3300 representatives from family associations in over 60 countries around the world attended the IV World Congress of Families, which took place in Warsaw from 15th-17th May 2007.
The delegates all signed up to the Warsaw Declaration, which calls for family-oriented policies to be placed on the public policy agenda. This declaration asks for national leaders and political bodies to: protect all human life from the moment of conception to the moment of demise; insist on children’s upbringing and education being recognised as a fundamental right of parents; protect young people from losing moral values; and put in place financial solutions that enable all families to live in decent conditions.
In light of the Warsaw Declaration, the conference delegates have called for 2008 to be declared the Year of the Family.
'The family is active'
Lola Velarde, president of the European Network of the Institute for Family Policy, who coordinated the conference, said: “The family does not merely exist but it is active. The family has grasped that the 21st century is the Century of the Family and has decided to take up a position. This is one of the conclusions we can draw from the IV World Congress of Families that has just taken place in Warsaw.”
The conference had the support of over 100 MEPs from more than 21 countries, and other politicians including Polish President Lech Kaczynski and Deputy Prime Minister Roman Giertzch.
'Family is greater than the state'
The religious background to the conference was also noted by Lola Velarde, who commented: “once again, different cultures and different religious confessions are in agreement that the family plays an irreplaceable role as a nucleus of love and support, and have reaffirmed the value of each human life from the moment of conception”.
On the closing day of the Congress, a letter of support from Cardinal Alfonso López Trujillo, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family in the Vatican, was read out, which emphasised the need for unity between Christians, Jews and Muslims to ensure that the family is protected and favoured by global legislation. The Cardinal added, quoting Aristotle, that “the family is older than the State and greater than the State”, and emphasised that the priority must be working towards all legislation in all countries giving support to the family.