The International Day of Families' sixth year anniversary is being observed on 15
May 2000. Proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution 47/237
of 20 September 1993, the annual observance of the International Day of Families
reflects the importance that the international community attaches to families as basic
units of societies as well as its concern regarding their situation around the world.
The International Day of Families provides an opportunity to promote awareness of
issues relating to families as basic units of society, as well as, to promote appropriate
action. The Day can become a powerful mobilizing factor on behalf of families in all
countries which avail themselves of this opportunity and demonstrate support of family
issues appropriate to each society. The observance of the International Day of
Families also offers a valuable opportunity for families to demonstrate their solidarity
in the quest for better standards of life. The international themes for 1996-2000, were
suggested by the Fourth Ad Hoc Inter-Agency Meeting on the International Year of the
Governments, non-governmental organizations, educational institutions, religious groups
and individuals can promote a better understanding of the functions and problems,
strengths and needs of families by organizing observances of the International Day of
Families. The Day also provides an opportunity to increase knowledge of the economic,
cultural, social and demographic processes affecting families.
The Family Unit of the Division for Social Policy and Development, within the
Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, is the focal
point for Family matters in the United Nations system. As such, it is offering the
following suggestions for the observance of the Day.
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|Observing the Day at the National
In preparing for the Day, Governments may wish to use 15
May as an occasion to initiate family-oriented projects, entry into force of family
legislation or starting discussion on family policies in the country (special conferences,
cultural festivals, special announcements and other similar events).
The support and active involvement of the media in its programme is central to the
success of the Day. Because the Day is a very time-limited event, it lends itself well to
an intensive and focused media campaign. The official logo for the International Year of
the Family has become a permanent fixture of the International Day of Families, and
represents a useful instrument for such action.
The active engagement of the non-governmental organizations is instrumental in the
success of the Day's observance. For this International Day of Families and successive
Days, it is vital that non-governmental organizations once again fully mobilize their
invaluable substantive expertise, organizational potential, grass-root outreach as well as
human and material resources. Governments should seek the active partnership of
non-governmental organizations and provide necessary support for the activities of the
voluntary sector. Partnerships among public, private and volunteer organizations that
serve families is encouraged.
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|Suggestions for Observing the Day at the Local
Drawing on past experiences, the following are some
examples of the kinds of programmes which could be undertaken for the Day's observance:
- Family and community forums and workshops, to explore issues and offer options for
strengthening families. Forums can also provide information on family support services,
such as counseling, financial assistance, advisory and information services.
- Special events in educational settings such as parent/teacher gatherings or student
activities to highlight relevant issues and questions related to families.
- Special family fares or free family tickets on public transportation, free entrance for
families to museums, exhibitions, concerts and other cultural attractions, and other
incentives to give additional emphasis to the Day and to facilitate the involvement of
- Official proclamations of the Day by mayors and other local authorities.
- Proclamations of "Family Week".
- Production of documentary films or promotional vignettes on families to be shown on
national and local television stations.
- Arranging special exhibitions of publications, photographs, children's drawings, posters
and other materials on families.
- Organization of essay competitions on the family.
- Launching family-related publications.
- Coverage of the Day's events by the news media, including television, radio and
newspapers. The latter could also carry feature articles and special supplements on the
Day, as well as a series on family issues.
- Press conferences by research institutions and others concerned with family issues can
raise public awareness of priority concerns.
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