The Child Friendly Cities Initiative (CFCI) was launched in 1996 to respond to the challenge of realizing the rights of children in an increasingly urbanized and decentralized world. The initiative works by bringing together local stakeholders and UNICEF to create safe, inclusive and child-responsive cities and communities. The importance of cities and communities in policymaking that directly affects children has increased over the past two decades as the world has become an urban planet. Although national governments remain the primary duty bearers for realizing child rights under international law, recent years have witnessed a growing trend among mayors and local governments to support and speak up in favour of the most vulnerable groups living in their municipalities, including children and young people. The CFCI has been instrumental in encouraging local governments and other stakeholders to pay greater attention to meeting the rights and needs of their youngest citizens, and ensuring the latter’s participation in local decision making. The initiative operates in more than 3,000 cities and communities around the world and continues to expand every year. This growing interest has increased the demand for enhanced global direction and technical guidance from UNICEF. With more than 20 years of experience with the CFCI in different regional and country contexts, UNICEF has consolidated many good practices that inform this Handbook, together with a set of common challenges and lessons learned. These lessons have highlighted a pressing need to enhance the CFCI through better monitoring and evaluation of each of its cities and communities; through demonstrating the results that the CFCI brings to the lives of Preface children; through improved data and evidence; and by reinforcing its social inclusion components to ensure that it is reaches the children and young people most in need in each city and community. This Handbook is a succinct summary of the practices, common challenges and lessons learned. It contains a step-by-step guide to establishing a CFCI, which leaves adequate room for adapting and contextualizing the initiative to local structures, priorities and needs. The Handbook also presents a revisited Framework for Action to guide implementation, monitoring and evaluation, and a set of broad global minimum criteria aimed at streamlining the CFCI globally and providing the basis for the recognition of a “Child Friendly City”by UNICEF. As cities and communities continue to evolve, so will this Handbook. It will benefit immensely from the comments and queries of its users, and UNICEF welcomes this feedback, which can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. UNICEF also looks forward to hearing from stakeholders on how the CFCI is working in their city or community, and how it can be improved and strengthened to make UNICEF and cities and communities more responsive to the needs of the world’s children and young people, and more able to fulfil their rights
This article is culled from daily press coverage from around the world. It is posted on the Urban Gateway by way of keeping all users informed about matters of interest. The opinion expressed in this article is that of the author and in no way reflects the opinion of UN-Habitat.