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After devoting its two first editions to the preparations and celebrations of the 20th Anniversary of the International Year of the Family, the IFFD Briefing hold during the 53rd Session of the Commission for Social Development in February 2015 focused on four of the Goals included in the Open Working Group proposal, to reaffirm or suggest the need for families to be mentioned in some of their Targets. Under the title ‘The role of families in the future we want - Promoting the empowerment of families in the Sustainable Development Goals’, it kept in mind the priority theme “Rethinking and strengthening social development in the contemporary world” and was based on three key points from UN documents:
- The Report of the UN Secretary-General on the Follow-up to the tenth anniversary of the International Year of the Family and beyond (66/62) states that “the very achievement of development goals depends on how well families are empowered to contribute to the achievement of those goals.”
- The Economic and Social Council, in its resolution 2015/3, “urges Member States to give due consideration to advancing family policy development in the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda.”
- The recent Report of the Secretary-General on the Celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family in 2014 (70/61) notes that “the number of initiatives taken at both the international and national levels in observance of the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family is testimony to the relevance of family-oriented policies and programmes for the achievement of internationally agreed development goals.”
The event was attended by over forty delegates of Permanent Missions of Member States, representatives of 36 civil society organizations and some academics from different American and European universities, over a hundred people in total. Speakers were carefully selected from persons working in Civil Society Organizations dealing very closely with those Targets.
 
Four proposals for the post-2015 agenda
In the Opening Speech and talking about ‘Family and well-being for all at all ages’ (Target 3.7), Marina Robben, World President of IFFD, showed how “despite social changes and economic crisis, family bonds remain strong and family members assist one another through financial support and care in both developed and developing countries.” She analyzed the need to “understand the mechanisms involved in the process of family breakdown and how they impact on the members of the family” and the “relations between the functions of the family and the positive social outcomes.” She concluded that “the development of a conceptual framework needs to be guided by both research and evidence.”
The first presentation dealt with ‘Family as a school of equality’ (Target 4.1) and was given by Ferin Merve Yilmaz Göksan, Women’s Platform Representative at the Journalists and Writers Foundation of Turkey, the only organization from that country holding General Consultative Status with the ECOSOC. She explained their research on girls’ education in Afghanistan and concluded that the opposition to women’s education has a lot to do with the structure of schooling in mixed-gendered settings, and the requirement of commuting to the school, which causes a security threat for the girls and their families. “This reminds us, she added, that the implementation of the sustainable development goals will depend on a global partnership for sustainable development with the active engagement of Governments, as well as civil society, the private sector and the United Nations system.”
As a conclusion, she also said that “mainstreaming and promoting the empowerment of families for the new Agenda is very much related to understand the importance of family on the child and the impact of it to the whole society” and that “recognizing respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms of all family members should be taking into consideration by families and should be the cornerstones of family-oriented policies.”
Kristin Bodiford, Delegate of Generations United to the UN, talked about ‘Productive employment and decent work for all’ (Target 8.1). She mentioned “the need for social development strategies and productive employment for all to reduce family poverty and social exclusion” and for a lifespan perspective, including “the importance of recognizing family needs and strengths across the lifespan, of viewing lifespan development in context of family and community and of protecting well-being of children and older adults through effective social policy. While uniting generations, the ability of every member of the family to contribute to the well-being of the rest will be clearly shown that way.”
The final presentation was delivered by Marie Béatrice Levaux, President of the French Federation of Household Employers and the European Federation for Family Employment under the title ‘The value of unpaid care and domestic work (Target 5.4).’ From her own lifetime experience and expertise, she presented information about the topic in France, where domestic and parental work represents one third of the GDP. According to her, the three pillars of the FEPEM commitment to promote the right social consideration for it are “taking into account the needs of households and families as a basis for our action, mediating and advocating with policy makers; and building collective and professional training agreements with social partners. Following the French model for Europe and elsewhere, she added, we should militate in favor of stronger families and links among individuals and of greater solidarity and social justice, in the name of European social model that stands out for both its specificity and its plurality.”

Awards Ceremony
The Briefing included the 2015 IFFD Family Awards Ceremony for persons and entities devoted to the promotion of family values took place. The first Award was granted to the High Representative of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, for his work in favor of families worldwide not only in his present position, but also during his years of service to United Nations and his country. Particularly, the Jury wanted to remark how, as the 66th President of the UN General Assembly, he sought to promote the vital role of parents in the family within society by proposing the adoption of a draft resolution declaring June 1st as the Global Day of Parents.
The acceptance speech was read by Senior Advisor on Humanitarian Affairs and Civil Society Ms. Hanifa Mezoui, as he was unable to attend and received the Award in his office once he was back in New York. After expressing his gratitude and appreciation, H. E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser stated that “the well being of families flourishes from happiness, but also from a strong culture of peace. In addition to my efforts to secure the unit of family and happiness, I continuously work towards a more widespread Culture of Peace. We all know that peace secures the rights of families and allows its members to serenely live together in sustainable communities through the principles of freedom, justice, democracy, tolerance, solidarity, and respect.”
The second Award has been granted to the Department of Family, Children, Time Use and the Disabled of the City council of Barcelona, because of their City of Barcelona Family Plan 2013-2016, and especially the programme ‘Barcelona is Family’, developed during the past months to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the International Year of the Family. The Award was presented to Irma Rognoni, Councillor for Family, Childhood, Use of Time and Disabilities, who said some very heartfelt words and quoted the City Mayor, who is his message to IFFD President said that with this Award he “feels encouraged to continue considering the family and its associated values as a solid basis to promote progress in our city.”
 
Family and SDGs
In her Concluding speech on ‘The United Nations, the family and Sustainable Development Goals’, Renata Kaczmarska, Focal Point on the Family at UN DSPD/DESA, referred to “well-functioning families” as those that “are reproductive and productive units, provide economic and emotional support to their members, act as care providers for the most vulnerable family members, generate productive workers, build competence and character and contribute to social integration and social cohesion.”
Talking about family policy and the post-2015 Development Agenda, she mentioned that “recent trends, such as rapidly falling fertility rates in developed countries, family instability, growing divorce rates as well as mounting difficulties in family formation encountered by young people necessitate urgent action, especially in the area of work-family balance and sustainable livelihoods. Similarly, changing family structures, urbanization and mobility as well as rapid ageing and challenges of ensuring human rights and dignity for older persons require a serious look at policies supporting healthy and reciprocal intergenerational interactions so that generations are not perceived as competing against one another.” Both issues need to be sufficiently addressed at the international forum, so that “depending on the support of Member States, a systematic follow up on family policy development in these areas could be pursued and coordinated.”
The event ended by showing a short video to attendees about the activitities organized by IFFD with UN representatives for the preparations and celebrations of the 20th Anniversary of the International Year of the Family in 12 countries. A copy of ‘Family Futures’, the landmark publication of that Anniversary, and of the Documents of the North American Expert Group Meeting held in Mexico City last year were offered to them.
 
 
Programme
 
Opening Speech
 
Family and well-being for all at all ages (3.7)
Marina Robben
World President of IFFD
Download text ...
 

 
Presentations
 
Family as a school of equality (4.1)
Ferin Merve Yilmaz Göksan
Women’s Platform Representative - Journalists and Writers Foundation (Turkey)
Download presentation ...
Download text ...
 
Productive employment and decent work for all (8.1)
Kristin Bodiford
UN Delegate of Generations United (United States)
Download presentation (short version) ...
Download text (complete version) ...
 
The value of unpaid care and domestic work (5.4)
Marie Béatrice Levaux
President of the French Federation of Household Employers and the European Federation for Family Employment
Download presentation ...
Download text ...
 
IFFD 2015 Family Awards Ceremony
The IFFD Awards are presented every year to persons and entities devoted to the promotion of family values
 

City of Barcelona Family Plan 2013-2016
Department of Family, Children, Time Use and the Disabled - City council of Barcelona
 

H. E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser
United Nations High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations
Download speech ...
 
Conclusion
 
The United Nations, the family and Sustainable Development Goals
Renata Kaczmarska
Focal Point on the Family (United Nations DSPD/DESA)
Download presentation ...
 

Short video shown at the end of the event with some the activities of the preparations and celebrations of the
20th Anniversary of the International Year of the Family (2014).

 
———

The numbers in brackets refer to the Targets of the Open Working Group proposal for Sustainable Development Goals.
 
A copy of ‘Family Futures’, the landmark publication of the 20th Anniversary of the International Year of the Family, and of the Documents of the N. American Expert Group Meeting (Mexico City, 19-20 May 2014) was offered to attendees.
 
 

More documentation
 
Programme and Background note in PDF ...
 
Oral Statement for the Commission for Social Development ...
 
Letter of the Major of the Awarded City (Barcelona) ...
 

 
Background note
 
The Report of the Secretary-General on the Follow-up to the tenth anniversary of the International Year of the Family and beyond (66/62) states that “the very achievement of development goals depends on how well families are empowered to contribute to the achievement of those goals.”
 
The Economic and Social Council, in its resolution 2015/3, “urges Member States to give due consideration to advancing family policy development in the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda.”
 
The recent Report of the Secretary-General on the Celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family in 2014 (70/61) notes that “the number of initiatives taken at both the international and national levels in observance of the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family is testimony to the relevance of family-oriented policies and programmes for the achievement of internationally agreed development goals.”
 
Having been active part of those initiatives and as the final deadline for the definition of the Sustainable Development Goals is approaching, the International Federation for Family Development has decided to focus three of the proposed Goals to reaffirm or suggest the need for families to be mentioned some of their Targets.
 
The IFFD Briefing to be celebrated during the 53rd Session of the Commission for Social Development in 2015 will focus on those Targets, keeping in mind the priority theme “Rethinking and strengthening social development in the contemporary world”. In the Report of the Secretary-General that develops this theme, it is also said that “strengthening the social dimension of sustainable development is not only a matter of making progress towards poverty or employment targets within a short time horizon, but also requires securing such progress and ensuring that it will be sustainable in the long term.”
 
Speakers for the Briefing have been carefully selected from persons working in Civil Society Organizations dealing very closely with those Targets. FEPEM is the French Federation of Household Employers, dealing with professional consideration of care and domestic work. The Women’s Platform of the Journalists and Writers Foundation of Turkey works to establish dialogue about gender equality and families around the Islamic world and elsewhere. The mission of Generations United is to improve the lives of children, youth, and older adults through intergenerational collaboration, public policies and programs for the enduring benefit of all. The International Federation for Family Development has been working for more than 35 years through its Family Enrichment Centers in 65 countries to promote and support different kinds of initiatives which aim to bolster and strengthen the family.
 
In addition, the first 2015 IFFD Award will be granted to the High Representative of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, for his work in favor of families worldwide not only in his present position, but also during his years of service to United Nations and his country. Particularly, the Jury wanted to remark how, as the 66th President of the UN General Assembly, he sought to promote the vital role of parents in the family within society by proposing the adoption of a draft resolution declaring June 1st as the Global Day of Parents.
 
The second Award will be granted to the Department of Family, Children, Time Use and the Disabled of the City council of Barcelona, because of their City of Barcelona Family Plan 2013-2016, and especially the programme Barcelona is Family, developed during the past months to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the International Year of the Family.
 
Finally, the Focal Point on the Family (Division for Social Policy and Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, UN Secretariat) will also contribute to this event with her inputs about the role of the family in Development. As the main responsible for the preparation and celebrations of the 20th Anniversary of the International Year of the Family, she is one of the most authorized persons to talk about it.
 

Gallery
 
(click on a pic to see it in high definition):
 
IFFD Briefing (Photos: Miguel Cubillo):
 

IFFD participation in the Commission for Social Development and other meetings:
 

 
Ignacio Socias, during the IFFD Oral Statement at the Commission.
 

 
With Fernando Álvarez (CLADH, Chile).
 

 
With Susana Camarero, Secretary of State of the Spanish Government.
 

 
During the Youth Forum.
 

 
With Alvaro José de Mendonça e Moura, Ambassador and PR of Portugal to the UN.
 

 
In the Civil Society Forum.
 

 
With Ambassador Miculescu, Chair of the Commission, and Ms. Daniela Bas, Director of DESA’s DSPD.
 

 
During the Commission Sessions.
 

 
At the Commission, with the Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the President of the General Assembly.
 

 
Ana María Ruiz with Ana Helena Chacón, Vicepresident of the Republic of Costa Rica.
 

 
With Tatana Kucharova (Beauty of Help Foundation, Czech Republic).
 

 
With Ambassador Miculescu, Chair of the Commission, her assistant, Marina Robben and Karel Phlips.
 

 
CSocD53 Event on Development Funding with the World Bank and UN DESA Division for Social Policy and Development (1).
 

 
CSocD53 Event on Development Funding with the World Bank and UN DESA Division for Social Policy and Development (2).
 

 
Ana Ruiz with the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities of the Human Rights Council, Catalina Devandas.
 

 
Marina Robben and Karel Phlips attending the Commision Sessions.
 

 
With Irma Rognoni, Karen Bogenschneider, Marina Robben and Karel Phlips.
 

 
Visit to UNICEF with Renata Kaczmarska, Irma Rognoni, Karen Bogenschneider, Marina Robben and Karel Phlips.
 

 
With Dominic Richardson, Irma Rognoni, Renata Kaczmarska, K. Bogenschneider, Marina Robben and Karel Phlips.
 

 
Meeting with Mihaela Robila, Kristin Bodiford, Renata Kaczmarska, Irma Rognoni and Karen Bogenschneider (1).
 

 
Meeting with Mihaela Robila, Kristin Bodiford, Renata Kaczmarska, Irma Rognoni and Karen Bogenschneider (2).

 
With Agustín Porres (Fundación Contemporánea).
 

 
Ignacio Socias and Fabio Palacio (ATD Fourth World).
 

 
Marina Robben, Karel Phlips and Ana Ruiz.
 

 
With H. E. Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, UN HR for the Alliance of Civilizations, after presenting the Award to him.
 

 
With Irma Rognoni and the Award to the City Council of Barcelona.

 
Announcement of IFFD Briefing through the UN screen network.
 
 

 
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