The World Family Declaration is an initiative of the World Congress of Families.
"We the people of many lands and cultures reaffirm the truth enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,1 and echoed in international treaties2 and many of our national constitutions,3 that “The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the State.” Hence the family exists prior to the state and possesses inherent dignity and rights which states are morally bound to respect and protect.
We declare that the family, a universal community based on the marital union of a man and a woman, is the bedrock of society, the strength of our nations, and the hope of humanity. As the ultimate foundation of every civilization known to history,4 the family is the proven bulwark of liberty and the key to development, prosperity, and peace.
The family is also the fountain and cradle of new life, the natural refuge for children, and the first and foremost school to teach the values necessary for the well-being of children and society. The family truly is our link to the past and bridge to the future.5
Children are our future, and we gratefully acknowledge the selfless service rendered by parents, grandparents, guardians, and other caregivers who provide opportunities, as prescribed in the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, for children “to develop physically, mentally, morally, spiritually and socially in a healthy and normal manner and in conditions of freedom and dignity.”6
Recognizing that, as stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance,”7 and, as stated in the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, every child should, “wherever possible, grow up in the care and under the responsibility of his [or her] parents,”8 we declare that a functional, nurturing family founded on marriage between a man and a woman provides the surest safeguard of the special care and assistance to which children are entitled.
Gravely concerned by the escalating calamities afflicting children and society due to the rapid decline of marriage and family, we recall the sobering observation that “throughout history, nations have been able to survive a multiplicity of disasters— invasions, famines, earthquakes, epidemics, depressions— but they have never been able to survive the disintegration of the family.”9 We affirm the ancient wisdom that the world cannot be put in order without first putting in order the family.10
We call for a culture that honors and enables faithful, fulfilling, and resilient marriages; that recognizes and protects the uniquely valuable contributions of both mothers and fathers to the lives of their children; and that encourages the values and vision necessary for young people to look forward to and prepare for successful marriage and parenting.
We call upon officials and policymakers, internationally, nationally, and at all levels of government, to immediately establish policies and implement measures to preserve and strengthen marriage and family.
We urge citizens, leaders, and people of influence everywhere to place as their highest priority the protection and strengthening of the family as the irreplaceable foundation of civilization and our only hope for prosperity, peace, and progress.