ELFAC celebrated the 30th anniversary of the International Year of the Family at the UN New York

30 years have passed since the first International Day of the Family was launched by the United Nations, in recognition of the fundamental of the family in society.

2024 observance was aimed to raise awareness of how climate change impacts families and the role families can play in climate action. It also was the opportunity to present the outcomes of regional IYF+30 preparatory meetings and the Civil Society Declaration on IYF+30, recommendations on family policies for climate action.

Maria Regina Florio Maroncelli, president of ELFAC, delivered a contribution on “New Technologies & the Well-being of Families at Home, at Work and in the Community”, which can be read below.

“It is a great honor and opportunity to be here for the 30th anniversary’s celebrations -said Regina Maroncelli. We bring here the voice of large families and their unique point of you, in addressing climate changes and the main challenges of our times: digitalisations, demographic shifts, urbanism, migration. We advocate for a bigger role in addressing these challenges: families are key drivers of sustainability, with their lifestyle, their values, their multiple and substantial roles in society.”

During the celebrations, two publications were launched: the DESA background paper “Climate Change and Families”, which highlights the role of families in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by learning sustainable values that are passed down through generations. The study “Home, Family, and Climate Change” emphasizes the need to focus on reducing household CO2 emissions and explores themes like public health, consumption, remote work, and building climate resilience.

Expert Group Meeting

The celebrations gave the opportunity to UNDESA to organise a 2 days expert group meeting, with the participation of scholars and Civil Society Organisations from 5 Continents and 18 countries.The outcomes of the intense and richly varied dialogues will become recommendations, intending to put the family at the center of the 2030 Agenda, both as receivers and as co-protagonists of its development.

Together with Regina Maroncelli was also participating Kinga Joó, member of the ELFAC Board, member of the European Economic and Social Committee and also representative of the Hungarian Large Families Association NOE, who spoke about Families and Climate Action in the European Union.

Increased pollution, extreme weather event, disruptions to agriculture and food systems negatively affects family health and well-being. Families contribute to greenhouse gas emissions with their consumption patterns: 1% of the richest European households emits more than the 55% of the total Co2 emitted by EU households.

Governments, businesses, and citizens are required to cut emissions and advance climate justice. Families pass values across generations, and can pass sustainable habits and climate awareness from early age. “Integrating circular economy principles into early childhood education can help build a sustainable economic model based on minimizing waste and regenerating natural resources. Families as consumers and advocates can drive the transition to a circular economy.

ELFAC’s contribution; New Technologies & the Wellbeing of Families at Home, at Work and in the Community

In line with the megatrends of the Declaration we are presenting today, the European Network of Family-Friendly Municipalities held its IV Congress in February on “Digital future: family-friendly cities and the challenges of innovation” to explore the role of new technologies in promoting the well-being of families in local institutions and businesses.

Municipalities presented apps for services and information, virtual “infopoints” and educational activities for young and older people, while Prof. Lucia Marchegiani from the ‘University of Roma 3’ spoke about the opportunities offered by digitalization to promote work-life balance, such as flexible working hours, teleworking and tailor-made social benefits.

New technologies, she said, can be “a blessing or a curse”, depending on how and for what they are used. To overcome the multiple challenges, we should improve humanistic education and promote human values.

In April, I attended the “Digital Innovation Summit in Bucharest. I felt a little out of place: “What does a mother of 4 and president of a large family association have to do with all this?”. Then I realised that my participation was a great opportunity to bring the topic of family into this arena and remind the engineers and experts that behind the videos and algorithms are real people, with real lives, feelings and families.

By including new technologies in the Civil Society Declaration, we bring the “family perspective” to a young and rapidly changing phenomenon that is permeating our life and in many ways is making it easier. Families have a problem of digital literacy but should not be afraid of the apparent remoteness of new technologies and should not abdicate their role

The Declaration expresses the concerns and needs of families: we see the potentials, but we also see the risks of a technology that can enhance inequalities, affect democracy and distance people from reality and relationships. That is why we demand the support and protection to which we are entitled under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We call on governments to:

  • address the digital divide between family members, generations, communities, territories and states, leaving no one behind.
  • ensure the use of new technologies for all family members as an investment in human capital.
  • promote the use of flexible and remote working so that parents can spend more time with their families.

Let the family be the guiding star of the development and new technologies can truly represent a blessing for humanity.

Intervention of Regina Maroncelli in video

Leave a Comment