What is a child friendly city?
A child friendly city is the embodiment of the Convention on the Rights of the Child at the local level, where children’s rights are reflected in policies, laws, programs and budgets. In a child friendly city, children are active agents; their voices and opinions are taken into consideration and influence decision making processes.
The UNICEF Child Friendly Cities Initiative is an initiative to provide resources, guidance, indicators and recognition of child friendly councils. Becoming ‘child friendly’ is a continuous process of innovation, monitoring and improvement for councils. The UNICEF Child Friendly Cities Initiative is about recognising councils for their ongoing efforts towards improvements and demonstrated impacts achieved in the everyday lives of its young citizens.
A Child Friendly City is actively engaged in fulfilling the right of every young citizen to:
- Influence decisions about their city or community
- Express their opinion about the community they want
- Participate in family, community and social life
- Be an equal citizen of their city with access to every service, regardless of ethnic origin, religion, income, gender or disability.
- Actively supports the vulnerable members of their community to engage with civil society and improve their circumstance
- Drink safe water and have access to proper sanitation
- Be protected from exploitation, violence and abuse
- Walk safely in the streets on their own
- Meet friends and play
- Have green spaces for plants and animals
- Live in an unpolluted environment
- Participate in cultural and social events
- Learn about their human rights in schools and community spaces
Local councils have a direct ability to impact the lives of children in their community. Most importantly, councils can actively foster community awareness and culture which recognises children and young people as equal citizens with rights, voice and an important contribution.
UNICEF Australia is currently piloting Child Friendly Cities Initiative in Australia to develop a best practice model. You can read more about the pilot here.