UNICEF holds an Аnnual Мeeting of all Child Friendly Municipalities
Municipalities Tundzha, Pavel Banya and Shumen join the international initiative
SOFIA, Bulgaria, 25 November 2011 - A two-day annual meeting of the Child Friendly Municipalities in Bulgaria was held on 24 - 25 November, in Princess Dedeman Hotel, Sofia.
The meeting was attended by all 15 Child Friendly Municipalities and its task was to make a review of the initiative over the past year, identify its priorities for 2012 and plan near-term activities. New members joined at a ceremony within the meeting. UNICEF Representative in Bulgaria Tanja Radocaj awarded the title “Friend of the Child” to another three Bulgarian municipalities. The presentation ceremony was attended by UNICEF key partners from ministries, embassies and NGOs.
“The Child Friendly Municipality” Initiative is extremely important as it encourages the development of child potential on local level where children live and where they are reared. Each child is an individual who has rights and it is a responsibility of local authorities to promote awareness and protection of these rights. “Doing nothing is very costly whereas activities initiated by municipalities to guarantee the rights of children in local context have a far-reaching effect on children”, said Mrs. Radocaj as she addressed the Child Friendly Municipalities.
The new Child Friendly Municipalities are Toundzha, Pavel Banya and Shumen. Added to municipalities that are committed to children’s rights, the total number of Child Friendly Municipalities in Bulgaria swells to 15.
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The Child Friendly Municipality Initiative
It is a town, city, municipality or any local system of governance committed to ensuring children’s rights, It is a town where the voices, needs, priorities and rights of the children are an integral part of public policies, programs and solutions.
The Child Friendly Municipality Initiative aims at supporting the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child on regional level by creating a favorable environment for efficient protection of the rights of the children and enhancement of their well-being. The Child Friendly Municipality is based on the conclusions of the Conference (Habitat II) that the well-being of children is the ultimate indicator of a democratic society and good governance.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child that Bulgaria has ratified reads that the States Parties shall ensure to the maximum extent possible the implementation of these rights and the support to parents in child upbringing. While various services were developed in recent years to support children and their families, yet each municipality could become a better and more attractive place for child rearing and development as it builds on what is already in place.
The Initiative was launched in Bulgaria in 2008 as a Child Friendly Municipality by UNICEF Bulgaria. As a result 12 Bulgarian municipalities subscribed to the Initiative and in November 2009 were awarded the status of a Child Friendly Municipality. The three municipalities which joined on 24 November 2011 are Shoumen, Pavel Banya and Toundzha.