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Declaration for the Year of the Family

We propose this Declaration of the Civil Society in which the basic contents of UN resolutions about the International Year of the Family are included, as well as the main recommendations of different Expert Group Meetings, particularly the European one organized in Brussels. We aim to enroll as many politicians, academics and representatives of NGOs in every country as we can, so that we can present it together with the rest of international organizations in the Commission for Social Development to be celebrated in February 2014. We also hope that its contents can become a part for the contents of a resolution by the UN General Assembly on the occasion of this anniversary.

Official presentation at UN Headquarters in NYC (18 February 2014) ... for more information please visit - http://www.family2014.org/home.php

Declaration of the Civil Society on the occasion of the
20th Anniversary of the International Year of the Family

The representatives of the civil society organizations, academics and policy makers named below,

Acknowledging the right to found a family, as described by the art. 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,

Recognizing that, as basic and essential building blocks of societies, families have a crucial role in social development, bear the primary responsibility for the nurturing, protection, education and socialization of children, as well as instilling values of citizenship and belonging in the society, and provide material and non-material care and support to its members, from children to older persons or those suffering from illness, sheltering them from hardship to the maximum possible extent, [1]

Recalling that this social protection function performed by families is especially important in times of increased uncertainty and vulnerability, when families find it more and more difficult to fulfil these multiple roles and tackle all responsibilities entrusted to them, [2]

Emphasizing that family-focused policies have proven both valuable and efficient in many areas of social development, and that the very achievement of Millennium Development Goals depends on how well families are empowered to contribute to it, [3]

Expressing the will to work closely with the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs in a coordinated manner on family-related issues, including the preparations for the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family. [4]

1. Welcome the call made by United Nations to celebrate the forthcoming twentieth anniversary, in 2014, of the International Year of the Family, noting the opportunity it provides to revisit family-oriented policies as part of overall development efforts, [5] supporting its objective to aim at responding to challenges faced by families and continuing to guide national efforts that benefit families worldwide [6] and to integrate a family perspective [7] by introducing a family impact report or assessment as a standing and compulsory part of policymaking;

2. Urge Member States to enhance and strengthen family mainstreaming in policy making at all levels, considering the impacts of socio-economic policies on families; to develop, promote and implement family-friendly policies aimed at providing sustainable, affordable and quality living conditions for families; and to empower families and recognize their role in social cohesion and economic development; [8]

3. Invite Member States to recognize the right of families to sufficient resources and social assistance and the right to live in a manner compatible with human dignity, recalling that this is a common vital issue for single-parent, large and immigrant families; to develop, promote and implement policies aimed at ending child poverty through the eradication of family poverty, and encourage social, economic and educational policies to prevent intergenerational transmission of poverty; and to promote the provision of integrated services for families and family-friendly taxation policies and practices, including reduced taxes on goods and services for early childhood products and services; [9]

4. Request Member States to recognize and communicate the value of balancing family and work in the economy and in society; to develop, provide and communicate comprehensive well-resourced and flexible parental leave entitlements, to promote skill development and learning systems throughout the life course of the family and in periods of transition, to facilitate parents’ re-entering the labor market, and to enhance dialogue and partnerships between social policy makers and relevant stakeholders, including families, family associations, business sector, trade unions and employers to develop and improve family-friendly policies and practices in the workplace; [10]

5. Encourage Member States to facilitate intergenerational solidarity, quality couple and family relationships, parenting programmes; high-quality childcare and other ancillary services which support families; promote and develop active measures to support the psychological well-being of children and youth with sensitivity to family situations; prevent violence, addictions and juvenile delinquency; and promote school to work transitions and young adults’ economic security to facilitate family formation and stability, particularly among those with insecure socio-economic resources; as well as to promote and develop public policies concerning the support to the elder members of the family, especially in situations of particular need such as cases of Alzheimer or similar diseases.

[1] Cfr. Report of the Secretary-General on the Follow-up to the tenth anniversary of the International Year of the Family and beyond, 29 November 2010, A/66/62-E/2011/4, n. 3. Cfr. Resolution on Preparations for and observance of the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family, 28 November 2012, A/C.3/67/L.12/Rev.1.
[2] Ibidem, n. 4.
[3] Ibidem, n. 10.
[4] Cfr. ECOSOC Resolution on the Preparations for and observance of the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family, 30 August 2012, E/RES/2012/10.
[5] Cfr. Report of the Secretary-General on the Preparations for and observance of the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family in 2014, 11 November 2011, A/67/61-E/2012/3, n. 57.
[6] Ibidem, n. 4.
[7] Cfr. Resolution on Preparations for and observance of the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family, 28 November 2012, A/C.3/67/L.12/Rev.1., n. 1.
[8] Cfr. European Expert Group Meeting ‘Confronting family poverty and social exclusion; ensuring work-family balance; advancing social integration and intergenerational solidarity in Europe’ (Brussels, 6 - 8 June 2012), Recommendations for relevant stakeholders.
[9] Ibidem.
[10] Ibidem.

23 Regional Entities and International Organizations, 230 National Organizations from 65 countries and 529 representatives of the Civil Society Organizations, academics and policy makers from 83 countries have joined this declaration as to 31 December 2013.