INTERNATIONAL DAY OF FAMILIES: “FAMILIES AND CLIMATE ACTION: FOCUS ON SDG13”

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Although families all over the world have transformed greatly over the past decades in terms of their structure and as a result of global trends and demographic changes, the United Nations still recognizes the family as the basic unit of society. The International Day of Families provides an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families and to increase knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting them. It has inspired a series of awareness-raising events, including national family days. In many countries, this day is an opportunity to highlight different areas of interest and importance to families.

Each year, 15th May is observed worldwide as the International Day of Families. In 1993, the UN General Assembly proclaimed this date to be an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families and to increase knowledge of the social, economic, and demographic processes affecting families. The United Nations Programme on the Family stresses the importance of having healthy and happy familial relationships.

This year’s theme of the International Day of Families is Families, “Families and Climate Action: Focus on SDG 13. This year, the day reflects the importance the international community attaches to families and their role in development. Recent commemorations of the Day focused on the role of families for the achievement of SDGs 1 – 5 and SDG 16. The 2019 observance focuses on families, family policies and major SDG13 targets: SDG 13 target 13.3: Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning SDG 13 target 13.2: integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies and planning.

The approaches to family policies for inclusive societies vary around the world. In some regions emphasis is placed on the social inclusion of various types of families and/or individuals such as migrant or indigenous families, ethnic minorities or families with persons with disabilities. In other regions, the primary emphasis is placed on social protection for vulnerable families to facilitate their full inclusion in the mainstream of society. As approaches vary, this year’s observance of the International Day of Families is to raise awareness of the role of families and family policies in achieving more inclusive societies from regional perspectives.

We, at World Assembly of Youth (WAY), understand the importance of the international day of families. It highlights the importance of family in society thereby having stronger families; stronger schools and stronger communities. It also provides a real-life example of how the human family can work together to create a better world. It is an opportunity to have critical conversations about some of the challenges that families around the world face. Many families are dealing with issues like poverty, lack of health care, employment, and child rearing. And today, we promote awareness and a better understanding of some of these challenges. We also encourage young people from all around the world to embrace gender equality in contemporary families in both their current family and the one that they will build in future.

As the coordinating body of National Youth Councils, it is one of our functions to work together as a family because we believe that family is a vital foundation of an individual’s positive development that will lead to the overall betterment of societies. We treat everyone equally as we seek to create a more just world by empowering everyone, especially young activists from around the globe through a combination of cross-cultural human rights.

Together with this year International Day of Families, we recap our encouragement to the youth to embrace the significance of family especially its role in education and achievement of Sustainable Development Goals.