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Population and the role of the family, statement made at the Scientific Conference on Family and Population, sponsored by the International Union of Family Organizations, Hanasaari, Espoo, Finland, 26 May, 1984.
New York, N.Y., UNFPA, . 5 p. (Speech Series No. 112)The family is the fundamental guarantor of the past, present and future of society. The social norms and values of a culture are transmitted from generation to generation through the family. Through the family, fresh influences are modulated and filtered and eventually harmonized with accepted norms. It is a highly influential instrument of social change. The family is also the guardian of social stability. In many developing countries the major social change affecting the family has been the fall in fertility which has been going on since the mid-1960s and has become a definite trend. The implication of lower fertility is that the nuclear family will become more socially significant than the extended family. This raises questions such as the role and care of the elderly, and women's role as workers outside the home. 2 main considerations are imbedded in the recommendations to the International Conference on Population in 1984: 1) that free choice in the size and spacing of the family is a basic human righ and that access to informatin and the means of family planning is a part of that right; 2) that it is the right and responsibility of governments to develop and implement population policies in the context of national development goals. These twin principles of respect for the rights of individuals and respect for national sovereignty are fundamental to all international agreements and action in population.