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United Nations

2016 International Day of Families

   
   
     

Theme: Families, healthy lives and sustainable future

   

BACKGROUND

The central goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development focus on ending poverty, promoting shared economic prosperity, social development and people’s well-being while protecting the environment.

Families remain at the centre of social life ensuring the well-being of their members, educating and socializing children and youth and caring for young and old. From a policy perspective, taking families into account in the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals has a potential to speed up the achievements of many targets relating to individuals’ well-being.

A number of family policies, such as those supporting the caregiving role of families, work-family balance for parents, empowering families to support their individual members’ health, education and well-being, have been found to contribute to overall development goals. Still, a broad range of family policies enacted at national levels and relating to different facets of family life have an often untapped potential to further contribute to the achievement of many national development goals.

In particular, family-oriented policies can contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals 1 to 5 relating to doing away with poverty and hunger; ensuring healthy lives and promoting of well-being for all ages; ensuring educational opportunities throughout the lifespan and achieving gender equality.

HISTORY OF OBSERVANCE

During the 1980's, the United Nations began focusing attention on the issues related to the family. In 1983, based on the recommendations of the Economic and Social Council, the Commission for Social Development in its resolution on the Role of the family in the development process (1983/23) requested the Secretary-General to enhance awareness among decision makers and the public of the problems and needs of the family, as well as of effective ways of meeting those needs.

In its resolution 1985/29 of 29 May 1985 the Council Invited the General Assembly to consider the possibility of including in the provisional agenda of its forty-first session an item entitled “Families in the development process”, with a view to consider a request to the Secretary-General to initiate a process of development of global awareness of the issues involved, directed towards Governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and public opinion.

Later, based on the recommendations of the Commission for Social Development formulated in its 30th round of sessions, The Assembly invited all States to make their views known concerning the possible proclamation of an international year of the family and to offer their comments and proposals.

The Council also requested the Secretary-General to submit to the General Assembly at its forty-third session a comprehensive report, based on the comments and proposals of Member States on the possible proclamation of such a year and other ways and means to improve the position and well-being of the family and intensify international co-operation as part of global efforts to advance social progress and development.

In its resolution 44/82 of 9 December 1989, The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed The International Year of the Family. In proclaiming the Year, the General Assembly decided that the major activities for its observance should be concentrated at the local, regional and national levels, assisted by the United Nations system.

The United Nations Commission for Social Development was designated as the preparatory body and the Economic and Social Council as the coordinating body for the Year.

In 1994, General Assembly Resolution A/RES/47/237 proclaimed The International Day of Families, which is observed on the 15th of May every year. This day provides an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families and to increase the knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting families.

SECRETARY-GENERAL'S MESSAGE FOR 2016

This year’s International Day of Families falls at a time of upheaval and tragedy for families around the world. The rise of violent extremism, the effects of forced displacement, extreme weather events and other challenges are taking a heavy toll on the health and integrity of families in crisis situations. Even in relatively stable societies, families still struggle with violence, discrimination and poverty.

Families are on the frontlines of our global efforts to realize the bold and inclusive 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. They are particularly essential to achieving SDG3, in which all United Nations Member States committed to promoting healthy lives and wellbeing for all at all ages.

Children thrive when they receive love as well as healthcare, education and other basics. During the sensitive time of adolescence, young people need emotional support along with reproductive health information and services. Young lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people suffer much higher suicide rates than the general population, making their safety and acceptance a matter of public health.

In many societies, women and girls experience discrimination and violence within the family, which can have serious and lifelong effects on their health and wellbeing. Family life is also crucial to the health of older people, who stay active and healthy when their contributions are appreciated in the family and community.

Governments must support the crucial role of families in all their diverse forms. They should provide access to reproductive health services so that parents can decide on the timing and size of their families. Maternal healthcare and paternal leave are also vital to enable parents to give their newborns the best possible start in life.

I call on governments, businesses, institutions and other partners to recognize that caregiving is an essential part of family life. Everyone needs care from family members at some point in their lives – and all should be able to provide that care when the need arises.

Promoting supportive family environments and positive parenting through policies and laws can help families raise healthy, happy children who can grow into valued, productive adults.

Leaving no one behind means leaving no family behind.

On this International Day of Families, let us resolve to advance sustainable development by creating a supportive environment where all family members of all ages can realize their potential to contribute to our world.

Ban Ki-moon

The theme of this year’s observance of the International Day of Families focuses on Sustainable Development Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages.

Presentations
  • The Effects of Involved Fatherhood on Families, and How Fathers can be Supported both at the Workplace and in the Home by Scott Behson & Nathan Robbins
  • Families, Parents and Youth Well-being by Rosario Esteinou
  • Safe and Supportive Family Environments and Children’s Well-being by Daryl Higgins
  • Work-family Balance and Health Outcomes by Zitha Mokomane
  • Families, Intergenerational Transfers and Well-being of Older Adults by Wendy Wang
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Source: https://www.un.org/development/desa/family/international-day-of-families/2016idf.html  
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