The vision of a World human-centers and genuinely democratic, where people are full participants and determine their own destinies, where respect for our diversity is exercised, where non-discrimination between men and women, young and old, regardless of race, faith, disability, ethnicity and nationality is a basic and universal principle, have been themes for deep discussion and reflections over the past last 10 years.
But we begin the new Century and Millennium facing grave and interconnected challenges.
As actors in the struggle for peace, justice, tolerance, solidarity, social inclusion and specially for poverty eradication we encounter daily the human impact of raising violence and armed conflicts, widespread violation of human Rights and unacceptable number of people who are denied the means of a minimal human existence.
Can the Family contribute actively to Development as an agent in beneficiary of the process?
The Family, in all its most diferent concepts and forms, is universally recognized as the fundamental unit of the Society. In the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948, the Family has been defined as "the natural and fundamental group unit of society." All over the world and all civilizations, the centrality, uniqueness and indispensability of the Family in Society is unquestionable due to its multiple roles and functions.
The Family has been a source of strength for generations, by ensuring that a member can always call back on a wider circle of relatives for guidance and support. In all societies, the Family is the setting for demographic reproduction, and the seat of the first integration of individuals to social life.
However, the environment in which Families all over the world find themselves is increasingly changing, requiring shifts in family structures, roles, functions and even relationship. The rapidly changing social and economic circunstances in the last decades, have had adverse effect on the families. Globalization and Governament's Structural Adjustment Programmes have had a devastating impact on families. As a result, socio-economic problems have been on the rise, causing a break-up on family groups and the desintegration of community networks.
But, in spite of everything, the family remains the economic, political, socio-cultural, sustainable and the most acredited entity of society and a such has the right to support and encouragement from Governments and Institutions, and the decision-makers should ensure that Family issues are placed at the core of all policies, including those which apparentally do not have any direct relationship with the Family, but whose repercussions will have, through the individuals concerned, an influence on the functioning of the Family Unit.
Therefor, the importance of the integration of the Family in the process of development is being recognized as an essential part of the globalized efforts to achieve peace, security, solidarity, respect for human rights, democracy, justice, sustainable development and social progress to meet the challenges of the Third Millennium.
In the framework of the "Follow-up to the International Year of the Family(IYF)" and the observance of its Tenth Anniversary in 2004, a World Family Summit will discuss and deliberate, following a multi-stakeholder approach, the contribution that families can bring to make the present and future world with more peace, security, justice, tolerance, solidarity, prosperity and integrated through the implementation of Millennium Development Goals.
Join us in this endeavour. Learn more about the Millenium Development Goals and the role of families in its implementation by accessing the World Family Summit website.