United Nations

A/52/57


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

6 January 1997

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH


                                                     A/52/57
                                                     E/1997/4
                                                     


GENERAL ASSEMBLY                                  ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL COUNCIL 
Fifty-second session                              Substantive session of 1997 
                                                  Geneva, 30 June-25 July 1997


                SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT, INCLUDING QUESTIONS RELATING TO
                THE WORLD SOCIAL SITUATION AND TO YOUTH, AGEING,
                        DISABLED PERSONS AND THE FAMILY

                       International Year of the Family

                        Report of the Secretary-General


                                   CONTENTS

                                                              Paragraphs Page

 I.   INTRODUCTION .........................................     1 - 2     3

II.   SUMMARY AND SUGGESTIONS ..............................     3 - 11    3

III.  COMMON CORE THEMES WITHIN THE FAMILY-SPECIFIC 
      PROVISIONS OF THE GLOBAL CONFERENCES OF THE 1990s ....    12 - 47    5

      A. Human rights .....................................     13 - 19    6

      B. Strengthening families ...........................     20 - 26    7

      C. Situation and needs of the child .................     27 - 33    9

      D. Advancement of women .............................     34 - 40   10

      E. Poverty eradication ..............................     41 - 47   12

 IV.  FOLLOW-UP ACTIVITIES TO THE INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF THE
      FAMILY ...............................................    48 - 90   13

      A. National level ...................................     48 - 69   13

      B. Regional level ...................................     70 - 73   16

      C. International level ..............................     74 - 90   16

 V.   SECRETARIAT ACTIVITIES RELATING TO THE FOLLOW-UP TO 
      THE INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF THE FAMILY .................    91 - 101  19


                               I.  INTRODUCTION


1.   The General Assembly, in its resolution 50/142 of 21 December 1995,
requested the Secretary-General to report to at its fifty-second session,
through the Commission for Social Development and the Economic and Social
Council, on the progress made on the follow-up to the International Year of
the Family, taking into account the promotion of integrated reporting.  It
also requested the Secretary-General to prepare a comprehensive document
containing the family-related provisions from the outcome of the World Summit
for Children, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development,
the World Conference on Human Rights, the International Conference on
Population and Development, the World Summit for Social Development, the
Fourth World Conference on Women and the United Nations Conference on Human
Settlements (Habitat II) to be submitted to the Commission for Social
Development at its thirty-fifth session.

2.   The present report provides an analysis of the family-related provisions
from the outcome of the above-cited conferences, describes follow-up
activities to the International Year of the Family at all levels and contains
specific proposals for follow-up action by the Secretariat.


II.  SUMMARY AND SUGGESTIONS

3.   The international community, in its search for a new integrated approach
to development, organized a number of international conferences in the 1990s. 
These included the World Summit for Children, which adopted the World
Declaration on the Survival, Protection and Development of Children and the
Plan of Action for Implementing the World Declaration; 1/ the United Nations
Conference on Environment and Development, which adopted Agenda 21; 2/ the
World Conference on Human Rights, which adopted the Vienna Declaration and
Programme of Action; 3/ the International Conference on Population and
Development, which adopted the Programme of Action on Population and
Development; 4/ the World Summit for Social Development, which adopted the
Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action; 5/ the Fourth World Conference
on Women, which adopted the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action; 6/
and Habitat II, which adopted the Istanbul Declaration and Habitat Agenda. 7/ 
Each agenda, plan or programme of action contained recommendations and
provisions related to family issues which were seen as integral components of
development. 

4.   The conferences reflect the growing consensus in the global community on
the integrated, holistic nature of economic and social progress and
development.  While each conference has a distinct focus, all are part of a
shared perception of development which entails recognition of the importance
of sustainable development, a special focus on the human person as the agent
and beneficiary of development, and an emphasis on empowerment, participation
and inclusiveness.   Moreover, the new approach to development, which places
people at the centre, also introduces the notion of "cross-cutting issues" in
development.

5.   In discussing family issues, the conferences start from the premise that
the family is the basic unit of society and the vortex of concerns for
sustainable development.  The conferences reinforce the interrelationship
between family well-being and sustainable development, particularly by
encouraging actions directed to integrating a family-sensitive approach to
development strategies and recognizing that the family is entitled to the
widest possible protection and support.  

6.   Agreed human rights instruments are seen as important guides to improve
family legislation, develop or reinforce family policy or establish
institutions or administrative practices to support families.  The conferences
also reveal that the concept of human rights is relevant to the family at
several levels: (a) the individual■s right to have a family (e.g.,
reproductive rights); (b) the individual's rights within the family (e.g.,
rights of children and women); and (c) the family's rights with reference to
its environment (e.g., vis-a`-vis the State).  

7.   The core theme, strengthening families, is common to all conferences. 
All address the challenge that family needs are met, that the institution of
the family is strengthened, and that the stability of the family is promoted
through the empowerment of families.  Multifaceted and intersectoral efforts
to support families and provide programmes to protect them are suggested.  All
conferences stress the need for intra-familial as well as public family
support systems.  The conferences make specific references to family-sensitive
policies and family support systems, such as flexible working hours, part-time
employment, work-sharing, public or publicly subsidized child care, parental
leave, social security, disability benefits and assistance to families to care
for dependants, and family welfare. 

8.   Particular attention to the protection of children is underlined.  The
Rio, Cairo and Copenhagen conferences reaffirmed the agenda for children.  The
Vienna Conference urged universal ratification of the Convention on the Rights
of the Child by 1995.  All conferences stressed that every child has the right
to be nurtured and protected by its family and that families and society must
work together to improve the situation and protect the rights of all children,
particularly those in especially difficult circumstances, for example children
in areas of armed conflict, children who lack adequate family support, urban
street children, abandoned children, children with disabilities, children
addicted to narcotic drugs, and the girl child.  All children must have access
to food, shelter, education and health care.

9.   The empowerment of women is another common core theme.  The conferences
point out that women and men must have equal rights, opportunities and access
to resources, and must share equally responsibilities within the family.  The
concept of gender equality, stressed by the conferences, was essential if
families were to be at the centre of social development.  The conferences
noted that among the most demanding daily aspects of life for many families,
especially single-parent and female-headed families, is finding a balance
between work and familial responsibilities.  They call for a true partnership
between men and women in family life and recommend actions such as enacting
and enforcing legal and policy measures to forbid discriminatory practices
against women and the girl child, ratifying the Convention on the Elimination
of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights
of the Child, eliminating gender-based discrimination before the law (notably
with respect to legal provisions for inheritance, marriage, child custody and
property ownership), and developing employment policies that enable both male
and female workers to achieve a satisfactory balance between work and
promoting responsible fatherhood.

10.  The eradication of poverty is another common core theme.  The
conferences emphasize the need to better understand the causes of poverty and
place poverty eradication as a central development priority.  Various
references were made to the fact that poverty is the main cause of social
exclusion, and in almost all societies it threatens the ability of families to
meet the needs of their members.  Poverty permeates all aspects of family life
and poor families bear a particularly large burden.  The conferences recommend
in this context, the adoption of policies that strengthen the family and
contribute to its stability.

11.  To summarize, the major significance of the global conferences to family
issues and the subsequent attention to the family dimension in development
efforts is the new emphasis placed on implementing and translating increased
awareness into tangible measures.  In this connection, pursuant to General
Assembly resolution 50/142, the following recommendations are made in the
spirit of the decisions of the conferences, as well as the objectives of the
International Year of the Family:

     (a) Governments are encouraged to consider developing family-impact
assessments in their development activities and to formulate, implement and
evaluate family-sensitive policies, programmes and strategies in accordance
with the objectives implicit in the International Year of the Family.  This
would necessitate establishing or strengthening appropriate national
mechanisms in respect of families; 

     (b) In view of the multisectoral nature of the family topic, and the
need to promote the integrated treatment of social development issues, the
elaboration of family-sensitive policies and programmes should receive
appropriate attention in the framework of the agenda of the Commission for
Social Development, in particular during the period 1997-2000;

     (c) The activities of the focal point in the United Nations system to
promote family issues at all levels, as successor to the secretariat of the
International Year of the Family, should concentrate on issues related to the
implementation of family-related provisions of the international declarations
and plans of action of the global conferences of the 1990s.  


        III.  COMMON CORE THEMES WITHIN THE FAMILY-SPECIFIC PROVISIONS
              OF THE GLOBAL CONFERENCES OF THE 1990s            

12.  The conferences covered a broad array of family-related issues.  These
may be summarized under five core themes:  human rights; strengthening
families; situation and needs of the child; advancement of women; and poverty
eradication.

                               A.  Human rights

13.  The World Summit for Children attached great importance to the family
and to the family's responsibility for caring for the child and for creating
conditions conducive to the enjoyment of his or her rights.  The Plan of
Action describes an adequate family environment as the only appropriate
context for the survival, protection and development of the child.  The World
Declaration and Plan of Action 1/ adopted by the World Summit for Children
urge all Governments to promote the earliest possible ratification of the
Convention on the Rights of the Child.

14.  The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development 8/ proclaimed the
"right to development" as a means of equitably meeting developmental and
environmental needs of present and future generations.  It was noted, in
Agenda 21, 2/ that actions are needed to contribute to the promotion of
sustainable livelihoods and environmental protection.  Such actions would
focus on the areas of education, shelter, health care and the advancement of
women.  Specific reference is made to the relevant provisions of international
instruments such as the World Declaration on the Survival, Protection and
Development of Children and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of
Discrimination against Women.  Also, Agenda 21 proposed that Governments
consider adopting, strengthening and enforcing legislation prohibiting
violence against women and implementing measures and programmes on the issues
of responsible parenthood.

15.  The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action 3/ reaffirmed basic
principles governing international human rights activities, set out specific
goals on a wide number of areas and identified various methods to achieve
them.  The Programme of Action adopted an integrated approach to the promotion
and protection of all human rights.  Its importance lies in its protection of
individual members of families and in advocating the positive role families
could play in the promotion and protection of human rights.  

16.  The Cairo Programme of Action, 4/ in chapter 5 entitled "The family, its
roles, rights, composition and structure", focuses on the promotion of
equality of opportunity for family members, especially the rights of children
and women in the family.  It calls on Governments to eliminate all forms of
coercion and discrimination in policies and programmes.  The reproductive
rights of couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number,
spacing and timing of their children is posed as central to government- and
community-supported policies and programmes.  Moreover, legislation and other
measures are recommended to assist vulnerable families.

17.  In the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action, 5/ it is
acknowledged that the family plays a key role in social development and, as
such, should be strengthened, with attention to the rights, capabilities and
responsibilities of its members.  Both call for creating an economic,
political, social, cultural and legal environment that will enable people to
achieve social development.  Both call for fostering societies based on the
promotion and protection of all human rights.  The Programme of Action urges
Governments to promote attitudes, structures, policies, laws and practices
which eliminate inequality in the family.

18.  The advancement of human rights within the family, equal rights and
responsibilities of individual members of families, gender equality, the role
of the father and protection and development of children are issues of central
significance to the specific targets set forth in the Platform for Action 9/
adopted by the Fourth World Conference on Women.  The human rights of women is
a strategic objective of the Platform, which contains specific reference to
reproductive rights of women, and freedom from discrimination, coercion and
violence.  The Platform suggests, inter alia, that in addressing the enjoyment
of human rights, Governments should promote a policy of mainstreaming a gender
perspective in all policies and programmes.  The Beijing Declaration 10/
reaffirms the international community's commitment to ensuring the full
implementation of the human rights of women and of the girl child.

19.  The Istanbul Declaration and the Habitat Agenda 7/ focus on adequate
shelter for all as a basic human right.  The Istanbul Declaration 11/
reaffirms two basic commitments:  a better standard of living and the full
realization of the right to adequate housing, as provided for in international
instruments.  The Habitat Agenda 12/ proclaims that all persons have the right
to an adequate standard of living for themselves and their families, including
adequate food, clothing, housing, water and sanitation and the continuous
improvement of living conditions.  Furthermore, the Habitat Agenda states that
the family is entitled to receive comprehensive protection and that the
rights, capabilities and responsibilities of family members must be respected.
Society should facilitate its integration, reunification, preservation,
improvement and protection within adequate shelter and with access to basic
services. 


                          B.  Strengthening families

20.  The World Summit for Children discussed the family's changing capacity
and competence, its strength and weaknesses, its nurturing role and its role
as an agent of change.  The World Declaration and the Plan of Action 1/
recognize that strengthening families is achieved by strengthening the role
and status of women, providing universal access to basic education and
literacy, including completion of primary education or equivalent learning
achievement, reducing the current disparities between boys and girls, reducing
adult illiteracy, increasing female literacy, vocational training and
preparation for employment and increased acquisition of knowledge, skills and
values through all educational channels, including modern and traditional
communication media, to improve the quality of life of children and families.

21.  The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development highlighted
the close relationship between the environment and development, and between
the patterns of behaviour and attitudes of different segments of society -
including the family - and sustainable development.  It highlighted the role
of households in achieving the goals of sustainability.  In the context of
addressing demographic dynamics and sustainability, it made recommendations
relating to family welfare, family credit schemes, the responsible planning of
family size and responsible parenthood. 2/

22.  The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action 3/ underline the role of
the legal and legislative domain to strengthen communities and families. 
Particular reference is made to:  (a) strengthening both national and
international mechanisms and programmes to this end; (b) urging the early
ratification of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its effective
implementation; and (c) the importance of human rights education programmes.  

23.  The Programme of Action adopted by the International Conference on
Population and Development 4/ reaffirmed that the family is the nucleus of
society, with the right to be protected by society and the State.  It called
for support to the most vulnerable families, and the formulation of family-
sensitive policies in such areas as health, education, employment, housing and
social security.  It further stressed the importance of closing the gender gap
in primary and secondary education, reducing maternal mortality rates and
providing access to reproductive health.

24.  The Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action 5/ recognized the
family as the basic unit of society and acknowledged that it plays a key role
in social development and as such should be strengthened.  Within the
commitments of Copenhagen, four policy areas to strengthen the family were
identified: policies that ensure that all people have adequate economic and
social protection during unemployment, ill health, maternity, child rearing,
widowhood, disability and old age; policies that enable people to combine
their paid work with their family responsibilities; institutions that enhance
social integration, recognizing the central role of the family; promoting
changes in attitudes, structures, policies, laws and practices to eliminate
all obstacles to equality in the family as well as promoting equal partnership
between women and men in family and community life. 

25.  In the Beijing Declaration, 10/ the World Conference voiced its
conviction that equal rights, opportunities and access to resources, equal
sharing of responsibilities for the family by men and women and a harmonious
relationship between them are critical to family well-being.  The Platform for
Action 9/ calls upon Governments to:  (a) adopt policies to ensure the
appropriate protection of labour laws and social security benefits; (b)
promote career development based on work conditions that harmonize work and
family responsibilities; (c) enact family-sensitive legislation; (d) design
and provide educational programmes to raise awareness on gender equality; (e)
integrate gender perspectives in legislation, public policies, programmes and
projects; (f) strengthen the role of the family in improving the status of the
girl child by formulating national policies and programmes to help the family
in its supporting, educating and nurturing roles; and (g) educate parents and
care givers to treat girls and boys equally and to ensure shared
responsibilities between them.

26.  In the Habitat Agenda, 12/ it is underlined that the family is the basic
unit of society and as such should be strengthened and is entitled to receive
comprehensive protection and support.  Human settlements planning should take
into account the constructive role of the family in the design, development
and management of such settlements.  Society should facilitate, as
appropriate, all necessary conditions for the family's integration,
reunification, preservation, improvement and protection within adequate
shelter and with access to basic services and a sustainable livelihood.  In
this regard, the Habitat Agenda contains numerous suggestions for action, such
as ensuring legal protection from discrimination in access to shelter and
basic services; helping the family in its supporting, educating and nurturing
roles; and encouraging social and economic policies that are designed to meet
the housing needs of families and their individual members.


                     C.  Situation and needs of the child

27.  The World Summit for Children discussed the family's changing capacity
and competence, its strengths and weaknesses, its nurturing role and its role
as an agent of change.  The strategic importance of families in the survival,
development and protection of children is underlined, notably with respect to
the role of families in socialization, education, protection and the
intergenerational transmission of culture and values.  The Plan of Action 1/
calls for giving children the chance to find their identity and realize their
worth in a safe and supportive environment, through families and other care
givers committed to their welfare.

28.  Agenda 21, 2/ noting that health and development are intimately
interconnected and, urging Governments to meet the basic health needs of
children, identified the family as having a primary role in protecting
children.  Governments are urged, inter alia, to ratify the Convention on the
Rights of the Child; promote primary environmental care activities that
address the basic needs of children and the community; and improve the
environment for children at the household level.

29.  The importance of the Vienna Declaration lies in its emphasis on the
protection of individual members of families and the positive role families
can play in the promotion and protection of human rights.  The Programme of
Action 3/ notes that the family merits broader protection in order to provide
an adequate environment for the full and harmonious development of children. 
Special importance is also given to protecting the rights of the girl child
and of children in especially difficult circumstances. 

30.  The Cairo Programme of Action 4/ contains a number of quantitative goals
in the field of education, health, reproductive health and family planning,
including the following:  access to primary education; closing the gender gap
in primary and secondary education; reducing infant mortality rates; reducing
maternal mortality rates; access to reproductive health and meeting family
planning needs.  It stresses that the widest possible protection and
assistance should be accorded to the family, as it is responsible for the care
and education of dependent children.

31.  The Copenhagen Programme of Action 13/ contains numerous references to
the child and the family.  It calls for addressing the needs of children in
especially difficult circumstances and protecting them by, inter alia,
promoting family stability and providing mutual support; promoting social
support including good quality child care and working conditions that allow
both parents to reconcile parenthood with working life; and supporting and
involving family organizations in community activities.

32.  The Beijing Platform for Action 9/ underlines the conditions of the girl
child and calls for action to be taken to eliminate all forms of
discrimination against her.  The education of parents, the protection by
family members of the rights of the girl child and the need for support
services to families are emphasized.  The Platform for Action calls upon
Governments to strengthen the role of the family in improving the status of
the girl child by formulating appropriate family-friendly policies and
programmes and providing an environment conducive to the strengthening of the
family.

33.  It is noted, in the Habitat Agenda, 12/ that human beings are at the
centre of concern for sustainable development and that all persons have the
right to an adequate standard of living for themselves and their families.  In
this context, it proposes the provision of shelter and of basic services and
facilities for the education and health care of children who are survivors of
family violence.  The Habitat Agenda reaffirms and is guided, as appropriate,
by the Convention on the Rights of the Child.


                           D.  Advancement of women

34.  The Plan of Action 1/ adopted by the World Summit for Children focuses on
strengthening the role and status of women by promoting responsible planning
of family size, child spacing, breastfeeding and safe motherhood.  Another
area of concern is the lack of access of girls and women to basic education
and literacy.  The Plan of Action calls for increased acquisition of
knowledge, skills and values, through all educational channels, to improve the
quality of life of families.

35.  Agenda 21 2/ stresses the necessity of active participation and
involvement of women in its implementation.  It devotes a chapter to women and
sustainable development and calls for a global strategy to eliminate
political, legal, cultural, social and economic obstacles to women■s full
participation in sustainable development.  In its advocacy of achieving
equality in all aspects of society, Agenda 21 touches upon the need for
responsible planning of family size and services, responsible parenthood,
programmes to promote the reduction of the heavy workload at home, the sharing
of household tasks by men and women on an equal basis, programmes to support
and strengthen equal employment opportunities, and adequate support systems,
including parental leave.

36.  In the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, 3/ Governments and
institutions were urged to intensify their efforts for the protection and
promotion of the human rights of women.  The Programme of Action gave special
importance to the integration of the status and human rights of women and to
strengthening the protection of women's rights.  It reaffirmed, on the basis
of equality between men and women, a woman■s right to accessible and adequate
health care and the widest range of family planning services, as well as equal
access to education at all levels.  In this regard, families have a major role
to play, particularly in creating a suitable environment and by promoting the
respect, learning and practice of basic human rights.

37.  The Cairo Programme of Action 4/ highlights the necessity of gender
equality in the family.  It calls for equal participation of women and men in
family responsibilities - family planning, child-rearing and housework.  It
underlines the imperative of empowering girls and women as a means of
achieving sustainable development.  Closer attention to single-parent
families, especially those headed by women, was encouraged.  The Programme of
Action recognized the need to integrate family planning activities into the
broader context of reproductive health.  It reaffirmed the basic human right
of all couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number and
spacing of their children.

38.  In the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action, 5/ it was noted
that women carry a disproportionate share of the problems attendant to
poverty, social disintegration and unemployment.  It was also recognized that
empowering women to strengthen their own capacities was a main objective of
development and a principal resource to that end.  In discussing the goals of
full employment, eradicating poverty and ensuring social integration, the
Copenhagen Declaration highlighted the role of women.  This was particularly
emphasized by commitment 5/, which underlined the need to promote full respect
for human dignity and to achieving equality and equity between women and men,
and to enhance the participation and leadership roles of women in political,
civil, economic, social and cultural life and in development.  The Programme
of Action stresses such measures as promoting changes in attitudes,
structures, policies, laws and practices relating to equality in the family
and in society, and promoting full and equal access by women to literacy
education, training and health services.

39.  The Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action 6/ highlighted the
fact that women play a critical role in the family, and set targets for
women's full participation in economic and political decision-making,
examining inequality between the sexes as a human rights issue, and
intensifying international efforts to eliminate all forms of discrimination
and violence against women.  The Declaration and the Platform focused, inter
alia, on poverty and women; unequal access to and inadequate health-care
services and education opportunities; violence against women and lack of
awareness of, and commitment to, internationally and nationally recognized
women's rights.

40.  Both the Habitat Agenda and the Istanbul Declaration 7/ noted that the
quality of life and the activities of all human beings within human
settlements are closely interrelated with population change, demographic
patterns, including growth, structure and distribution of population, and
development variables such as education, health and nutrition, the levels of
use of natural resources, the state of the environment and the pace and
quality of economic and social development.  In their advocacy of a cross-
sectoral approach to policy development, particular attention was paid to the
promotion of gender perspectives.  Consequently, in recognition of the salient
role women play in integrated human settlement planning and development, the
Habitat Agenda underscored a variety of national-level actions such as
removing barriers and eradicating discrimination in the provision of shelter,
facilitating land and security of tenure for women, promoting mechanisms for
the protection of widowed women, and ensuring the full participation of women
in all decision-making processes, with particular regard to women in poverty.


                            E.  Poverty eradication

41.  A major focus of the Declaration and the Plan of Action adopted by the
World Summit for Children is child survival, protection and development. 
Children living in poverty were cited, particularly children forced into
hazardous labour when family income and purchasing power cannot provide for
their needs.  The need for a global attack on poverty, which would have
benefits for the welfare of children and their families, particularly in
developing and least developed countries, was stressed.  The Plan of Action
provides specific actions directed at alleviating poverty in the areas of
health, nutrition and education.

42.  Agenda 21 describes poverty as a "complex multidimensional problem".  It
notes that the eradication of poverty and hunger, greater equity in income
distribution and human resources development remain major challenges.  It
calls for an anti-poverty strategy which focuses on resources, production and
people and covers demographic issues, enhanced health care and education, the
rights of women, empowering women and communities, and provision of services
and access to credit to poor families.

43.  The Vienna Programme of Action recognized the mutually reinforcing
interrelationship between democracy, development and respect for human rights
and focused attention on the impact of extreme poverty and exclusion on the
enjoyment of human rights and the need for action to eliminate them.  The
Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action recognized that widespread extreme
poverty inhibits the full and effective enjoyment of human rights and urged
its immediate alleviation as a high priority for the international community. 
The need to protect families, because of the central role that they play in
achieving the full and harmonious development of their individual members,
particularly children, was also highlighted.

44.  The Cairo Programme of Action, in chapter 5 entitled "The family, its
roles, rights, composition and structure", identifies poverty as one cause of
great strain on the family.  It notes the existence of an increasing number of
vulnerable families and calls for necessary support and protection of the
family, including the formulation of family-sensitive policies in the fields
of housing, work, health, social security and education.

45.  The concept of poverty developed in the Copenhagen Declaration and
Programme of Action is broad:  it includes inadequate income, lack of access
to education, health care and other amenities, and exclusion from
participation in the life of the community.  The Programme of Action
emphasizes the need to focus efforts on the elimination of hunger and
malnutrition, as well as on the provision of food security, education,
employment and livelihood, and primary health-care services, including
reproductive health care.  Special priority is to be given to women and
children, who often bear the greatest burden of poverty.  It recommends that
overall economic and social policies and programmes should be examined with
respect, inter alia, to their impact on family well-being.

46.  The Beijing Platform for Action describes poverty as having various
manifestations, including lack of income and productive resources sufficient
to ensure a sustainable livelihood; hunger and malnutrition; ill health;
limited or lack of access to education and other basic services; increasing
morbidity and mortality from illness; homelessness and inadequate housing;
unsafe environments; social discrimination and exclusion; and lack of
participation in decision-making and in civil, social and cultural life.  In
addition, the Platform for Action identifies the feminization of poverty as
well as the poverty of low-wage workers and people who fall outside family
support systems as significant problems in many countries.  The Platform for
Action underlines the need to improve the effectiveness of anti-poverty
programmes directed towards the poorest and most disadvantaged groups of women
and stressed that any strategy for eradicating poverty necessitates a gender
perspective.

47.  The Habitat Agenda draws attention to the relationship between equitable
human settlements, poverty eradication and strengthening the family as the
basic unit of society.  The Istanbul Declaration and the Agenda reaffirm the
commitment to the right to adequate housing, covering such issues as legal
security of tenure, protection from discrimination and equal access to
affordable and adequate housing for all.


                  IV.  FOLLOW-UP ACTIVITIES TO THE INTERNATIONAL
                       YEAR OF THE FAMILY

                              A.  National level

48.  Since 1994, follow-up activities in many countries have been
increasingly based on international standards, notably the International
Covenants on Human Rights, 14/ the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms
of Discrimination against Women, 15/ and the Convention on the Rights of the
Child. 16/  Various countries have ensured that relevant national laws and
administrative procedures reflect the reality of diverse forms of families.

49.  Responsibility for family issues in many countries was combined with, or
subsumed by, ministries responsible for children, women or social welfare
questions.  A number of Governments have established special mechanisms, such
as ministries, departments or committees on the family, to promote effective
national action.  These include Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Austria,
Belarus, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cyprus, Ecuador,
Egypt, Germany, Ghana, Italy, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Luxembourg,
Malaysia, Malta, Mauritius, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, the
Philippines, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia,
Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Uruguay, Venezuela and Zaire.

50.  In Antigua and Barbuda, the Government is focusing on the unemployment
situation in the country and its effects on families.  Also, an education
programme in financial management for family survival is under way. 

51.  The Austrian Federal Ministry of Environment, Youth and Family
established the Austrian Institute for Family Research to improve conditions
of family life and to promote international cooperation on family research. 
The Federal Ministry also initiated the Austrian Visitors■ Programme for
Studying Exemplary Family Benefits and Family Services, which offers an
opportunity for representatives of developing countries to study family issues
and programmes in Austria for one week.

52.  The Government of Belarus has enacted legislation concerning State
allowances to families with children and on the rights of the child.  A new
Family Code was reviewed by the Supreme Council and a National Action Plan for
the Advancement of Women for the period 1996-2000 was adopted.  A Department
for Family and Gender Problems was established within the Social Welfare
Ministry in 1995.

53.  The Institute of Family Welfare within the Ministry of Health of
Colombia celebrated the "month of the family" between the second Sunday of May
and the second Sunday of June.  The Institute organized, in October 1996, an
International Seminar on Family and Development in the Twenty-first Century.

54.  Follow-up activities undertaken by the Government of Cyprus included the
following:  a two-week seminar on domestic violence, in cooperation with
non-governmental organizations; the observance of 15 May in 1995 and 1996 as
the International Day of Families; publicity, studies and academic lectures on
family issues; and the establishment of a Permanent Family Committee.

55.  The Ministry of Social Affairs and the Inter-ministerial Child Committee
of Denmark have focused on ensuring an improved balance between work and
family life.  In 1996, the Government set aside 175 million Danish kroner to
assist families with children experiencing a crisis situation.

56.  The Government of Fiji recently ratified the Convention on the Rights of
the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
against Women.  A draft National Action Plan on the Family is under review. 
The theme for 1995, which was the silver jubilee of Fiji's independence, was
"The family, Fiji's hope".  A Family and Population Activities Centre was
established to assist non-governmental organizations in integrating family
issues into their programmes. 

57.  In Finland, the Ministries of Labour and Social Affairs and Health, in
collaboration with the European Social Foundation, have launched a research
and development project on combining work and family life, to be completed by
1999.  Legislation in 1996 secured the right to municipal day-care centres for
all families with children under school-age. 

58.  In Ghana, an Intersectoral National Planning Committee, under the
auspices of the Ministry of Employment and Social Welfare, was set up to plan
and implement family programmes.

59.  The Government of Malaysia formulated a National Action Plan for
Malaysian Families.  Also, family issues are emphasized in the Seventh
Malaysia Plan (1996-2000).

60.  In Malta, the Ministry for Social Development created the Family Study
and Research Commission.  A survey was carried out to determine the actual
state of Maltese families, with a view to setting future policies.

61.  In New Zealand, the Department of Social Welfare initiated a Social
Services Strategy for 1995-2005, emphasizing the family.  In addition, the
following initiatives are envisaged:  an Institute of Family Studies to
conduct research and provide information; a Policy Unit to monitor policy
proposals and their impact on families; an Office of the Commissioner for the
Family and Children; and the development of New Zealand Family Day into an
annual event. 

62.  In the Philippines, a Presidential Executive Order in 1995 created the
Steering Committee for the Proper Observance of Family Week (the fourth Sunday
of September).  Sixteen regional consultations were conducted to monitor the
Plan of Action for the Filipino Family.  Among the activities to celebrate
Family Week is the yearly search for outstanding Filipino families who have
demonstrated family values in their daily lives.  The Steering Committee has
decided to adopt an anti-pornography programme.

63.  In Portugal, the High Commission on the Promotion of Equality and of the
Family in 1996, organized meetings, disseminated family guidelines and
provided financial and technical assistance to various family-related
non-governmental organizations.  In addition, research on the family, as well
as legislation on strengthening the family, has been initiated.  In 1995,
Parliament approved a resolution underlining the vital role of the family and
its right to protection.  The Department for Family Affairs, created in 1982,
is charged with its implementation.

64.  The Government of Sao Tome and Principe is focusing on family law and
has undertaken studies on families.  It has created centres for children of
working parents and initiated television and radio programmes on family
education.

65.  In Singapore, a family-values public education information package to
help low-income families has been widely disseminated.  Since 1995, family-
life education programmes have been carried out.  The Ministry of Community
Development, which runs the Family Development Division and the Family Support
Division, has initiated campaigns, a national Family Day, exhibitions and
similar events.

66.  In South Africa, a draft White Paper for Social Welfare, emphasizing the
family, was initiated in 1996.  A National Programme of Action for South
African Families, Children and Youth is also being developed as part of the
Five-Year Social Welfare Action Plan.  Moreover, programmes to combat family
violence and to celebrate National Family Day on 8 April are priorities.

67.  In Thailand, the National Committee on the Family was established within
the National Commission on Women■s Affairs.  During 1995-1996, the Committee
formulated the Ten-Year Policies and Plans for the Development of the Family. 
It also financed local family support activities in the provinces, reviewed
family-related laws and organized two seminars on family issues in 1995 and
1996.

68.  During 1995-1996, the Government of Tunisia established a Ministry of
Women's and Family Affairs, declared 11 December National Family Day, and
created a National Council of Women.

69.  In Venezuela, the Ministry of the Family has assisted non-governmental
organizations and community-based groups to participate in social programmes
concerned with families.  It revised and adopted relevant legislation, and
strengthened mechanisms of follow-up to and evaluation of family programmes
and policies.


                              B.  Regional level

70.  The Economic Commission for Africa organized a one-day workshop to
celebrate the International Day of Families, on 15 May 1995.  The workshop
heard lectures on the situation of displaced families in Ethiopia, gender
relations in Ethiopian families and family health.  In 1996, ECA organized a
Seminar on the AIDS Pandemic and its Implications for Human Development and
Utilization in Africa.

71.  In 1996, the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia created a
database on policies and measures having impact on women and the family in the
region and an annotated bibliography on Arab women and the family.  In
addition, a survey of female-headed households in the region is planned to
investigate the concept of the feminization of poverty for Arab women.

72.  During 1995-1996, the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the
Pacific has undertaken projects on the Enhancement of social security for the
poor, and on lifelong preparation for old age.  The Social Development
Newsletter, published twice yearly, regularly disseminates information on
family-related subjects.  ESCAP has initiated a project entitled
"Strengthening the role of the family in providing social protection to its
vulnerable members, including older persons" to assist Governments in the
region to elaborate family-sensitive policies and programmes.

73.  The Economic Commission for Europe coordinates a region-wide comparative
research project on fertility and family surveys to generate relevant
information on the composition and origin of current families, distribution of
various household tasks, the break-up of families, and selected family values
and attitudes.  A second round of fertility and family surveys is planned for
the year 2000.


                            C.  International level

                 1.  United Nations organizations and agencies

74.  The United Nations International Drug Control Programme (UNDCP) has
prepared plans of action for inclusion in the revised System-wide Action Plan
on Drug Abuse Control, in which the family is a resource in the process of
prevention, treatment and rehabilitation.  The family is also reflected in the
plans on gender and drug abuse; children and youth in especially difficult
circumstances; drug abuse in the workplace; and drug abuse prevention in the
school environment.  Technical cooperation activities target young people who
are at high risk of drug abuse, and focus on the family has been integrated in
this process.  UNDCP has undertaken activities that stress women as drug
abusers, as family members of drug abusers and as agents of prevention and
change.

75.  During 1995-1996, numerous projects and activities of the Food and
Agriculture Organization of the United Nations were aimed at improving family
well-being.  Particular focus was on the preparation of the World Food Summit,
held in Rome from 13 to 17 November 1996, which addressed food security and
the right of all people to the access of nutritionally adequate and safe food.

76.  Follow-up activities of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization consisted of establishing pilot projects with both the
former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Albania, celebrating the
International Day of Families with the Paris Non-governmental Committee on the
Family, a conference on family policy, and the publication of an article
entitled "Supporting family responsibility for the rights of the child:  an
educational viewpoint".

77.  The International Labour Organization emphasized promoting measures that
would enable workers to perform their jobs and care for their families.  A
booklet entitled "Equal opportunities and equal treatment for workers with
family responsibilities" featured the principles and requirements of the
Workers with Family Responsibilities Convention (No. 156).  


                   2.  Other intergovernmental organizations

78.  In 1995, the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) initiated
an ongoing study project on the family entitled "A study on the feasibility of
an ASEAN mechanism on child and family development".

79.  The European Commission and the Council of Europe, in collaboration with
the International Catholic Child Bureau, initiated a three-year project,
"European Consortium", on education in communication between adults and
children.


                      3.  Non-governmental organizations

80.  The non-governmental sector has continued its partnership role. 
International, regional and national non-governmental organizations continued
their activities in the promotion of the principles and objectives of the
Year, organizing meetings or seminars on family issues, and conducting
training, research and studies on family issues.

81.  The International Union of Family Organizations has organized various
meetings related to Habitat II and the International Year for the Eradication
of Poverty (1996).  In December 1996, an International Conference on Family
Policies was organized in Quebec, Canada.

82.  The Vienna Non-governmental Organization Committee on the Family
initiated a Plan of Action for 1995-1997 and a draft Framework for Future
Action for 1996-1997, and published the newsletter Families International. 
The Committee organized a seminar on integrating the family in social progress
and development on 11 and 12 November 1996 at Vienna.

83.  The Confederation of Family Organizations in the European Community
(COFACE) organized its Fourth European Family Conference, with the theme
"Social policy - burden or support for the European economy" at Dublin on 21
and 22 November 1996.  The Conferences are held every three years.  Another
current priority of COFACE is to have family policy integrated into the
European Union Treaty.  

84.  The New York Non-governmental Organization Committee on the Family has
expended efforts to ensure that the family - and particularly its essential
role - is reflected in the outcomes of the global conferences of the 1990s. 
Its programme for 1996-1997 focuses on advocacy and promotional activities.

85.  In addition, the following international and regional non-governmental
organizations have informed the Secretariat of their active participation and
involvement in follow-up activities:  Baha'i International Community, Caritas
International, Foundation for the Rights of the Family - International
Secretariat (PRODEFA), International Association of Lions Clubs - Lions Club
International, International Catholic Child Bureau, International Federation
for Home Economics, International Federation for Parent Education,
International Federation of Social Workers, International Movement ATD Fourth
World, International Round Table for the Advancement of Counselling, Rotary
International, Service and Research Foundation of Asia on Family and Culture,
SOS - Kinderdorf International, Centre for Family Studies, Family Service
America, Institute Henry-Dunant, National Research and Development Centre for
Welfare and Health, Pro Familia, Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population
and Development.


                    4.  Research and academic institutions

86.  During 1995-1996, the Australian Institute of Family Studies revised and
expanded its International Directory of International Year of the Family
Research Activities and has made it available on the Internet.  The Institute
plans to continue to develop its World Wide Web site as a focus for family
research and policy information.

87.  The Vanier Institute of the Family undertook projects and partnership
development activities such as a statistical overview of family data, a
Canadian family data service, the expansion of its Partnership Development
Programme and dissemination of its publication Transition.

88.  In 1995-1996, the Tata Institute of Social Sciences published a book
entitled Indian Bibliographies on the Family, funded by the Indian Ministry of
Welfare.  It also published special issues on the family in The Indian Journal
of Social Work as well as in a government report entitled India's Commitment
to Family Well-Being:  A Report to the People.

89.  The Centre for Family Friendly Cities of the University of Akron, Ohio,
United States of America, created an interactive communications network on the
World Wide Web designed to store, search and retrieve information on,
inter alia, family relationships, sexuality and reproduction, special problems
and risk factors, family counselling and education, cultural social and urban
issues, basic needs, leisure and entertainment, consumption and sustainable
development and work.

90.  The International Family Policy Forum, based in Montreal, was founded in
1995 as a consortium that involves Governments, non-governmental organizations
and research and academic institutions.  It aims to facilitate international
cooperation in the area of family concerns and encourages the participation of
partners in projects and activities identified by its Board of Directors.


               V.  SECRETARIAT ACTIVITIES RELATING TO THE FOLLOW-UP
                   TO THE INTERNATIONAL YEAR OF THE FAMILY

91.  Activities relating to the follow-up to the International Year of the
Family have been integrated into the work programme of the Division for Social
Policy and Development of the Department for Policy Coordination and
Sustainable Development, which is guided by the long-term objectives implicit
in the decisions taken regarding families in the context of the Year and
within the framework of the family-related provisions of the recent global
conferences.

92.  Pursuant to General Assembly resolution 50/142, the Voluntary Fund for
the International Year of the Family was renamed the United Nations Trust Fund
on Family Activities.  Assistance continues to be provided to activities and
projects of direct benefit to families, particularly in developing and least
developed countries.  The Secretariat continued the substantive management of
the Fund by reviewing requests from Governments and non-governmental
organizations for funding, preparing funding recommendations and monitoring
and evaluating projects.  The resources of the Fund at the end of 1996 were
estimated to be about US$ 360,000.

93.  The Division for Social Policy and Development initiated actions for the
worldwide observance of the International Day of Families (15 May) by
preparing background information on the family for use by Governments, United
Nations agencies and bodies, including the regional commissions and United
Nations information centres, and non-governmental organizations.  A message by
the Secretary-General was prepared for wide distribution in 1996 and again in
1997.  The 1996 International Day of Families was observed in many countries,
by Governments, 17/ United Nations agencies and bodies, 18/ non-governmental
organizations 19/ and numerous educational institutions.  Many countries have
been planning events for 1997.

94.  In its efforts to promote and strengthen international cooperation on
family issues, the Secretariat signed a memorandum of understanding, with the
Bratislava International Centre for Family Studies and substantively assisted
the Austrian Federal Ministry of Environment, Youth and Family Affairs in
selecting candidates for the Visitors' Programme for Studying Exemplary Family
Benefits and Family Services in Austria and reviewing its programme.  An
inventory on best practices of family policies is in preparation to facilitate
an exchange of information and experience.  In this connection, the
Secretariat is working closely with the Government of Austria.

95.  Supportive relationships with the non-governmental organization
Committees on the Family in Vienna, New York and Paris have been reinforced. 
The Division participated in various family-related meetings organized by
concerned non-governmental organizations and academic institutions.

96.  In collaboration with the International Federation for Parent Education,
the International Federation for Training and Development and the Centre for
Family Studies at the University of Akron, the Division is promoting action-
oriented research and case studies on salient family issues.

97.  The Division, as the focal point within the United Nations system on
matters relating to families, continued its efforts to consult and cooperate
with Governments, non-governmental organizations and other International Year
of the Family partners on an effective follow-up to the Year.  Central to
these collaborative efforts was the advocacy of the family as a prime issue of
social policy.  The Division has utilized meetings, conferences and general
correspondence to promote and publicize family-related topics.  Circular
letters focused on encouraging national focal points, United Nations bodies
and the non-governmental organization sector to generate substantive and
information activities.

98.  Current and future work relating to family issues is guided by the
recommendations of the global conferences of the 1990s and specific
intergovernmental mandates. 

99.  The significance of the global conferences and their core themes of
relevance to family issues is that they affirm the objectives set for the
International Year of the Family and confirm the importance of the family as
the basic social unit and the value of a family-sensitive perspective in
social and development policy.

100. In addition to intergovernmental mandates provided by the Commission for
Social Development, the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly,
the conclusions of the regional meetings held in 1993, the International
Conference on Families, held in Montreal in 1994, and the Interregional
Meeting of Focal Points in 1995 are also relevant insofar as they reflect the
thinking regarding institution-building and the strengthening of international
cooperation on family issues. 

101. With the above-mentioned in mind, the Division will continue to promote
international cooperation within the context of the follow-up to the
International Year of the Family.  More specifically, it will:

     (a) Assist in integrating family concerns within the multi-year work
programme for 1997-2000 of the Commission for Social Development;

     (b) Provide policy guidance on ways to strengthen family-centred
components of policies and programmes as part of an integrated, comprehensive
approach to development;

     (c) Facilitate the dissemination and exchange of ideas and experiences
on family issues, reinforce networking with concerned partners and civil
society, and in this context, organize a series of subregional expert group
meetings;

     (d) Develop an inventory of best practices of family policies;

     (e) Prepare a global family country-profile report in 1999; 

     (f) Mobilize resources, inter alia, through the Trust Fund on Family
Activities to support the above initiatives.


                                     Notes

     1/ A/45/625, annex.

     2/ Report of the United Nations Conference on Environment and
Development, Rio de Janeiro, 3-14 June 1992 (A/CONF.151/26/Rev.1 (vol. I and
vol. I/Corr.1, vol. II, vol. III and vol. III/Corr.1)) (United Nations
publication, Sales No. E.93.I.8 and corrigenda), vol. I:  Resolutions Adopted
by the Conference, resolution 1, annex II.

     3/ A/CONF.157/24 (Part I).

     4/ Report of the International Conference on Population and Development,
Cairo, 5-13 September, 1994 (United Nations publication, Sales
No. E.95.XIII.8), chap. I, resolution 1, annex.

     5/ A/CONF.166/9, chap. I, resolution 1, annexes I and II.

     6/ A/CONF.177/20, chap. I, resolution 1, annexes I and II.

     7/ A/CONF.165/14, chap. I, resolution 1, annexes I and II.

     8/ Report of the United Nations Conference on Environment and
Development ..., resolution 1, annex I.

     9/ A/CONF.177/20, chap. I, resolution 1, annex II.

     10/ Ibid., annex I.

     11/ A/CONF.165/14, chap. I, resolution 1, annex I.

     12/ Ibid., annex II.

     13/ A/CONF.166/9, chap. I, resolution 1, annex II.

     14/ General Assembly resolution 2200 A (XXI), annex.

     15/ General Assembly resolution 34/180, annex.

     16/ General Assembly resolution 44/25, annex.

     17/ Albania, Bahrain, Belarus, Colombia, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland,
India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Latvia, Malaysia, Philippines, Portugal,
Russian Federation, South Africa, Singapore, Slovakia and Tunisia.

     18/ Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development,
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO),
Economic Commission for Africa, Economic and Social Commission for Asia and
the Pacific, and United Nations information centres.

     19/ Union of Latvian Large Families Association, Congolese Association
for Families' Welfare, Indian Institute for Peace, Disarmament and
Environmental Protection, NGO Forum on Families, India, Centre of
Documentation and Research at the University of Vale do Rio dos Sinos, Brazil,
UNESCO NGO Standing Committee on the Family, University of Padua, Hong Kong
Council of Social Services, Argentinean Council for Development and Social
Action.


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Date last posted: 10 January 2000 10:05:30
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