International Day of Families 2019: Family and Environment

The 25th International Day of Families was celebrated on 15 May. The UN decided to dedicate it to the topic of sustainability, with an interesting focus on family farming.

The topic of the 25th International Day of Families is extremely current: the role of families in the fight against global warming. After “families and inclusive societies” in 2018 and “Family, education and well-being”, in 2019 the UN decides to dedicate the International Day of Families to another SDGs 2030 objective, specifically to the thirteenth: Urgent actions to combat climate change and its impacts.

How to define this objective in relation to family? The UN has two specific areas of interest. The first one concerns the importance of family education for sustainable development and the inter-generational approach to sustainability. The second one concerns the Family Farmers, that the FAO defines as “a means of organizing agricultural, forestry, fisheries, pastoral and aquaculture production which is managed and operated by a family and predominantly reliant on family labour, including both women’s and men’s. The family and the farm are linked, coevolve and combine economic, environmental, reproductive, social and cultural functions”.

The challenges that must be faced are two: to fight against malnutrition and poverty and, at the same time, to grant a growth respectful of the environment. Therefore, it seems necessary to adopt a new paradigm, able to keep together food safety, social and economic sustainability and respect for the environment and safe work. It is not an easy challenge.

80% of global farming is carried out by Family Farmers and, especially in Asia and Africa, they are mostly poor families, highly exposed to the risks caused by climate changes: this is the reason why these families are directly involved in the global warming process. Furthermore, the indigenous population preserve the territories and the waters in which 80% of the global biodiversity is safeguarded. They represent the biggest source of work in the entire world and they produce a richness that remains in the territory, thus contributing to local economy.

Family Farming is an opportunity and a challenge: if adequately accompanied by tools and innovation, it could become not only an economic driving force, but also a driver of promotion of communities and networks of solidarity. Policies that require an integrated approach: the empowerment of Family Farming is not only accomplished through the work of the families, but also through the ability to increase the resilience of the small farmers facing the climatic events, and through the support of the governments and of the local and international agencies.

UN page of the International Day of Families:

FAO Full Report: