zayonchkovskaya said: "Population will inevitably redistribute itself at the global level, and the authors of the UNFPA report call for more tolerant migration policies. We also need to be more tolerant to representatives of other cultures living in Russia. The fact that so many migrants wish to come to Moscow should be seen as a sign of the city’s economic health." Andrey Treyvish commented that "the problems that Moscow faces now are similar to those of other mega cities, like London and Paris. Like these cities, Moscow was simply never planned to cope with a large volume of traffic."

In addition to the press conference, we also distributed information about the State of World Population 2007 to a network of journalists working in 30 different regions of the Russian Federation.

News coverage was broad and plentiful. To date our office recorded articles from more than 53 sources, including web portals (Agency for Social Information, ASI;;;, news agencies (InterFax; Ria-Novosti; Itar-TASS; Russian News Service, RSN) and electronic and print versions of newspapers and magazines. Among them the national distribution news papers Kommersant, Rossiskaya Gazeta, Komsomolskaya Pravda and Argumenty i Facty, as well as the magazine Expert. Radio stations Echo Moskvy and Mayak also covered the Report.

Generally, the quality of the coverage was quite high, indicating that the journalists had made extensive use of the briefing materials provided by UNFPA. About 60 per cent of the Russian articles appeared to be based on the launch in Moscow (and presumably on the Russian language materials), whereas 40 per cent referred to the launch in New York.