15 May - the International Day of Families

The International Day of Families, annually held on May 15, celebrates the importance of families and the work started during the International Year of Families established be the United Nations. 2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the International Year  and that makes this International Day very special. The theme of the Day today is "Families Matter for the Achievement of Development Goals - International Year of the Family + 20". A special event is held to commemorate the day in the UN Headquarters in New York.

The aim of the International Year was to raise awareness of the importance of families, promote knowledge of socio-economic and demographic trends affecting families and stimulate efforts to respond to challenges faced by families. Over the years, the international community has recognized the importance of families for the achievement of development goals. Families remain active agents of development and their numerous contributions to development deserve more recognition and support.

In preparation for the anniversary, the following major development themes  of importance to families and policy makers alike took centre stage:
- Confronting family poverty and social exclusion 
- Ensuring work-family balance
- Advancing social integration and intergenerational solidarity within families and communities

The Secretary General of the United Nations published the following message for the Day:

"As we commemorate this year’s International Day of Families, we recognize the meaningful contributions that families make to advancing the mission of the United Nations.

By providing economic and emotional sustenance to their members, families can raise productive, caring citizens committed to the common good. Strong, well-functioning families, whatever form they may take, can help reduce poverty, improve the wellbeing of mothers, promote gender equality and uphold human rights.

Support for families is crucial to realizing their full potential. That means factoring their needs into development policies, considering their circumstances in addressing conflicts, and advocating for the equal treatment of all families, regardless of their structure. As we strive to usher in a more sustainable future, achieve the Millennium Development Goals, shape a new development agenda and combat climate change, let us mobilize the world’s families.

On this International Day of Families, let us strive to strengthen these small but critical units found in every society so that we may advance as one human family toward greater progress."

A special publication, Family Futures has been published by Tudor Rose to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the International Year of the Family in 2014. It is a fully illustrated 200-page book with sixty authors relating their efforts in the three priority areas guiding the preparations for the 20th anniversary: confronting family poverty; ensuring work-family balance and advancing social integration and intergenerational solidarity. 
The authors include Heads of State, National Government Ministers, academics and civil society representatives. Their commentaries draw upon experiences around the world reflecting the importance of strengthening the role of the family in present and future societies. The book contains examples of family programmes in 74 separate countries. 

By focusing on different levels of society, but particularly the experiences and livelihoods of local communities in vulnerable human habitats, it projects the benefits of experience in improving the lives of families worldwide, and advance shared commitment to the importance of families as both agents and beneficiaries of sustainable development and their particular role in advancing social integration and intergenerational solidarity. In this latter respect, Family Futures amplifies and contributes to the international dialogue that is being created by the 20th Anniversary of the IYF. As an outreach publication it will be used to emphasize the role of families in sustainable human development and highlight the ongoing benefits that the Year has generated. The digital edition is available at http://digital.tudor-rose.co.uk/family-futures/

More information and background: material http://undesadspd.org/Family/InternationalObservances/InternationalDayofFamilies/2014.aspx

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