The High Representative of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations
Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser
The World Family Summit+10
“Families in Balance: Building the Future We Want”
Senior Advisor on Humanitarian Affairs and Civil Society
The World Family Organization & The National Health and Family Planning Commission of China & The Zhuhai Municipal People’s Government
December 2 to 4, 2014
Your Excellency, Mme, Liu Yandong, Vice-Premier of the State Council, People’s Republic of China,
Your Excellency, Ms. Li Bin, Minister, National Health and Family Planning Commission,
Your Excellency, Mr. He Ningka, Mayor of Zhuhai Municipal People’s Government,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Dr. Deisi Kustra, President of the World Family Organiization
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Participants, Colleagues and Friends: it is a great for me to be able to participate in the WFO 10th Family Summit on the theme “Family in Balance: Building the Future We Want” And particularly to deliver a message on behalf of His Excellency Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, the High Representative of UN Alliance of Civilizations, who conveys his profound regrets on being unable to participate personally on your deliberations as he is presently on official travel.
He asked me to express his thanks and appreciation, to the World Family Organization members for their kind invitation, and he looks forward to their close collaboration in the future.
He asked me to convey the following message to you:
Statement by his Excellency Mr. Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser
United Nations High Representative for the UN Alliance of Civilizations
“I am pleased to address this distinguished audience, gathered to celebrate the Tenth Family Summit of WFO in harmony with the Twentieth Anniversary of the International Year of the Family.
As we all very well know, China is a great cultural center of Asia, and is recognized as a crucial international partner in diverse areas to include economic and social dimensions. Therefore, it is not surprising that the country was the chosen place to launch the first World Family Summit, ten years ago, by the World Family Organization, the Minister of National Population and Family Planning Commission of China, and with the participation of the United Nations.
As you know, in 2004 Doha was the host of the International Year of the Family to mark the 10th anniversary of the International Year of the Family and adopted the Doha Declaration on the Family under my good offices.
In 2004, the World Family Summit was created with the intention of reviewing and evaluating the goals accomplished since the 1994 International Year of the Family, but also in view of implementing the United Nations Millennium Declaration, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – which is to end by the end of this year – and the International Conference on Population and Development program of Action.
Throughout this decade, the World Family Summits, which orderly took place in China, Brazil, Jordan, Poland, Egypt, Turkey, France, Abu Dhabi, and Germany – served as the beacon in realizing the efforts of strengthening and promoting a strong Family policy language. The World Family Organization very well understood that if we are to live in a world where the eight goals of the MDGs are to be realized, we have to include families in the development of our policies at both local and international levels.
It is now undeniable that men, women and children are at the heart of the issues and provide meaningful contributions when it comes to poverty and hunger – particularly through migrations and to education as recently highlighted by H.E. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in his December 2013 message regarding the preparations for the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family.
While the main purpose of the precedent editions was to promote Family’s contribution to the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals, this tenth edition, may I say, is very special and entails other additional particularities, respectively, the tenth anniversary of the World Family Summit, the 20th anniversary of the UN International Year of Families, and the achievements of the MDGs.
There is an intrinsic relationship between the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and Family, and we have early recognized Family as a fundamental agent for sustainable, social and cultural development. We believe that healthy and stable families provide significant economic, social and legal benefits for men, women and children. Families also play a fundamental role in social development because of the connection between well-functioning families and well-functioning societies.
Unfortunately, we are all accustomed to hear daily negative news about families; and the non-functioning of this unit has considerable costs. For instance, many examples in history and in contemporary settings – either through desired or non-desired migrations – have demonstrated that family breakdown threatens the well-being and proper development of future generations, and impacts the overall of society. Therefore, it is not surprising that the United Nations General Assembly designated the intergenerational problems of families, including poverty, one of the main themes to focus on for the celebration of the International Year of the Family in 2014.
The UNAOC was founded in 2005 as a political imitative and tool of preventive diplomacy to apply towards global tensions rooted in culture, identity, religion, and related to disparities and misunderstanding. With the focus of our work in the areas of education, youth, migration and the media, the Alliance has quickly become the foremost initiative advancing the rights of men, women and children that form our global society and we invest considerable energy in these areas that strengthen the kernel of families.
The relationship between the UNAOC and family was reinforced by my own experience. While serving as the 66th President of the UN General Assembly, I sought to promote the vital role of parents in the family within society by proposing the adoption of a draft resolution declaring June 1st as the Global Day of Parents, for THEY serve as the first educators of children and are the ones who teach children to be responsible citizens.
Our efforts are continuous and relentless.
As High Representative for the UN Alliance of Civilizations, I sought to continue promoting the idea of family. Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser, who heads the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community Development has become an essential partner of the Alliance of Civilizations in advancing educational developments and human capital.
Moreover, through the youth and education programs we have launched, we aim at empowering youth to reduce marginalization and to build inclusive societies through social enterprises; Thus, breaking the vicious cycle of intergenerational transfer of poverty and inequality. The UNAOC’s work remains in line with the recommendation of the UNGA to consider undertaking activities that support not only the objectives of the 20th anniversary of the International Year of the Family for 2014 but also onwards.
In the migration area, our programme is based on the notion that in a world of thin borders and rapid technological developments, diverse people are destined to interact with each other through continued migration. Pope Francis recently highlighted that the number of people moving regionally and internationally helps social and governmental cooperation at all levels. Migrations and demographic diversity represent an incredible opportunity for many countries. Nevertheless, migrations can also be a threat to families and represent an important external pressure on its members, as highlighted by the October 2014 Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in the Vatican.
The UNAOC has restated its high consideration of family and has recently agreed to participate to the World Meeting of Families under the theme “Love is our Mission: The Family Fully Alive,” organized by the Holy See’s Pontifical Council for the Family in September 2015 in Philadephia.
What we need today are comprehensive policies for migrants; policies that respect each members of families and, of course, meet the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals, for Family was essential in advancing the objectives of the Millennium Development Goals.
The technological innovations of our century also influence family. By the year 2020, it is advanced that over 50 billion of people will be connected to what is now called the Network Society. Our common duty is to find a way to help present and future families use the best of the network society to reinforce their members. For instance, some technological advances, which are already available, offer incredible leverage for families in the area of health and education. Men, women and children are now able to receive the assistance of health care experts in remote places, allowing better diagnosis and cures. As for education, you do not require the physical presence of a teacher anymore, especially in hardly accessible places. Remote schooling programmes have become available and effective ways to educate the future generations and to give them the necessary tools to create economic and social opportunities, as requested by the Rio+20 through the programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development in 2012.
As mentioned in the introduction, this TENTH edition of the World Family Summit is very special. The Tenth year anniversary of the Summit also celebrates the 20th anniversary of International Year of the Family. Therefore, it is the opportunity to refocus our thoughts and policies on the role of families in development for the Post-2015 Development Agenda. The current rapid socio-economic and demographic transformations will surely challenge families while strengthening and making them indispensable. In its resolution of July 25th, 2013, the UN Economic and Social Council encouraged member states to establish or strengthen – when necessary – relevant national agencies and governmental bodies of family.
Family is not only necessary for a proper and stable development of future generations but also in the advancement of the now closer Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. Because development fails when there is a shortcoming of ethics, values, and priorities, it becomes a requirement for families to help determining the success of their children’s social, personal and economic development, which consequently will become the stepping-stone for long-term sustainable global development.
The advancement of the Millennium Development Goals has unquestionably been facilitated by the resources of families, for a number of governments have demonstrated regional success by introducing family-based policies in the different regions of the world. Let’s mention that the World Family Summits include partners in over 180 countries, thus giving us the necessary leverage to implement the post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda.
The deadline of the MDGs may be at the turn of this year, but the goals – surely undertaken and highly advanced – remain to be completed by the international community and the Alliance of Civilizations has made them part of its priorities. Working together towards the Post-2015 development agenda does certainly pose a number of challenges, to include the different timelines of the processes and the various regional priorities.
Daniel Rose once pointed out that effective activities all have the same structure. “They have messages and messengers, specific agendas and vehicles to promulgate them.” It is clear to me, as it must be to you, that the World Family Organization’s agenda on Family is unambiguous and part of a larger development agenda that has been successfully spread for ten years.
Today our message is clear: To build the future we want we need to fortify our message – in this case the necessity of Family. We need to reinforce our messengers – who are you, me and all the families around the world. I truly believe that nothing is impossible when you are active rather than passive; when there is a concretive effort that plays a critical role in setting the stage for intergovernmental cooperation.”