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The Family and Sustainable Development Goals PanelThe family is extremely important for social stability, and relevant to advancing all of the Sustainable Development Goals. How do stable and resilient families foster human development and social peace and prosperity? What family policies are conducive to sustainable development? Panellists in this session will give their perspective on the role of the family in peacebuilding, its impact on social stability and prosperity, and assess challenges in defining family policies for sustainable development.

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Lord Loomba Speaking




Moderator: Mr. Heiner Handschin, Director, UPF Office for UN Relations, Geneva 

Mr. Heiner Handschin is the President of the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification in Switzerland, and the Director of the UPF Office for UN Relations and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva. He is the CEO of FPF Assistance, a company providing care and nursing for elderly and disabled people. He is married to Carolyn Handschin, a father of seven children and grandfather of three.  Mr. Handschin graduated from the Teachers College of Zurich. He has a keen interest in Fine Arts and is a passionate painter.


Baron Rajinder Loomba CBE, House of Lords, United Kingdom   Video Link

Lord Loomba is a philanthropist, the Founder and Executive Chairman of the clothing company Rinku Group. He is a Liberal Democrat Peer in the House of Lords. From humble beginnings after he arrived in the UK in 1962, he built a retail empire with over 400 concessions throughout the country. He has dedicated his life to helping the plight of 245 million widows in the world through his charity, The Loomba Foundation, supported by Cherie Blair as President and Sir Richard Branson as Patron-in Chief. In recognition of his outstanding contribution to this global cause, he was appointed United Nations Founding Champion of the Circle of Widows Rights (June 2013). Lord Loomba has been the recipient of many accolades, including Asian of the Year Award in 1997 and the Forbes India NRI Philanthropy Award in 2012. He focuses on raising awareness and practical solutions for widows and their 500 million dependent children around the world. 

Mr. Harry Benson, Research Director, the Marriage Foundation, United Kingdom

Harry Benson has spent the last fifteen years researching, writing and teaching about marriage and family. He taught relationship courses to thousands of couples and is the author and originator of Let’s Stick Together, a pioneering relationship book and programme for new parents. His research papers on marriage and family breakdown have made front page news and his findings are regularly cited by media and politicians. He has written a stream of research papers and articles for the Marriage Foundation, a charity launched in 2012 whose aim is to be a voice for marriage. As Research Director, Harry Benson appears regularly in local and national media. He and his wife Kate have six children. 

Hon. Inga Bite, Member of Parliament, Latvia :  

Mrs. Bite is a lawyer and politician. She worked at the Supreme Court of Latvia until she became a Parliament member in 2011. She was re-elected in 2014. She holds a Master's Degree in Law from the University of Latvia and is currently involved in a doctoral program. As an elected parliamentarian, she has taken stands for the strengthening of the family, the protection of children, the respect of parental authority in children’s education, etc.

Mr. Antoine Renard, President, European Federation of Catholic Family Associations, France

Mr. Antoine Renard is French, married and father of three children, engineer and businessman in the railway industry. He is the president of FAFCE, the European Federation of Catholic Family Associations, an NGO with a participatory status at the Council of Europe. FAFCE represents families from 16 countries across Europe and promotes the family and its interests at the European level based on principles such as solidarity, subsidiarity, the common good and freedom of choice. Mr. Renard was a candidate for the political party “Force Vie” for the 2014 European elections. 

Hon. Ulviyya Aghayeva, Member of Parliament, Azerbaijan

Agayeva is married and has two children. She holds a PhD in Philology from the Azerbaijan University of Languages. She held various positions at the Department of Humanitarian Policy Issues of the Executive Administration of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Since 2015 she has been a senior staff scientist at the Nizami Institute of Literature of the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences. She is a member of the National Assembly of Azerbaijan for the 106th Tovuz-Gazakh-Aghstafa district and a member of the Azerbaijan Parliament's delegation to the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.

Hon. Ulviyya Aghayeva, Member of Parliament, Azerbaijan - Written Speech:

Dear participants of  the conference,  Ladies and gentlemen, 

First of all, I want to thank the organizers of this conference for affording us  an opportunity to debate on the problems existing in the world and on finding the solution for them. Now I think it is high time for humanity to strive for mutual cooperation for the sake of common human values and human development.

In recent years, terrorist acts in many parts of the world is the most dangerous threat to international peace and security. And it can't be classified into certain country, religion or race, and must be considered as the crime against humanity. The whole world, all humanity must strongly condemn such kind of crimes. Human and family values should be widely advocated among the young people.

Advocacy work should begin from families and educational institution . I mean beginning from kindergartens up to high schools. Because educational institution is the second family for each child, for each person. 

There is a big need for advocacy work of general values for a sake of development of humanity and for the future generations' living in peace and prosperity. 

The role of state in growing up of healthy youth has to be analyzed, noticeable voids must be eliminated and advocacy work must be strengthened  as well. Drug addiction among young people and violence against women in many countries are major concerns. No doubt that  in all countries a lot of work is being done to prevent spread of  drug addiction. But to make all efforts successful all voids have to be reconsidered.

In Azerbaijan, country I represent, in order to increase desire and interest of youth in sports, the state shows utmost appreciation, highly regards achievements of sportsmen, Olympic centers have been opened in all cities of Azerbaijan in order to stimulate interest of youth in the sphere of sport and to engage their leisure. We should all strive to strengthen and protect the institution of the family, as it is a primary and effective vehicle for the promotion of peaceful relations among the people around the world.

Protection of a family means protection of future generation. Factors able to  harm a healthy family - alcohol and drug addiction, inability to cope with the parental responsibilities, the conflicts between couples and crisis in the relations among parents and children negatively affect development of society. As I have already noted above , I consider that the strongest weapon capable to cope with all above-mentioned problems is propaganda.

The  most right place for implementation of strong and broad propaganda is educational institutions. Families with happy and stable relations positively impact on development of society. The people formed in such families have very strong feelings of love and mercy towards others. Protection of a family, family values means protection of future generations, protection of moral values. These values are heritage of our ancestors. And we have to transfer this heritage in the best way to future generation. Peace in the world starts from the peace in a family. Each person must do his best for achieving world peace as well as he does for providing peace in his own family.

To achieve peace, we have to be respectful to the culture, religion, history, to the past and present of each other. Part of state policy of all countries, I would stay most important part, should be based on these values. 

Today, I represent Azerbaijan. That is a state policy of Azerbaijan Government. Azerbaijan is a multinational country. For centures being situated at the crossroads of civilizations, cultures and religions Azerbaijan has been a natural bridge between Asia and Europe. And the most popular word nowadays - multiculturalism has always been the lifestyle in Azerbaijan and continues to be. Representatives of different religions, cultures, nations and ethnic groups have always been living in a peaceful atmosphere, in the environment of mutual respect, understanding and friendship. There has never been any conflict or misunderstanding on religious or national basis.

94% of Azerbaijan's population is Muslims. 6% Christians, Jews and representatives of other nations. There are 597 religious communities in Azerbaijan, 21 of them are non-Muslim nations. And they make and have been making their contribution to the development of our culture and country.

And that is a part of our state policy what leads to large scale development of friendly relations among nations living in Azerbaijan. To my opinion if all countries follow such policy there will be less conflicts in the world. It will help to combat with islamafobia and other problems on this basis. Holy catacombs in Rome has been restored with the support of Azerbaijan. This is for the first time in Vatican's history that Muslim country provides support to the restoration of holy Christian monuments in Rome. It confirms once again that Azerbaijan is a tolerant country. Such policy serves to the propagation and promotion of peace, tolerance and humanistic values and strengthening of relations among people and religions. Only being respectful to the culture, religion, history, to the past and present of each other we can achieve the peace and that will be the best guarantee for a sustainable development in the world.





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