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Side Event

Positive Parenting and Social Inclusion:
Vulnerability of Families with Children

Thursday, April 4th, 2019
1:15-2:30 pm – Conference Room 6 *
United Nations Headquarters
New York, NY

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* Luncheon was served by Vienna’s Café’s top ramp at 12.15 pm.

Organized by
International Federation for Family Development

Co-Sponsored by
Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations
Permanent Mission of Malaysia to the United Nations
Permanent Mission of the State of Qatar to the United Nations
Permanent Mission of Ghana to the United Nations

with the collaboration of
Division for Inclusive Social Development of UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs
United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)


Welcoming Remarks
Mario Armella
International Federation for Family Development
World President

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Opening Remarks
H.E. Alya Ahmed Saif Al-Thani
Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations

Simona De Martino
First Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations

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The role of the state in empowering parents: Malaysia’s Experience

Abdul Shukur Abdullah
National Population and Family Development Board (Malaysia)
Director General

Abdul Shukur Abdullah is the Director General of National Population and Family Development Board, Malaysia since January 2018 after serving the Board for 25 years. He holds a Masters in Public Administration at the University of Science, Malaysia and a degree in Human Development from the University of Putra, Malaysia. He has been appointed as the Regional Project Director, ASEAN-Wide Research on Ageing, 2019-2020 (project funded by JAIF) and as an Expert Panel for the Malaysia Co-operative Index. He was responsible for formulating the Reproductive Health and Social Education Policy, National Family Policy and the establishment of Service Centre for adolescents (kafeTEEN).

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Leticia Adelaide Appiah
National Population Council (Ghana)
Director General

Leticia Adelaide Appiah is a Medical Doctor and a Public Health Specialist with over 20 years experience in the health care industry. She is the Executive Director of the National population council and advises the Government of Ghana on population and related issues in that role. She has worked extensively on expanding access to information and services in reproductive health and rights and family planning for all. She currently serves on the following: Member, Ghana AIDS Commission Board; member, Partners in Population and Development Board; member, National Steering Committee on the 2020 census; member, International Union for the Scientific Study of Population; Vice Chair of Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Alumni in Ghana.

Parenting Education
Bahira Trask
Professor and Chair, Human Development & Family Sciences
University of Delaware

Bahira Trask is a Professor and Chair of Human Development & Family Sciences at the University of Delaware. Bahira`s current research focuses on the relationship between globalization and family change in Western and non-Western contexts. Primarily she concentrates on economic changes, work and gender roles, and policies that can assist and strengthen low income families. Bahira hopes to promote the development of better policies and programs that strengthen families and communities.

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Child Wellbeing

Chemba Raghavan
United Nations International Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
Early Childhood Development Specialist

Chemba Raghavan currently works as a Specialist with the ECD team in UNICEF NY. Chemba supports the team with results management, planning and field engagement. Prior to coming to HQ, Chemba was the Regional Focal Point for ECD and UNGEI, and has also served as an Education Specialist in EAPRO in Bangkok. Chemba has also worked as a Senior Gender Consultant/ Technical Expert for UNESCO in Bangkok, and as Research Advisor in the Asia Pacific Regional Network for Early Childhood (ARNEC). Prior to joining the UN, Chemba worked as a Senior Researcher/Assistant Professor for 17 years in academia in the U.S. (including Pennsylvania State University and University of California, Los Angeles) and has also served as a collaborator for universities in Thailand.

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Women Empowerment
Esuna Dugarova
Policy Specialist
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

Esuna Dugarova is a Policy Specialist on gender equality and sustainable development at UNDP. She holds a PhD in Asian Studies from Cambridge University and has a solid experience in multidisciplinary research, analysis and evaluation of policy issues at the global, regional and national level. She published a book and over 30 publications in peer-reviewed academic journals, edited volumes and UN reports. Originally, she is from the Republic of Buryatia, Russia.

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Intergenerational Solidarity
Angela Vidal Gandra da Silva Martins
Family Lawyer

Angela Vidal Gandra da Silva Martins has recently been appointed as the National Secretary of the Family at the Ministry of Women, Family and Human Rights in Brazil. She is a Lawyer and holds a Master and a PhD in Philosophy of Law. She has worked as a researcher at Harvard University. Angela has experience in Family Business, Arbitration and International Law. She speaks 7 languages and works as a Professor in CEU Law School, and at Mackenzie University. She is currently a member of the Brazilian Philosophy Academy, and the Academia Paulista de Letras Jurídicas.

Renata Kaczmarska
Division for Inclusive Social Development - Department of Economic and Social Affairs
Focal Point on the Family

Renata Kaczmarska is the Focal Point on Family at the Social Inclusion and Participation Branch, Division for Inclusive Social Development, Department of Economic and Social Affairs. An International Civil Servant with a demonstrated experience in the international affairs and social policy development, she is fluent in 6 languages including French, Russian and Spanish. Strong program and project management professional with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) focused in Political Science from City University of New York-Hunter College and Master of Science in Social Science (MS) from Long Island University.

NGO Committee on the Family
Ryan Koch, co-chair
NGO Committee on UNICEF
Brianna Fitzpatrick, coordinator

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Q & A


In recent decades and years, our societies have undergone tremendous changes that have affected families in many ways. Even though the married couple with one or two children is the most common family form, children nowadays are raised in many different family settings. There are families with a larger number of children growing up together, many children raised by unmarried parents, while —due to increasing divorce rates— others grow up with only one of their parents or their parents share physical custody over them, and even by their grandparents. The number of children growing up in reconstituted families has increased as well. While we approach the 30th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, these trends open new questions on “the best interest of the child” it consecrates (article 3).
Among other studies related to SDGs and the role of families to achieve them, the International Federation for Family Development has been part of the FamiliesAndSocieties Project, the largest European research work investigating the situation of families in Europe ( One of the general aims of the FamiliesAndSocieties European Project has been to gain knowledge about the impact that family-related policies have, in the long run, on families’ and children’s wellbeing and on satisfying the needs of families and children.
The role of parents to ensure this wellbeing is crucial, as the General Assembly has stated recently, adding that “initiatives to promote involved and positive parenting have been found to be beneficial in advancing social integration and solidarity between generations, as well as in promoting and protecting the human rights of all family members.” (A/C.3/73/L.19/Rev.1).
At the same time, parents are often more dependent on assistance from third parties than they used to be in order to reconcile work and family responsibilities. This is particularly the case when policies and programmes that affect the family ignore the changing needs and expectations of families, or are insufficiently sensitive to the needs and rights of women and children.


One key challenge for the future is to help families in vulnerable situation, not only temporarily by mitigating the most urgent needs, but to improve their situation in a sustainable manner.
Social protection should also be improved, to face the situation of children from the most disadvantaged families, confronted with poverty, social exclusion and high levels of conflict or even violence. Prevention and early support (e.g. psychological support for families with conflicts or on the verge of divorce) are identified as key challenges for the future. The difficulty for policy is to design measures so families in need will not be punished or stigmatized for their difficulties. Instead of dictating what to do, social protection should be sensitive to people’s situation and their specific needs and offer relevant support.
In general, single measures have to go hand in hand with each other. Education, employment and the creation of a more family-responsive society are seen as indispensable. While financial transfers are required to address the most urgent needs of families in situation of vulnerability, they alone do not solve the problem of reproduction of vulnerability, but might even lead to the socialization of state dependency. Instead, it is crucial to facilitate for families to sustain themselves.
To achieve all this, a closer dialogue between researchers and practitioners is needed, to identify the “drivers” that are relevant for the wellbeing of families in situation of vulnerability. Practitioners can draw the attention of researchers to important dimensions and show the complexity of relevant issues. Researchers should incorporate these insights into their research and, in turn, provide policymakers and stakeholders with improved evidence-based policy recommendations.
Parenting education is a key component for the cohesion, sustainability and inclusion of every family unit. In situations of vulnerability, It helps to improve early childhood development, empowers children to acquire the necessary skills in order to break the intergenerational cycle of poverty and improves the position of the youth in the labor market when they enter adulthood. A cost-efficient way of contributing with families in vulnerable situations or in situations of vulnerability is through preventive measures as of parenting education.


The event will try to find answers to the following questions:
(1) What do families with children in vulnerable situation have in common?
(2) In what ways might different future developments affect these families?
(3) What policy measures would be crucial to prevent the “reproduction of vulnerability” within families in the future?
(4) How can parents be helped through parenting education programmes to implement this prevention?

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Oral Statement

Video streaming of the oral statement of IFFD during the 52nd session of the Commission on Population and Development (1st to 5th April, 2019).

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