During the 1980's, the United Nations began focusing attention on the 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.
In 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.
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 United Nations General Assembly proclaimed The International Year of the Family. In proclaiming the Year, the General Assembly decided that the major activities for its observance should be concentrated at the local, regional and national levels, assisted by the United Nations system.
The United Nations Commission for Social Development was designated as the preparatory body and the Economic and Social Council as the coordinating body for the Year.
In 1994, General Assembly Resolution A/RES/47/237 proclaimed The International Day of Families, which is observed on the 15th of May every year. 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.