International Day of Families reminder that families are the foundation of society

International Day Of Families
International Day Of Families

CAPE TOWN: The family is the bedrock and foundation of prosperous nations, various experts have alluded to this fact.

Indeed great and prosperous nations overwhelmingly have stable and united families.

While poor and struggling nations turn to have more broken and dysfunctional families.

These and other factors led to the birth of the International Day of Families which is observed on May 15 every year.

The Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 with resolution A/RES/47/237 and reflects the importance the international community attaches to families.

The International Day provides an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families and to increase knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting families.

Urbanization is one of the most important megatrends shaping our world and the life and wellbeing of families worldwide.

Sustainable urbanization is related to the achievement of several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets, such as SDG-1 (Poverty eradication); SDG-3 (Good health and well-being); SDG-11 (Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable); and SDG-10 (Reduce inequality within and among countries). These SDGs and their targets depend on how well urbanization is managed towards benefitting families and enhancing the well-being of all generations living in cities.

This year’s theme, “Families and Urbanization”, aims to raise awareness on the importance of sustainable, family-friendly urban policies.

Preparations for the thirtieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family, 2024 (IYF+30), have been centering on megatrends and their impact on families. The focus on selected megatrends, including technological change, migration, urbanization, demographic and climate change, aims to facilitate the analysis of their impacts on family life and to recommend responsive family-oriented policies in order to harness the positive aspects of those trends and counteract their negative facets.

Every year, the UN secretary-general announces a theme for the International Day of Families.

2022 – “Families and Urbanization”; 2021 – “Families and New Technologies”; 2020 – “Families in Development: Copenhagen & Beijing + 25”; 2019 – “Families and Climate Action: Focus on SDG 13”

2018 – “Families and inclusive societies”; 2017 – “Families, education and well-being”; 2016 – “Families, healthy lives and sustainable future”; 2015 – “Men in charge? Gender equality and children’s rights in contemporary families”; 2014 – “Families Matter for the Achievement of Development Goals; International Year of the Family + 20”; 2013 – “Advancing Social Integration and Intergenerational Solidarity”; 2012 – “Ensuring work family balance”; 2011 – “Confronting Family Poverty and Social Exclusion”; 2010 – “The impact of migration on families around the world”; 2009 – “Mothers and Families: Challenges in a Changing World”; 2008 – “Fathers and Families: Responsibilities and Challenges”.

Earlier on other themes included 2007 – “Families and Persons with Disabilities”; 2006 – “Changing Families: Challenges and Opportunities”; 2005 – “HIV/AIDS and Family Well-being”; 2004 – “The Tenth Anniversary of the International Year of the Family: A Framework for Action”; 2003 – “Preparations for the observance of the Tenth Anniversary of the International Year of the Family in 2004”; 2002 – “Families and Ageing: Opportunities and Challenges”; 2001 – “Families and Volunteers: Building Social Cohesion “; 2000 – “Families: Agents and Beneficiaries of Development”; 1999 – “Families for all ages”; 1998 – “Families: Educators and Providers of Human Rights”; 1997 – “Building Families Based on Partnership”; and 1996 – “Families: First Victims of Poverty and Homelessness”.

Background to the May 15 emerged during the 1980’s, when the United Nations (UN) began focusing attention on 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.

Accroding to the UNIn 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.

Moreover, 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 General Assembly proclaimed The International Year of the Family.

And in 1993, the General Assembly decided in a resolution (A/RES/47/237) that 15 May of every year should be observed as The International Day of Families. 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.

Moving forward, a case must be made for governments, civil society, the Church and other organs of society to invest and promote the development of the family unit as the basis for Nation Building.

In that, policies for bringing about Family First & Family Re-Unions must come to life.

Family Businesses, Family Co-operatives & Family Meetings and Prayers need to be the order of the day in fixing our world.

Thandisizwe Mgudlwa has been a journalist for more than 20 years. He is a multi award winning journalist, best selling author of the kid’s book, Kiddies World. He is also a Committee Member of Phandulwazi Educational & Development Centre in LANGA, Cape Town.

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