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Sep 25, 2014

Child Friendly Municipalities Initiative Set to Launch

On Friday morning at nine o’clock, the Municipal Seal will be launched simultaneously across the country.  The initiative succeeds a meeting of mayors in May, during which it was agreed that the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, as part of the overall capacity building of cities and towns, is crucial to the implementation of the Convention of the Rights of the Child.  As such, all nine municipalities will embark on generating local participation in public policies to develop plans and budgets for children and adults through the establishment of child friendly municipalities.  The objective is to improve the lives of children by recognizing and realizing their rights, as well as strengthening the partnership between government and various human rights organizations with an aim to have local government lead the charge in implementing the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

 

Ilija Talev, Social Policy Specialist, UNICEF

Ilija Talev

“The Child Friendly Municipality is a concept that was started sometime in the nineties and it was a global movement, an initiative to make urban settings or cities child friendly and what is meant by that is that cities, growing cities and the expansion of cities that have an impact on children’s lives and the movement to make them child friendly was to essentially ensure that children’s rights, essential children’s rights and access to basic services is guaranteed at all times.  So the child friendly municipalities are designated child friendly because children living in these municipalities have an impact on their own lives and they have an impact on the decision-making process in that municipality or in that city.  In other words, children can actively participate in the decision-making, they can have access to green spaces, to spaces for playing and recreation but also to have access to services such as health, education and social protection.  They also have the opportunity to participate in family and community life.  A child friendly city is also a community that takes pride in being free from violence and abuse against children.  So, all of these things require sort of a concerted and organized effort by the stakeholders responsible: government, parents, but also the community leaders and the community itself.  We’re all involved and should be involved in making our cities child friendly and this global initiative is now being translated and taken onboard here in Belize and hopefully we are going to see and improvement in the quality of life of all children here in Belize upon the successful completion of the full implementation of this initiative in the country.”

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