UNECE Regional Conference on Population Beyond 2014
The UNECE Regional Conference ‘Enabling Choices: Population Priorities for the 21st Century’ (Geneva, 1-2 July 2013) has been the culmination of the ongoing `ICPD Beyond 2014’ process in Europe, Central Asia and North America.
Based on the outcomes of the regional review, the report of which will be launched at the conference, over 200 high-level experts from governments, members of parliaments, researchers on population issues, civil society and youth representatives have discussed strategies for action beyond 2014. They assessed the progress made towards achieving the Cairo goals, identified neglected areas and discussed future policy directions to accelerate implementation and reduce inequalities. This discussion is expected to feed into the post-2015 UN development agenda.
In his capacity as delegate of International Federation for Family Development, Ignacio Socias was invited to make an oral statement, in which he recalled that “the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family, coming (in 2014) on the eve of the target year of the Millennium Development Goals, gives us an opportunity to refocus on the role of families in development”.
In his words, “adding families to the agenda of long-standing efforts (of United Nations) to protect human rights would be a step forward,” and that “should be done by set empowering families as part of the development goals, to ensure that the time, effort and money families invest in their children find social, economic, political and legal incentive by the society benefitting from them. From our experience, it is only within that context that the right approach to ‘Sexual and reproductive health over the life course’ can be reached. Parents have not only the right, but also the duty to give to their children, not only the reasons for the sexual education a human person deserves, but also to show it with their behaviour and personal choices. That way we will be certainly ‘allow every individual to make free choices and achieve the full of their capacities,’ which is the best way to define empowerment in our opinion,” he concluded.
Some other suggestions about family were included in the Chair’s Summary, particularly in no. 3: “Policies in both low and high fertility countries should be based on the right of individuals to decide freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of their children and to have the information and means to do so, taking into account the need for such policies to be based on evidence and best practices. Participants emphasized a recommendation for policymakers to develop a holistic approach and family-friendly, gender sensitive and responsive policies, across all relevant sectors – including health, education, employment and migration. Policies need to support all forms of families, and address in particular vulnerable families. They should also enable women and men to find a balance between family and work responsibilities, e.g. with flexible, affordable care options for children and older persons.”
The Conference was organised jointly by UNECE and UNFPA, and more information can be found here.
IFFD also participated in the High-level Segment of the UN ECOSOC Substantive Session, together with many representatives of Member States, international agencies and bodies, and NGOs. Besides the written statement that was published and distributed in all oficial languages, Mr. Socias was invited to make an oral statement. The twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family was mentioned in both of them.