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International Day of Families 2021: Current Theme, History and Purpose

Shikha Goyal

International Day of Families 2021: It is observed annually by the United Nations across the globe on 15 May. The day highlights the importance of families. The UN focuses on some important issues that are central to the well-being of families across the world like health, education, children's rights, gender equality, work-family balance, and social inclusion among others.

The world is suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic and families are the hub of intergenerational interactions that support us in crisis. Under economic distress poverty deepens, stress increases at times of uncertainty that may result in women and children violence. Therefore, it is necessary to support vulnerable families, those who have lost their income, have young children, older persons, and persons with disabilities, etc.

Family makes us feel secure, it gives us a feeling of having someone in life with whom we can share our problems, etc. And also it means to have respect for each other and responsibility.

International Day of Families not only promotes the importance of a healthy and well-balanced family but also enhances knowledge of the economic, demographic, and social processes that affect the families. This day is also celebrated by the Universal Peace Federation because they consider family as the miniature of a global community.

It is rightly said that family is the first lesson in relationships with others.

International Day of Families 2021: Theme

The theme of International Day of Families 2021 is "Families and New Technologies". The theme focuses on the impacts of new technologies on the well-being of families. Several trends including technologies, demographic shifts, rapid urbanisation, and migration trends as well as climate change have been dramatically shaping our world.  During the pandemic importance of digital technologies for work, education, and communication increased. 

The theme of International Day of Families 2020 was “Families in Development: Copenhagen & Beijing+25”.

2020 is the 25th anniversary of the Copenhagen Declaration and Beijing Platform for Action. It comes at a time when the world is suffering from the most challenging global health and social crises. 2020 COVID-19 pandemic makes us understand the importance of investing in social policies protecting the most vulnerable individuals and families. It is said that it is the families that together face a crisis, shelter their members from harm, and also continue their work and responsibilities. 
According to the UN, the crisis provides us with a real opportunity to rethink and transform the methods of our economies and societies to foster greater equality for all. In the process, gender equality will not be achieved without greater equality in families, and in this, the Beijing Platform for Action continues to provide a visionary roadmap of where we need to go.

The theme of International Day of Families 2019 was "Families and Climate Action: focus on SDG13". It focuses on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals number 13 which is also known as SDG13. It deals with climate change and how families can help in combating it through awareness and education. Let us tell you that the recent commemoration of the Day focussed on the role of families for the achievement of SDGs 1 – 5 and SDG 16.
The major event will take place at UN Headquarters, New York organised by the Division for Inclusive Social Development of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs along with the Global Communication Civil Society.

The theme of International Day of Families  2018 was “Families and inclusive societies”.
The theme of International Day of Families 2017 was “Families, education and well-being”.
The theme of International Day of Families 2016 was “Families, healthy lives and sustainable future”.
The theme of International Day of Families 2015 was “Men in charge? Gender equality and children’s rights in contemporary families”.

SDG 13 targets

Since the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, the annual observances of the International Day of Families focused on the role of families and family policies for the achievement of SDGs 1-5 and SDG16. This year's observance focuses on SDG13 that is Climate Change.

The main goal of the event is to focus on SDG 13 target 13.3: Improve education, awareness-raising, human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaption, impact reduction, and early warning.
The target of SDG 13.2 is to integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies, and planning.

List of all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Some topics are covered in the panel discussion. They are as follows:
- Families' role in improving education, awareness-raising, and human capacity on climate change.

- To find out some innovative ways to integrate climate change measures into national policies, strategies, and planning.

- On sustainability intergenerational perspective.

- The perspective of youth on climate change.

- Sustainable development education & practice.

- Sustainable family farming from an indigenous perspective.

- The United Nations and sustainable action including ‘greening the blue’ initiatives.

- At local and community levels good practices should be there.

Let us tell you that the observance is organised by the Division for Inclusive Social Development of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the Global Communications Civil Society.

International Day of Families: History

The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the International Year of the Families in its resolution 44/82 of 9 December, 1989.  The General Assembly in 1993 decided in a resolution (A/RES/47/237) to observe 15 May every year as The International Day of Families. The main aim of reasserting these goals is to showcase the determination of the United Nations to encourage people for better living standards and social progress of families worldwide. The day focuses to modify economic and social structures that affect the stability and structure of family units in various parts of the world. 

How is International Day of Families celebrated?

Several events are organised at local, national, and international levels like workshops, seminars, policy meetings for public officials, exhibitions, etc. In workshops and seminar discussions on the annual theme for encouraging people, some educational campaigns are also launched for the public to strengthen and support family units. Even tool kits are also generated in some countries to help people in organising celebrations and focus on a particular section of the population like school children, young adults, college-going, etc. This year it is celebrated online.

What is the reason behind celebrating the International Day of Families?

The main purpose of celebrating the International Day of Families is to make people understand the importance of family and its value. Also, it is necessary to highlight the issues that affect families worldwide. This day also shows that the global community reflects the significance of the families as primary units of the society and raise their concern according to the situation worldwide.

Some issues related to the circumstances of the families are also highlighted. No doubt this day also inspired several countries in the world, over the years to generate their own family days or awareness events that are based on the community to bring attention to family issues.
Source: www.un.org

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