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Bring people together across generations toward building a healthier world for all: UN Chief
Dr. Lalit Kishore | 14 May 2013

On the eve of the International Day of Families (IDF), established by the United Nations (UN) to be observed on May 15 each year, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's message at his official website stated, 'Families hold societies together, and intergenerational relationships extend this legacy over time.

This year's International Day of Families is an occasion to celebrate connections among all members of the constellation that makes up a family. It is also an opportunity to reflect on how they are affected by social and economic trends ? and what we can do to strengthen families in response."

"On this International Day of Families, I call on governments, civil society, families and individuals to support initiatives that bring people together across generations toward building a healthier world for all," urges Ban in his message.

The day, proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993, has the theme for this year as 'Advancing social integration and intergenerational solidarity' provides an 'opportunity to promote awareness of issues relating to families and to increase knowledge of the social, economic and demographic processes affecting families'. UN has urged the world community to  strengthen family-centred components of policies and programmes as part of an integrated comprehensive approach to development.

Here are the excerpts from Ban's message on the eve of IDF.

-Unemployment is forcing many young people, often eager for independence, to rely on their parents longer than they would have hoped.

-The lack of affordable and quality childcare is complicating efforts by parents in dual-earner families to combine their work and home obligations.  Inadequate pensions and care for older persons demands more attention as we succeed in our goal of extending lives.

-There is a growing recognition around the world that we need to strengthen policies promoting intergenerational solidarity and support intergenerational programmes and initiatives.

-Intergenerational initiatives also address global development priorities.  They counteract inequality and exclusion, encourage active citizenship and even improve public infrastructure through community-based projects.

Over the years, IDF has inspired a series of awareness-raising events, including national family days. "In many countries, that day provides an opportunity to highlight different areas of interest and importance to families. Activities include workshops and conferences, radio and television programmes, newspaper articles and cultural programmes highlighting relevant themes," claimed the UN on its website.