Families, healthy lives and sustainable future

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Families, in any shape of form provide the basis for most of our societies, making them an invaluable entity for policy makers to revolve their development strategies around. The Expert Group Meeting on ‘Family policies and 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda’ taking place on 12-13 May, will contribute to further analysis of the role of family policies in advancing broader development goals and a number of SDG targets.

The meeting coincides with the annual observance of the International Day of Families, this year revolving around ‘Families, healthy lives and sustainable future’.

From a policy perspective, socio-economic policies supporting families have a potential to speed up the achievement of many targets focusing on individuals’ well-being. Among such policies are those supporting numerous functions that families already perform, such as caregiving for children, youth and older adults as well as those with diverse vulnerabilities, including disabilities. In families, decisions are made about children’s health and education. Empowering families to support their individual members’ health, education and overall well-being are bound to contribute to achieving of several SDG targets, such as improving access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, reduce maternal mortality, ending preventable death of newborns and children under 5.

Policies and programmes aiming at increasing family financial recourses or improving caregiving behaviour help parents be better economic and emotional providers for their families. Work-family balance policies and programmes, such as parental leaves and flexible working arrangements promote children’s and parents’ well-being. Programmes promoting safe and stable family environment and positive parenting contribute to physical and emotional well-being of all family members as well.

In addition, with ageing population, better policies are needed to help families care for older adults or find alternative care arrangements in line with individual wishes and expectations. In this area, an extension of family leave to include care for other family members has a, so far largely untapped, potential to contribute to the well-being of older persons.

Another important area gradually gaining more attention from policy makers is supporting a greater role of men in families, in terms of sharing of household responsibilities and care obligations. Policies in this area have already been found to contribute to better health outcomes for children as well as gender equality gains.

The events around the International Day of Families will be live webcast on Thursday, 12 May. You can join the conversation on families, healthy lives and sustainable future by using the hashtags #GlobalGoals and #DayOfFamilies.

For more information:

2016 International Day of Families

EGM on “Family policies and the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda”

UN Webcast