Family issues became an object of increasing attention at the United Nations during the 1980s. In 1983, acting on the recommendation of the Commission for Social Development at its twenty-eighth session, the Economic and Social Council, in its resolution on the role of the family in the development process(1983/23), requested that the Secretary-General "enhance awareness among decision makers and public of the problems and needs of the family, as well as 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 "an item entitled 'Families in the development process', with a view to considering a possible request to the Secretary-General to initiate a process of development of global awareness of the issues involved."
Subsequently, acting on the recommendation of the Commission for Social Development at its thirtieth session and the Council at its first regular session of 1987 (resolution 1987/42 of 28 May 1987), the Assembly, in its resolution 42/134 of 7 December 1987, 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." It 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 to intensify international co-operation as part of global efforts to advance social progress and development".
1994 was proclaimed the International Year of the Family by the United Nations General Assembly, in its resolution 44/82 of 9 December 1989.