Left: High rises and hotel buildings in Punta Pacifica, Panama City, Panama. Right: Family in Macedonia. Urbanization is one of the most important megatrends shaping our world and the life and wellbeing of families worldwide.
Photo:Left: Gerardo Pesantez/World Bank Right: UNDP Eurasia/Ljubomir Stefanov

2022 Theme: Families and Urbanization

Urbanization is one of the most important megatrends shaping our world and the life and wellbeing of families worldwide.

Sustainable urbanization is related to the achievement of several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets, such as SDG-1 (Poverty eradication); SDG-3 (Good health and well-being); SDG-11 (Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable); and SDG-10 (Reduce inequality within and among countries). These SDGs and their targets depend on how well urbanization is managed towards benefitting families and enhancing the well-being of all generations living in cities.

This year’s theme, "Families and Urbanization", aims to raise awareness on the importance of sustainable, family-friendly urban policies.

Sustainable urban development — related links

Megatrends and their impact on families

Preparations for the thirtieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family, 2024 (IYF+30), have been centering on megatrends and their impact on families. The focus on selected megatrends, including technological change, migration, urbanization, demographic and climate change, aims to facilitate the analysis of their impacts on family life and to recommend responsive family-oriented policies in order to harness the positive aspects of those trends and counteract their negative facets.

international day of families logo

The coronavirus disease pandemic and its impact on families

Starting as a health crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic had unprecedented effects on many spheres of life, including the economy, education and nutrition. It negatively impacted care arrangements, work-family balance, gender equality and other aspects of family life.

Background

During the 1980's, the United Nations began focusing attention on 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 General Assembly proclaimed The International Year of the Family.

In 1993, the General Assembly decided in a resolution (A/RES/47/237) that 15 May of every year should be observed as The International Day of Families. 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.

On 25 September 2015, the 193 member states of the United Nations unanimously adopted the Sustainable Development Goals, a set of 17 goals aiming to eliminate poverty, discrimination, abuse and preventable deaths, address environmental destruction, and usher in an era of development for all people, everywhere. Families and family-oriented policies and programmes are vital for the achievement of many of these goals.

Did you know?

  • Maternity leave, which was offered in 89% of countries in 1995, was available in 96% of countries by 2015.
  • Only 57% of women, who are married, or in a domestic union, are able to make decisions about sexual relations and the use of contraceptives and reproductive health services.
  • Family homelessness is on the rise. In some European countries, it has been consistently above 20% of the total homeless population.

UN events

Preguntas frecuentes

Virtual Event
Friday, 13 May, 10:00-11:15 AM (New York time)

UNDESA is organizing a panel discussion that will include presentations from academics, civil society and urban authorities.

The background paper "Migration, Urbanization, and the Family Dimension" will also be launched at this event.

A family at Cixi wetlands.

Family policies are a mainstay of national public policies, and the most meaningful vehicle for governments to influence the living standards of upcoming generations. As part of achieving the global ambitions of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), family policies play an important part in meeting targets across many of the goals.

Mariam, 7, lies in the grass with her mother at Boghossian Gardens, Yerevan, Armenia.

A paper focusing on the impact of urbanization and migration on families will be launched on Friday, 13 May. The paper addresses recent urbanization trends impacting families; gender and urbanization; urbanization and family life, in particular, the importance of affordable safe housing, child, youth developments and intergenerational issues; urbanization and globalization; urbanization and green spaces; promoting civic life and participation in urban areas, social cohesion and social stability.

illustration of people with clock, calendar, to-do list and decorations

International days and weeks are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the United Nations, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool. We also mark other UN observances.