According to UN Resolution (E/CN.5/2014/L.5), entitled ‘Observance of the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family and beyond’ and adopted during the 52nd Session of the UN Commission on Social Development in February 2014, the family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State. The Resolution further recognises that the family has the primary responsibility for the nurturing and protection of children and that children, for the full and harmonious development of their personality, should grow up in a family environment and in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding. The Resolution states family, as the fundamental group of society and that the natural environment for the growth and well-being of all its members and particularly children, should be afforded the necessary protection and assistance so that it can fully assume its responsibilities within the community.
This resolution has been acknowledged by and receives full support of the Non-Aligned Movement. NAM leader while focussing on the importance of role of family in the society, emphasize that the family, as the basic social unit for upbringing and protection of children, and social coherence and integration plays an important role in achieving sustainable development including but not limited to contributing to eradicating povert and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality and empowering women, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.
NAM recognises that the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) depend significantly on how families are empowered to fulfil their important social functions and to benefit society at large. NAM further recognises that empowerment of women is the core factor towards family empowerment. As such, the movement has reaffirmed its commitment to actively promote the mainstreaming of a gender perspective in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes, in all political, economic and social spheres, ensuring full representation and full and equal participation of women as critical partners in the eradication of poverty. The above framework has been successfully adopted by many NAM Member States. According to data released in 2016 released on the findings of the fourth National Family Health Survey (NFHS) data released by the Indian Union health ministry, shows that women empowerment and family welfare programs have been a successful exercise in the country. Data shows a marked increase in the percentage of women in the age group of 15-49 years having a savings account that they use themselves. The data also breaks the myth that women do not have a say in decision-making in what is perceived to be an inherently patriarchal society. Data also showed that women were taking the lead in the case of adopting family planning methods. The findings showed, for example, that women were the ones opting for methods like sterilization rather than men. In South Africa, the government has produced a number of policies and legislation in pursuit of women’s empowerment. For instance, the Constitution includes Section 9 which promotes equality for all persons and freedom from discrimination and the Employment Equity Act, No 55 (1998) which strives to achieve equity in the workplace by promoting fair treatment in employment.
At successive NAM Summits and Ministerial meetings, NAM leaders have stressed the need to promote and enhance national family policy as well as the family focus in the activities of the UN system and other relevant international organization. The Movement has also expressed concerns over the current demographic, social and economic changes that affect families and has called upon the international community to undertake appropriate actions to meet the needs not only of individual members of the family but also of the family as social institution, contributing to overall development efforts, to advance the institution of the family and rebuild the family culture in society, to promote the value of the family among youth.
By Dr. Ankit Srivastava, Editor