The family is not only the fundamental group unit of society, but is also the fundamental agent for sustainable, social, economic and cultural development. 2014 is an important year for the family as it is the twentieth anniversary of the International Year of the Family proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1994. 2014 is also important for us because we commemorate the tenth anniversary of the Institute of Advanced Family Studies at the Universitat Internacional de Catalunya. For these two reasons, we decided to promote the edition of this volume on a topic of great importance and relevance.
The family is a cornerstone to achieve a sustainable development of society through the Millennium Development Goals proposed by United Nations. At the same time, family also occupies a central place in the development strategy of the European Commission for Europe 2020 (Europe 2020 Growth Strategy). The achievement of these goals, especially those related with the eradication of poverty, education of children, especially girls, and reduction in maternal mortality, depends on how families are empowered to fulfill their numerous functions.
Families are at the center of sustainable development and it is important to ensure that families are an integral part of the post 2015 development agenda. In this book, the authors stress the importance of designing, implementing and monitoring family-oriented policies, especially in the areas of poverty eradication, full employment and decent work, work family balance and social integration, the promotion of healthy intra-family relations and intergenerational solidarity.
The Research Agenda of United Nations raises the importance of addressing complex issues such as the family from a multidisciplinary perspective. It is for this reason that this book had this perspective from the first moment. More than twenty scholars from around the world and from various scientific fields and disciplines such as economics, social sciences, law, and education among others have contributed to this book, discussing the importance of the family as an agent for social change and sustainable development. Their contributions have been divided into two parts. The first contributions address the family as an element of economic and social development, while the second part examines the role of the family as a basis for the human capital formation.
Since the beginning of its activities, the Institute of Advanced Family Studies has focused on the family in general, and more specifically on family policies. The aim of the Institute is to conduct research, teaching and dissemination of knowledge. The publication of this book is the result of one of the lines of the IsFamily Santander Chair on family solidarity, created in 2013 with the support of Banco Santander, entity known for its high level of commitment to universities through the Santander University program. The studies that are carried out under the Is Family Chair have a cross-disciplinary perspective and consider the family to be a field in which resources are transferred between generations, focusing on three of its fundamental aspects: the economy, healthcare and caring for people, and education. One of aims of the IsFamily Chair is to generate scientific knowledge and actions in order to propose social policies that will facilitate families being able to undertake these intergenerational processes.