The International Year of the Family, 1994, was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly, in its resolution 44/82 of 9 December 1989.The theme of the Year is "Family: resources and responsibilities in a changing world". Its motto: "Building the Smallest Democracy at the Heart of Society".
In proclaiming the Year, the General Assembly decided that the major activities for its observance should be concentrated at the local, regional and national levels, assisted by the United Nations system.
The United Nations Commission for Social Development was designated the preparatory body and the Economic and Social Council as the coordinating body for the Year.
The family constitutes the basic unit of society and therefore warrants special attention. Hence, the widest possible protection and assistance should be accorded to families so that they may fully assume their responsibilities within the community, pursuant to the provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenants on Human Rights, the Declaration on Social Progress and Development; and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women;
Families assume diverse forms and functions from one country to another, and within each national society. These express the diversity of individual preferences and societal conditions. Consequently, the International Year of the Family encompasses and addresses the needs of all families;
Activities for IYF will seek to promote the basic human rights and fundamental freedoms accorded to all individuals by the set of internationally agreed instruments formulated under the aegis of the United Nations, whatever the status of each individual within the family, and whatever the form and condition of that family;
Policies will aim at fostering equality between women and men within families, to bring about a fuller sharing of domestic responsibilities and employment opportunities;
Activities for IYF will be undertaken at all levels - local, national, regional and international; however, their primary focus will be at the local and national levels;
Programmes should support families in the discharge of their functions, rather than provide substitutes for such functions.
They should promote the inherent strengths of families, including their great capacity for self-reliance, and stimulate self-sustaining activities on their behalf. They should give expression to an integrated perspective of families, their members, community and society;
IYF will constitute an event within a continuing process. Measures will be needed to ensure appropriate evaluation and progress made and obstacles encountered both prior to and during IYF, in order to ensure its success and adequate follow-up.