SAN SALVADOR, 1 August 2003 On July 30th, 2003, San Salvador, the capital city of the Central American country of El Salvador, was declared a “Child Friendly City”. According to the formal agreement signed between the Mayor of San Salvador, Carlos Rivas Zamora, and a child representative from the capital, Fátima Marielos Navarrete, the most important city of El Salvador will now guarantee the development of local activities focused on the promotion of children’s rights. UNICEF also signed the agreement as a witness to the proceedings, and to the commitments made by both the Municipal authorities and the children of San Salvador to promote co-operative actions and focused programming on behalf of children in the city.
The agreement was signed in a hotel with the presence of children, parents, members of the Municipal Council of San Salvador and the local press, among which were two teenage reporters from a local televised children’s programme.
During the event, Rivas Zamora also announced the beginning of the “Fiestas Agostinas”, a weeklong celebration in the name of the capital’s patron: “el Divino Salvador del Mundo”. This year, the “Fiestas Agostinas” will also be dedicated to Salvadorian children. The mayor explained that, parallel to the religious activities, there would be parades and street theatre that will reflect child and youth related themes and promote children’s rights.
This is a very special day that will be remembered in the history of El Salvador because, for the first time, our capital is dedicating its Fiestas Agostinas to us, and San Salvador is being declared a Child Friendly City − a commitment that we’ll sign with the mayor”, said the 11 year old child representative
According to the agreement, among the commitments adopted by Rivas Zamora are “to recognize, through local policies and municipal agreements, that all members of the population from 0-18 years of age have rights” and to “destine municipal funds to create a budget that would be used for the progressive investment of social development programmes that directly benefit children and adolescents, particularly those currently disadvantaged in the context of local development plans". For their part, the children signed a commitment to “respect the municipal government and to support its work through participation in decision making meetings”, as well as to “support municipal policies, developed by the local government, that seek the eradication of child exploitation".
“We trust that the rest of the municipalities follow San Salvador’s example and that they will take into account the important role that children play in the society. Remember, we are not the future, we’re already here”, affirmed Navarrete amidst applause from other 20 children of different ages that were present.
San Salvador is the second “Child Friendly City” in this Central American nation. Parallel to this, and spurred by the example of San Salvador, it is expected that other local governments will adopt the commitment to work, with the children, for the defence of children’s rights.