Focusing on role of families in achieving development for a better world


United Nations officials were using this year’s International Day of Families to highlight the vital role that these critical social units, found in every society, play in achieving globally agreed development goals and advancing towards a better world for all.

“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,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message for the Day, observed annually on 15 May.

To commemorate the Day, which also marks the 20th anniversary of the International Year of Family, a special DPI/NGO briefing was organized in partnership with UN DESA’s Division for Social Policy and Development (DSPD), featuring major civil society contributions.

UN officials, academics, researchers and civil society representatives shared their views on why families matter for the achievement of development goals and how best to include families in the post-2015 development agenda. A documentary on Civil Society Working for Families Worldwide was also presented together with the Civil Society Declaration on the Occasion of the 20th anniversary of the International Year of the Family supported by hundreds of NGOs, academics and policy makers from 83 countries.

“We need to rethink social development and how it relates to climate change, how it impacts migration, how it contributes to social cohesion […] Strengthening of social pillar in the work of the United Nations is vital for the well-being of families and societies,” said Daniela Bas, Director of DSPD, as she moderated the briefing on 15 May.

Mr. Ban called for mobilizing the world’s families as countries strive to usher in a more sustainable future, achieve the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), shape a new development agenda and combat climate change.

“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,” the Secretary-General said.

“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,” he concluded.

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