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Sep 26, 2014

Child-Friendly Municipalities Launched Today

UNCEF and partners launched today a Child Friendly Municipalities Initiative with a live broadcast in Belize City and simultaneous activities in all other municipalities. The idea is to provide infrastructure, amenities as well as the proper environment for children to be free, healthy and well-informed.  Duane Moody was a report from the Belize Elementary Auditorium. 

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

A child friendly municipality is a community where children are free and able to express their opinion on the type of city they want to live in. It is a city that ensures that all children, irrespective of their social economic or ethnic background has equal rights and access to health, education, shelter, social protection and social care. A community where children have access to clean water and sanitation, public space to recreate and a community free of violence and abuse. Today, at the Belize Elementary Auditorium, the Belize City Council along with the Ministry of Local Government officially committed Belize City to becoming more child friendly. It adds to the transformation of the city, many facets which Mayor Darrell Bradley says have already been in place. It will now include values and attitudes that will make youths feel empowered.

 

Darrell Bradley

Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor

“We are talking about involving young people in decision making specifically ensuring that young people are represented on various municipal committees. When we talk about infrastructure projects, are we involving young people in the design, are we thinking about safety, are we thinking about bike paths because we know a lot of young people don’t drive? Are we thinking about safety when it comes to our park facilities? Are young people enjoying the parks in a safe environment free of violence? Are we having conversations about domestic and other types of household violence? Are we engaging young people in decision-making processes? So essentially what it is, is that Belize City signals today that we are committed to involving young people in a very meaningful way when we go and do our planning.”

 

The Sustainable and Child Friendly Municipalities Initiative will allow the towns and the cities that have come on board to be certified after a three year period as a child friendly municipality.  It is the brainchild of the United Nations International Children Emergency Fund (UNICEF).

 

Ivan Yerovi

Ivan Yerovi, UNICEF Representative

“The Sustainable Child Friendly Municipalities is an initiative that is being implemented in several dozen countries in thousand of municipalities globally. This worldwide initiative has transformed into a movement and each year is gathering wider support from political leaders, civil society, organizations and many other entities, who are concerned with the well-being and rights of children.”

 

The success of the initiative will demand the assistance of private and public sector entities. It’s a collaborative effort with the Belize Mayor’s Association, the United Nations Development Project and the Ministry of Local Government. According to UN Resident Coordinator, Roberto Valent, endorsing this initiative will assist the country in achieving its millennium development goal with respect to youths.

 

Roberto Valent

Roberto Valent, UNDP Resident Representative/UN Resident Coordinator

“The priority areas for UN assistant and development cooperation includes advance human rights with equity, equality and non-discrimination, promote economic and social well-being; citizen security; environmental and natural resource management, disaster risk reduction and climate change mainstreaming as well as democratic governance. This initiative is a critical component towards creating and enabling environment for young Belizeans to utilize their human rights and empowering them as citizens of Belize.”

 

Godwin Hulse

Godwin Hulse, Minister of Local Government

“This child friendly city thing is supposed to make you prepared to take up our roles. You are the future. The children of the world will run the world one of these days. The same way we were children, now we are running the world in our own little sphere—the mayor in the city, I in one of the ministries and other people in their respective capacities. But somebody has to help us to grow up. I had to be helped to grow up. I couldn’t do it on my own. I couldn’t feed myself, I couldn’t find mi own food.”

 

Signing ceremonies were held simultaneous in all municipalities across the country. Duane Moody for News Five.

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