The United Nations Commission for Social Development (CSD), which held its fifty-first session in New York last week, approved a number of draft resolutions.
A resolution as a lead in to the year of the family to be held in 2014 titled, ‘Preparations for and observance of the Twentieth Anniversary of the International Year of the Family’ (document E/CNH.5/2013/L.3) urged Member State to view 2014 as a target year by which concrete efforts would be taken to improve family well-being through the implementation of effective regional policies, strategies and programmes.
This resolution contained some good family friendly language inserted by both Indonesia and the Holy See and which was supported by Qatar.
Paragraph PP5 (bis) reads as follows,
“Recognizing that the family, as the natural and fundamental group unit of society, has the primary responsibility for the nurturing and protection of children and that children, for the full and harmonious development of their personality, should grow up in a family environment and in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding,”
· NOTE: this numbering will most likely change when the final version of the resolution is issued
This wording however was not to the liking of some delegations which made it clear that despite the clear intention of the paragraph to support the natural family they would interpret it to suit their own agenda.
During the debate which lead to approval of the resolution Ireland on behalf of the EU told the meeting that policies to help families must be “inclusive and reflect changes in the nature of the family unit”. Emphasizing the importance the EU place on recognizing diversity in family forms, he said the European Union recognized all the draft’s references to “the family” as reflecting that diversity.
The representative of the United States welcomed several of the text’s elements, but said he would have preferred it to have made mention of the different types of family structures, and to have been specific about the challenges faced by single-parent families.
The Commission also approved a resolution on “Policies and programmes involving youth”, by which the Economic and Social Council is urging Governments, in consultation with young people, to develop holistic and integrated policies based on the Programme of Action for Youth. This resolution underlines the importance of consulting with young people in the elaboration of the post-2015 development agenda, and encourages States to consider including youth representatives in all relevant discussions of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council.
The Holy See delegate Lukas Swanepoel expressed reservations about the text because it called for full implementation of the World Programme of Action for Youth. Although it contained several positive elements, references to “sexual and reproductive health and family planning” were unacceptable. Concerning the education of youth, Swanepoel reasserted that parents’ rights should be fully respected, as enshrined in international instruments.