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UNICEF has published a handbook on building child-friendly cities as part of its global ‘Child Friendly Cities’ initiative.
The handbook and accompanying website are intended to provide a practical guide enabling cities to take steps to ensure that children’s fundamental rights are protected and considered in city planning.
Around a third of the 4 billion people living in urban areas worldwide today are children. Cities considered to be ‘child-friendly’ are those which implement the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child at local level.
The Child Friendly Cities Initiative aims to help cities achieve this in practice by providing resources and guidance for cities aiming to consider children’s rights in all areas of public policy. This includes, for example by collecting data and monitoring progress on indicators relating to child wellbeing; taking into account children’s rights in strategic planning, legal and policy frameworks and budget allocation; and taking part in advocacy and awareness-raising about child rights.
The handbook provides a step by step guide to cities wishing to attain ‘Child Friendly’ status. It outlines the actions that need to be taken to achieve this and provides exemplar documents, such as a Theory of Change framework, while leaving room for adaptation to local circumstances and priorities.
Cities that are able to demonstrate that they secure children’s rights within their jurisdictions and ensure youth participation and non-discrimination can be awarded ‘Child Friendly’ status by the initiative. This allows cities access to guidance, resources and partnerships with other ‘Child Friendly’ cities. Local initiatives have been launched in Austria, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, Spain, and the UK (all of which have participating municipalities), and initiatives are in design in Poland and Sweden.
This initiative aligns with other initiatives being developed worldwide to facilitate the creation of Child Friendly Cities. Notably, the Bernard van Leer Foundation have been working with governments to make cities child-friendly as part of its Urban95 programme, including the development of city dashboards to monitor child wellbeing indicators.
The European Platform for Investing in Children (EPIC) also collects examples of evidence-based practices being used by municipalities, governments and private organisations to improve child wellbeing and outcomes.
This news item was written for the European Platform for Investing in Children (EPIC).