International Family Day 2021 – Message from our President.

Dear Members, Collaborators, Colleagues and Friends,

Today our world is characterized by accelerated and unprecedented pace of change. Globalization, new technologies, migration, changing labour markets, transnational environmental challenges, political stability and the COVID-19 Pandemia, completely changed families lives demanding new habits, skills, knowledge needed for work and in special strong feelings of citizenship belonging to face the present “new normal”.

Acknowledging that the family – the basic unit of society – is a powerful agent for sustainable social, economic, environment and cultural development, including peace and security, bearing the primary responsibility for the care, development and protection of children and the elderly, as well as instilling values of citizenship and belonging in the society, this 2021 Celebrations of the International Family Day provide us an opportunity to draw further attention to the increasing cooperation at all levels on family issues and to undertak concerted actions to strengthen family-centered policies and programs as part of an integrated comprehensive approach to development.

Until a few months back, not many of us had heard phrases connected to our health and survival like “the apex”, “flattening the curve” or “stay at home to save lives”. But these are unprecedented times. The world is facing one of the gravest health challenges in modern times bringing families the opportunity to test bonds and kindness towards its members and the society as a whole, in solidarity and compassion.

Technological development, particularly digitization, deserves increasingly attention. Due to automatization, new occupations are emerging while others are no longer in demand. The digital economy itself is also bringing-in new types of informality and vulnerability. At a time when millions of families will need the set of skills that is required for work and life, the challenge for all countries is to develop and implement effective education, lifelong learning and training policies that include a focus on re-skilling and upskilling.

A global pandemic is a time of tough choices. The economic and social policy decisions taken now will shape the fate of millions families and define the future of all nations. Many questions have to be answered to allow for right choices: How to save people’s lives without destroying their livelihoods? Where to allocate scarce resources? How to protect those who do not have the means to protect themselves?

In the above mentioned context, its our wish that the Celebrations of the International Family Day 2021 will bring us the opportunity to seek for a better understanding on how to address the social and economic impacts and the digital gaps on the family and the role that social protection schemes can play in face of the complex drivers and challenges of the coronavirus pandemic on the social fabric and on the wider family that is human society.

Happy 2021 International Family Day!

Dr. Deisi Kusztra
WFO President

Mr. Isidro de Brito – WFO Vice-President for Legal and Administrative Affairs
Viviane Weingärtner – WFO Focal Point for the Latin America
Sofia Silva – WFO Focal Point for Europe

World Family Summit 2020/2021 – Virtual High Level Session

Under the High Patronage of H.E. Kais Saied – President of Republic of Tunisia

Date: May 15th 2021

Time: 4.00 – 5.00pm – Tunis Time (GMT+1)

In Partnership with:  Government of Republic of Tunisia

                                          Ministry of Women, Family and Elderly of Tunisia

                                          World Family Organization

                                          Organisation Tunisienne pour l’Education et la Famille

                                          United Nations Institute for Training and Research – UNITAR

                                          Arab Family Organization

                                          National Office for Family and Population

Theme: “Fostering global solidarity and family-sensitive responses to the COVID‑19 pandemic, its socio-economic and digital gaps impacts on the Family”. 

The summit will be held by webinar at:

https://zoom.us/j/97354144049?pwd=VGJoQi9DaFpkdlRLaFZZRDRvaEcwdz09

Background to the High Level Session

Since 1994, the World Family Organization organize its most important annual event, the WORLD FAMILY SUMMITS, gathering governments at national, subnational and local levels, ngo’s, academia, parliamentarians groups, media and families to discuss sustainable solutions to the world’s biggest challenges, as alleviate poverty, promote economic growth and decent work, reducing inequalities in an environment of peace and security, leaving no family behind.

The World Family Summit 2020 was planned to be held on May 13 – 15, in Tunis – Tunisia,  under the High Patronage of H.E. Kais Saied, the President of Republic of Tunisia, with a very ambitious agenda to call for a Decade of Action mobilizing everyone, everywhere to create an unstoppable force linked to the Global Goals, to demand urgency and ambition, supercharge ideas and to shine a light on solutions that expand access and demonstrate the possibilities of ideas to ensure No Family is Left Behind.

We were so hopeful…

But the COVID-19 pandemic arrived as a multifaceted global crisis, changing our everyday life and plans, bringing significant loss of life and livelihoods, pushing families back into extreme poverty and threatening the advances the world has been making on implementing the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals.

As it was a time for many changes, our World Family Summit 2020 had also to embrace the time being “new normal” and the usual format of the World Family Summit 2020 was transferred to May 2021.

Unfortunately, May 2021 arrived and the Coronavirus Global Crises still is around the globe not allowing presencial meetings and conferences. Nevertheless attending the many requests of members and other international and national organizations and to preserve the yearly continuity of the Summits, we are organizing  the World Family Summit 2020/2021 Virtual High Level Session focusing the COVID-19 Pandemic and its impact on the Family.

Concept Note

The ongoing COVID-19 crisis is enormously impacting on families. Women, children, old persons and persons with disabilities who are already experiencing disproportionate poverty, the COVID-19 has exacerbated pre-existing inequalities faced by this vulnerable groups . These include disparities in stigma and discrimination, access to health-care services, social protection and the risk of violence and abandonment, especially of those living in long-term care and institutionalized settings.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also exacerbated existing economic, health and societal pressures, driving families to fragility and conflict.

Recalling that right now, worldwide more than 158 million people have been infected by the COVID-19 and around 3.3 million have died, the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered widespread consequences, including massive job losses, the sharpest decline in per capita income since 1870 and an expected 150 million people being pushed into extreme poverty.  As the pandemic’s impact is falling disproportionately on the most vulnerable, development gains could be set back years and even decades, taking the world further from achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.

But we cannot afford to lose ground in the struggle to attain the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Its our duty to advocate and promote protection to the most vulnerable families, ensuring that emergency social and economic schemes integrate a gender perspective, the promotion and protection of children’s rights, strengthening national health and social protection systems to ensure the flow of vital medical supplies, food and agricultural products and other goods and services across borders.

This is a moment of reckoning. Now is the time to build back better, to step up our ambition and translate the global goals into national and local actions in order to create the future we want. Let’s be ready to embrace change. Let us change for the better and make our recovery based upon values, not value, and on compassion, courage, and cooperation.

For WFO, Resilience and Recovery from COVID-19 building back better toward an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 world are closely linked issues. Crisis like this pandemic has the power to disintegrate families and generate social chaos. We also believe that a much greater proportion of international support should be devoted to the strengthening of the family Unit.  Family resilience is essential to achieving the SDGs.

WFO considers its duty to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 UN Agenda preserving the Family powerful force: Leaving No Family Behind.

Themes for Discussion:

  1. Beating the COVID-19 Pandemic social and economic impacts on the Family.

Acknowledging that the family – the basic unit of society – is a powerful agent for sustainable social, economic, environment and cultural development, including peace and security, bearing the primary responsibility for the care, development and protection of children and the elderly, as well as instilling values of citizenship and belonging in the society, this 2021 Celebrations of the International Family Day provide us an opportunity to draw further attention to the increasing cooperation at all levels on family issues and for undertaking concerted actions to strengthen family-centered policies and programs as part of an integrated comprehensive approach to development.

Until a few weeks back, not many of us had heard phrases connected to our health and survival like “the apex”, “flattening the curve”, or “ stay home” to save lives. But these are unprecedented times. The world is facing one of the gravest health challenges in modern times bringing families the opportunity to test bonds and kindness towards its members in solidarity and compassion.

The global economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is shaping up to be the worst since the tragically consequential Great Depression. Although similar in terms of their impact, especially on employment and income, key differences make the current crisis particularly dangerous. As it carves its dark entry into the history of humankind, causing serious illness and death, upending daily life of families, challenging national health systems, shutters businesses large and small and confines millions to their homes, it also leaves the society’s most vulnerable groups exposed to its most destructive effects.

A global pandemic is a time of tough choices. The economic and social policy decisions taken now will shape the fate of millions families and define the future of all nations. Many questions have to be answered to allow for right choices: How to save people’s lives without destroying their livelihoods? Where to allocate scarce resources? How to protect those who do not have the means to protect themselves?

In the above mentioned context, the World Family Summit 2020/2021 Virtual High Level Session focusing the COVID-19 Pandemic and its impact on the Family will seek to further our understanding on how to address the social and economic impact on the family and the role that social protection schemes can play in face of the complex drivers and challenges of the coronavirus pandemic on the social fabric and on the wider family that is human society.

  • COVID-19, Digital Gaps and SDGs: What Challenges for the Families?

At a time when the international community was moving forward on the importance of SDGs, the Covid-19 pandemic struck and imposed a new perspective. Educational, the digital gap, the deterioration of economic and social standards and violations of basic rights worsened. This “new normal” in which families were thrown into caught many off guard, helpless and unprepared. The psychological, social and economic distress was felt by many around the globe and as the countries struggled to deal with the situation. The majority of political and financial priorities were focused elsewhere.

In view of the health issues that has become an utmost priority, families purchasing power has dwindled, poverty has prevailed, education has gone down, and entrepreneurship has suffered a fall. As civil society is assumed to be there to contribute in mitigating deficiencies and the degradation of cultural values and incomes, a mobilization is required in these times of health, social, economic and environmental crisis. It is now at the crossroads of development sustainability on the one hand, and of combating the harms of the Corona virus.

The challenge facing civil society consists in contributing, in parallel with governments, in reorienting efforts towards SDGs while trying to overcome this “new reality” which highlights further involvement in digital interactions in a situation where the digital gap between and inside communities themselves. These are the issues around which are focused the themes of the United Nations, of the Tunisian Ministry of Women, Family and the Elderly, that is –respectively- “Family and new technologies” and “Family, digital technology and sustainable development”.

In the framework of the UN Family Day and the activities of the World Family Organization, with the next World Family Summit in scope, scheduled in Tunis, the webinar proposed by OTEF –as member of the executive bureau of WFO and its representative in North Africa and in partnership with the Arab Family Organization,  the Tunisian Ministry of Women, Family and the Elderly, and the Tunisian National Family and Population Office (ONFP), the meeting reflects a common concern to promote intra- and international institutional synergies for mutual insight likely to allow hope for a “Zero-Covid” sustainable world. The webinar consists in senior-level executives, namely the leaders of the institutions involved in the topic and the event, experts’ presentations and / or interventions of partner institutions’ participants.

The participants to the webinar are high-level officers of partner organizations who are appointed by their respective hierarchies.

World Family Summit +8

World Family Summit +7

WFS2019 – Program and Participant’s Handbook

The official Participant’s Handbook containing the Program and all information of the World Family Summit 2019 is now available for download.

Click here for the Participant’s Handbook and the WFS2019 website

CSW SUMMARY: 11-17 March 2019 -NY On the occasion of the 2019 Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63)

 “Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls” 

Hanifa Mezoui, Phd

Being the UN’s largest gathering on gender equality, this year’s CSW63 focuses on the theme, “Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.” 

The current CSW63 session was about “getting the job done.” Getting the job of gender equality done is of utmost urgency, because it has been almost 25 years since delegates declared that “women’s rights are human rights,” at the Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing in 1995. Concerns about potential backsliding on gains already made were expressed. The families and communities most at risk of being left behind in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, lack access to adequate infrastructure, have restricted mobility, and cannot afford private services, including child care, water, sanitation, energy, health facilities and education.

While witnessing notable achievements over the past 25 years, there has been weak delivery on key commitments to these goals and resolutions. The impacts of the gender pay gap, for instance, must be addressed. One of the long-term effects of the gender pay gap over a woman’s working life is an immense pension gap at her retirement. Evidence shows that around the world, the number of elderly women living in extreme poverty is growing.

The gender, wage and pensions gaps, accompanied by the lack of universal social protection seriously jeopardize the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals, which call for an end to poverty and hunger; the achievement of gender equality and decent work.                                                                       

                              Annex

CSW63 : The outcome of the two-week meeting

Key recommendations from the Agreed Conclusions include the following: 

  • Invest in social protection, public services and sustainable infrastructure to support the productivity of women’s work, including in the informal economy;
  • Ensure that progress in women’s access to social protection, public services and sustainable infrastructure is not undermined by budget cuts and austerity measures, and levels of protection previously achieved are not reversed;
  • Build on multilateral commitments to gender equality, including the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the ILO Social Protection Floors Recommendation, 2012 (No. 202), to strengthen access to social protection, public services and infrastructure for all women and girls;
  • Recognize, reduce and redistribute unpaid care and domestic work by ensuring access to social protection for unpaid caregivers of all ages, including coverage for health care and pensions;
  • Scale up investment in quality public care services that are affordable and gender-responsive;
  • Identify and remove barriers to women’s and girls’ access to public services, such as physical distance, lack of information and decision-making power, stigma and discrimination;
  • Guarantee the availability of safe and affordable drinking water and sanitation, including for menstrual hygiene, in homes, schools, refugee camps and other public places;
  • Ensure that transport policies and planning are sustainable, accessible, affordable, safe and gender-responsive, taking into account the different needs of women and men, and adapted to be used by persons with disabilities and older persons;
  • Promote the full and equal participation and leadership of women and women’s organizations in policy dialogues and decision-making relating to social protection systems, public services and sustainable infrastructure;
  • Strongly condemn the impunity and lack of accountability rooted in historical and structural inequality that accompanies pervasive violence against women.

The Family Africa – World AIDS Day 2018

We had to postpone our celebration of World AIDS Day until today as on Monday the roads were blocked with burning tyres. Even so by driving down at 5am in the morning David was able to get in and out of the township and deliver the food for our TB/HIV group just in time before the protests and the tyres were set alight.

So today everything was quiet and we held our memorial for all the relatives and friends we have lost to HIV/AIDS over the years. Rachel presented a new powerpoint covering the 20 years we have worked in Diepsloot focusing on  the development of our many HIV programmes and support for those infected and affected with HIV.

The women had made new banners and after we prayed and sang, everyone wrote the names of lost loved ones on stickers  and we made a procession to our lovely fig tree which stands right next to our memorial rose garden, where we placed their names on the branches. There beneath the leafy branches we have placed  a new bench, donated by a a friend, so that anyone who wishes to can sit and enjoy the rose garden and meditate on those they have lost.

https://thefamilyafrica.blogspot.com/2018/12/world-aids-day-2018.html

“Seniors and Millennials: Working Together for the Sustainable Development Goals”

On October 10, 2018, the Association of Former International Civil Servants for Development (Greycells) will celebrate its tenth anniversary by holding a dialogue at the Palais des Nations between representatives of seniors and millennials entitled: “Seniors and Millennials: Working Together for the Global Goals “ 

The views of both generations will be exchanged and compared: on the one hand, older people’s experience and advice, on the other hand, youth’s future projects and hopes. What are the views of the Millennials on the legacy and responsibilities of the older generation regarding the SDGs? How do the Millennials view their own later years, and what are their expectations? How do seniors view the opinions they had when they were young as compared to the Millennials’ views? How can both young and old generations learn and benefit from each other in achieving the SDGs? 

During the days preceding the Dialogue, thanks to state-of-the-art technology, the views, questions and comments of the young generation on the role of seniors will be gathered through a world-wide social media campaign, organized in cooperation with the UN Secretariat. 

Greycells, in consultation with all partners contributing to the commemorative event, will prepare substantive inputs on the role of seniors and millennials in achieving each SDG, with a view to launching and stimulating the campaign. Selected questions and comments will serve as a basis for the dialogue. The results of both the campaign and the Dialogue will be disseminated all over the world through the above-mentioned social media, as well as by specialized journalists. 

The Dialogue will be introduced by the Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva, Mr. Michael Møller, and by Ms. Esther Alder, President of the Department of Social Cohesion and Solidarity of the City of Geneva. It will focus on poverty, inequality and migration; employment, retirement and professional projects; environment; gender: equal rights and opportunities. The moderator, Mr. Jeremy Seydoux, will facilitate the interactive discussion with the public. 

The campaign and the dialogue have the benefit of participation by: The Seniors’ City of the City of Geneva, the Platform of associations of senior people in Geneva, Geneva International Model United Nations (GIMUN), Young-UN, the Parliament of Young people in Geneva and Rotaract Geneva International. 

The Dialogue will be conducted in French with interpretation into English, it will last two hours and will be followed by a reception hosted by Greycells and its partners, with the kind participation of the United Nations Jazz Ensemble. 

The Family Africa – Mandela Day 2018

And what a day it was!  100 years celebration of Mandela’s birth and it started at 8am and carried on until 5.30pm. There were support groups together for the day, TB and HIV groups, Grandmothers caring for orphans and of our the children from our Free Day Centre. In the morning all the clients received blankets, toiletries and clothes.

There was a ceremony for the 43 people who have just completed the Health Champion Course, The children also received blankets and knitted hats. It also ran the normal feeding scheme of bags of food for our support group members to take home. All 200 of us ate a chicken and rice meal together and continued dancing and singing throughout the day. During the day we had different volunteer pop in with gifts and seedlings for the garden and in the afternoon we had a team of lawyers who delivered 150 food parcels full of goodies like cooking oil, sugar tea, mealie and tinned goods.

In the afternoon we had our teen club and orphan support group running where they played games, ate hot dogs and also received blankets and lots of treats. As all the support groups were still there from the morning along with all the extra children – well you can imagine how packed our centre was- full of happiness and thankfulness for Mandela’s life.

More pics here

World Family Summit 2017 – Geneva Declaration

Geneva Declaration – “No Family Left Behind: Families and Local – Authorities working together to transform cities and human settlements into inclusive, safe, resilient, sustainable with strong communities.

Click in the links below to download the final text of the Geneva Declaration, accepted by the United Nations and translated into English, French and Spanish. The Declaration was presented and circulated during the High Level Political Forum 2018 at the UN Headquarters in New York.

 English | French | Spanish