The Spanish Federation of Large Families joins the Civil Society Declaration for the International Day of Families

The Spanish Federation of Large Families (FEFN) has joined the manifesto promoted by ELFAC and other international family organisations to value the family as the main agent of change and social transformation and to provide it with the necessary resources so that it can adequately play this role.

The manifesto has been promoted by the European Large Families Confederation (ELFAC) on the occasion of the 30th Anniversary of the International Year of the Family and the declaration of the International Day of Families on 15 May by the United Nations General Assembly, which wanted to put on record the importance that the international community attaches to families.

ELFAC and its member organizations have drawn up a declaration underlining the family as the fundamental unit of society, ‘the natural environment for the growth and well-being of all its members, in particular children’, who ‘for the full and harmonious development of their personality, must grow within the family, in an atmosphere of joy, love and understanding’.

The declaration will be presented on 15 May, the date chosen to celebrate Family Day, by ELFAC President Regina Maroncelli at the United Nations headquarters in New York, at the official observance of Family Day. In the manifesto, the signatories consider that ‘the family must have the necessary protection and assistance so that it can fully assume its responsibilities within the community’, highlighting the social value of unpaid domestic and care work, which must be recognised and supported through ‘public services, infrastructures, social protection policies, as well as the promotion of co-responsibility within the home’.

Building a family-friendly society

The FEFN has joined this manifesto in order to make Europe aware of the need to improve family policies, to ‘build a “Family Friendly” society, in which young people recover the illusion of forming a family and embarking on the adventure of parenthood’. ‘It is necessary for young people to have a favourable social and employment framework, in which being mothers and fathers does not become a real obstacle course’, explains the president of the FEFN, José Manuel Trigo (in the picture, signing the declaration). To this end, he calls for quality jobs, easier access to housing, work-life balance measures, etc. and the adoption of policies and models that are working in other countries, but going beyond one-off measures, ‘generating a change of mentality that puts families with children at the centre of everything’. The FEFN also recalls that ‘the family, its creation and its commitments, is a long-term project that needs stability, which cannot depend on changes of government. The family should be a state affair, and its support and protection should be above parties and ideologies’.

Sustainable Development Goals and proposals

The family entities consider that the family is a catalyst in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), due to its educational role, and that society and governments should take advantage of this transformative potential of the family by supporting it in its role, particularly in the areas of new technologies, demographic changes, climate change and urbanisation and international migration.

On these four aspects, the signatories of the declaration propose a series of recommendations to the governments of the countries of the European Union, including addressing the intergenerational digital divide, favouring flexible work enabled by technology, and other measures that facilitate the reconciliation of work and family life, as well as universal access to new technologies to ensure equal opportunities for children; in terms of urban planning, they call for the promotion of family-friendly spaces that take into account family needs, accessible, safe and healthy spaces for families to thrive, a proposal very much in line with the ELFAC initiative through the European Network of Family Friendly Cities (City Families).

Demographic changes

In the European manifesto, the FEFN and the other signatory family organisations call for special attention to the demographic issue, calling for assistance, care and protection for all family members in view of the longer life expectancy in today’s developed societies, an increasing number of two-worker households, declining fertility, higher rates of family breakdown and changing family patterns. ‘The role of the family is fundamental because it starts when a child’s life begins, but continues throughout the child’s life and then between generations, acting as a cushion and support, it is the caregiver and the one that in the long term generates resources, through population, future contributors. The family is the best NGO and the best investment for any country,’ stresses the president of the FEFN.

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