The Political Network for Values
Summit 2014, United Nations, New York
Rodrigo Ivan Cortes Jimenez
International Coordinator
Network of EthicalPoliticalAction

Just a few years ago, an important European politician reflected about what should be the priority for public policy in his country. “Here is an easy question: What institution takes care of the ill, children and the elderly, supports workers and the unemployed, and provides the most satisfying relationships and precious memories for people? The answer is not the state of well-being; it is the family. This is the institution on which Great Britain counts for its well-being,” wrote David Cameron, who also asked himself, “What is the institution that, in so many cases, keeps families together? More than anything, marriage.”

The reflection of the now Prime Minister of the United Kingdom is true not just for his country. The most serious studies prove its validity world wide. Among these studies is one done by Mexican sociologist Fernando Pliego, who has many publications. One of them, for the Chamber of Deputies, “Types of Family and Well-Being of Children and Adults,” starts from the historical-social information of 13 democratic countries on four continents.  It offers proof that the stability of families, the formation of marriages between man and woman based on principles of solidarity and equality of rights, as well as the creation of beneficial conditions so an increasing number of children can live with their biological fathers and mothers are fundamental requirements to promote better well-being for the population.

Besides what has been mentioned, global and local entities, for ideological considerations more than rational, have not wanted to take the family into account as the key factor of development. For this reason, in the context of the 20th anniversary of the International Year of the Family and the respective discussions regarding the new Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations, also known as the Post 2015 Agenda, we hosted the Transatlantic Summit 2014 and founded the Political Network for Values at the United Nations headquarters in New York on this past December 5.

This effort is preceded and propitiated by a series of transatlantic dialogues called “The Values That Unit Us,” under the leadership of Jaime Mayor Oreja, in which politicians who give importance to the family and universal values meet in places like Brussels, Strasbourg, Madrid and Lima. We had gatherings in Mexico and Washington, where we decided to combine efforts to create synergy among the political capital of parliamentarian networks, such as the Red de Accion Etica Politica (Network of Ethical Political Action) from Mexico and the European network that Jaime Mayor leads, with the social capital of groups such as Red Familia de Mexico (Family Network of Mexico), the World Congress of Families, and the National Organization for Marriage from the United States, and the intellectual capital of experts such as the European Institute for Family Policy, Alliance Defending Freedom, and C-Fam.

This Summit and the foundation of the Network constitute a milestone in the efforts in favor of human dignity, the family and the common good, for many reasons. We achieved the decisive support of the Hungarian government, especially of their Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, and the Minister of Human Resources, ZoltanBalog.  Thanks to this support, it was possible to make the Summit happen inside the UN headquarters as a side event to the General Assembly.

More than 200 politicians, intellectuals and civil society leaders from Europe, Latin America, North America and Africa participated, including: Hungarian Minister Zoltan Balog; President of the Democratic Center Party and recent presidential candidate from Colombia, Oscar Ivan Zuluaga; American Congressmen Jeff Fortenberry and Chris Smith; Helen Alvare, important intellectual and professor at George Mason University; JanFigel, European Ex-Commissioner and Slovakian politician; Lisbeth Hernandez, Mexican Senator; Lucia Perez, Mexican Deputy; Liliana de Negre, Argentinian Senator; Chrisantus Wamalwa, parliamentarian from Kenya; Senator Luis Peral fromSpain; and others.

Together we shared reflections about the global agenda and examples of bestpractices of public policy at a local level. We adopted a decalogue of commitments and duties towards life, marriage, family, work and a just wage, religious freedom, and the right to conscientious objection. We signed and delivered the Declaration on the Rights of the Family (rightsofthefamily.org) to the General Secretary of the UN, Ban Ki-Moon.  The Declaration is signed by parliamentarians from all over the world, reaffirming the importance of the family and marriage between a man and a woman for thewell-being of children and adults.  Hence the necessity of strengthening the family and considering it a key element for sustainable development, looking back again to the spirit of the original UN Declaration of Human Rights, which mentions explicitly that, “the family is the natural and fundamental element of society and it has the right to be protected by the society and the State.” (Art. 16.3)

In thecontext of the reception offered by the Hungarian government for the Summit, the World Congress of Families gave the Family and Truth Award to Jaime Mayor Oreja.

With the Political Network for Values, we began an effort of political, social and intellectual synergy with a local as well as global perpective, following an agenda to favor life, the family and essential freedoms, committed to promoting and defending human dignity and the common good.