TODAY -

15th May is the International Day of Families
- Enhancing climate action through families -

Ranjan K Baruah *



One of the most common sayings is that every good thing must start from home or from the family. We are aware that family (from Latin: familia) is a group of people related either by consanguinity (by recognized birth) or affinity (by marriage or other relationship).

There is no doubt that it forms the basis for social order. The purpose of the family is to maintain the well-being of its members and of society and it is important to have a strong family institution in order to keep things in order.

We should know that the global life expectancy at birth reached. 72.8 years in 2019, an improvement of around 9 years since 1990. By 2030 nearly 12 per cent of the world population will be 65 years of age or older. By 2050 an average longevity globally is to reach around 77.2 years of age. Globally, over 23% of individuals, equating to over 1 billion people, live in slums in urban areas.

Estimates show that growth of 1% in an urban population increases the incidence of slums by 5.3% in Asia and 2.3% in Africa. An estimated 2% of the global population is homeless and an additional 20 per cent live in inadequate housing.

The above data are not very positive as many are not able to be in a happy state due to many challenges. Many families are not happy or there are broken families due to different issues which may be personnel or some time due to others like poverty or similar. During the 1980s, the United Nations began focusing attention on issues related to the family.

In 1983, based on the recommendations of the Economic and Social Council, the Commission for Social Development in its resolution on the Role of the family in the development process (1983/23) requested the Secretary-General to enhance awareness among decision makers and the public of the problems and needs of the family, as well as of effective ways of meeting those needs.

In its resolution 1985/29 of 29 May 1985, the Council invited the General Assembly to consider the possibility of including in the provisional agenda of its forty-first session an item entitled “Families in the development process”, with a view to consider a request to the Secretary-General to initiate a process of development of global awareness of the issues involved, directed towards Governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and public opinion.

Later, based on the recommendations of the Commission for Social Development, formulated in its 30th round of sessions, The Assembly invited all States to make their views known concerning the possible proclamation of an international year of the family and to offer their comments and proposals.

In its resolution 44/82 of 9 December 1989, The General Assembly proclaimed The International Year of the Family (IDF). In 1993, the General Assembly decided in a resolution (A/RES/47/237) that 15 May of every year should be observed as .

The International Day of Families. This day provides an opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families and to increase the knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting families.

This year the theme of the day is focused on ‘families and climate change’. We know that climate change is the defining issue of our time and we are at a defining moment. From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production, to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale. The paradox is that climate change is bringing more questions than mere answers.

There is no doubt that without drastic action, adaptation to and mitigation of the impacts of climate change will become increasingly difficult and costly. Empowering families through education, changing consumption habits, and advocacy is critical for meaningful and effective climate action.

Families pass values across generations, so instilling sustainable habits and climate awareness in families from an early age is important. Integrating circular economy principles into early childhood education can help build a sustainable economic model based on minimizing waste and regenerating natural resources.

The 2024 IDF aims to raise awareness of how climate change impacts families and the role families can play in climate action. Through family and community initiatives, we can foster climate action with education, access to information, training and community participation. Every individual and families may positively contribute when it comes to taking climate action.

Every small step and initiative matters which can be initiated in families in a small way. Starting from sustainable consumption and maintaining eco friendly lifestyles contribute positively towards combating climate change.


(With direct inputs from UN publication).


* Ranjan K Baruah wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer can be contacted at bkranjan(AT)gmail(DOT)com
This article was webcasted on 18 May 2024

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