Social policies addressing family poverty, social exclusion and work-family balance are very important in development strategies. Globalization, however, is often associated with implementing structural adjustment policies leading to a reduction in governments’ spending on social programmes. The pure focus on economic advantages ignores the social consequences on families and on vulnerable groups such as children, elderly living in poverty and people with disabilities.
To provide expertise and recommendations regarding assessing family policies, DESA’s Division for Social Policy and Development organized an Expert Group Meeting on “Assessing family policies: Confronting family poverty and social exclusion and ensuring work-family balance” on 1-3 June.
The meeting started today with the presentation on “Current trends affecting families: a need for policy response” by Dr. Bahira Sherif Trask of the University of Delaware. She stressed the importance of linking globalization and families through family policies, especially in this globalized environment.
“With the decrease in government spending on social programs, an important response has been new innovative collaborative partnerships between nation-states and NGOs in particular”, said Dr. Bahira Sherif Trask.
Children make up one third of the world’s population and are arguably the most vulnerable group. Raising healthy, educated children is critical to the success and continuation of every nation-state.
The issue of child labor was also addressed. Current statistics indicate that child labor may actually be on the increase. Dominic Richardson of the OECD, noted “the child is not responsible for the family; the family is responsible for the child”. He further emphasized the importance to have the goal and to “know what we want our family to look like”.
The expected outcomes will be used as an input to the 2011 Report of the Secretary-General on the preparations for and observance of the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family in 2014.