|The presidents of the five municipalities have joined the ‘Child Friendly Cities’ initiative to mobilize all stakeholders to design and implement municipal development plans, which will take into account the priorities of children and youth.|
RABAT, Morocco, 17 December 2009 – As part of activities commemorating the 20th anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the presidents of five pilot municipalities have signed a commitment aimed at creating a ‘Child-Friendly City’ (CFC) by 2011.
“The CFC initiative comes at a strategic time for Morocco,” explained UNICEF’s Deputy Representative in Morocco Jean Benoit Manhes.
The commitment was made during a ceremony chaired by President of the National Observatory of the Rights of the Child, Her Royal Highness Princess Lalla Meryem of Morocco.
Using the CRC to manage local affairs
Developed with UNICEF support, the CFC initiative aims to involve villages, towns and cities in the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in the management of local affairs.
The CFC initiative provides universal references that have been adapted to the context of Morocco. It is led by the Directorate General of Local Authorities (Ministry of Home Affairs) and UNICEF.
A commitment to inclusive participation
The presidents of the five municipalities said they want to join the CFC to help design and implement municipal development plans that will take into account the priorities of children and youth. These municipalities include rural and urban areas to reflect the diversity of children’s various environments.
The CFC will also promote children’s education and citizenship as well as community integration and participation.
“Too often, implementation of international conventions is seen only as a central government responsibility, while major decisions that will impact the daily life of children and youth will be taken at a communal level,” explained Jean Benoit Manhe.
A commitment for results
The municipalities have thus made a firm commitment to increase participation and listen to children and young people to promote the implementation of child rights.
They will share their initiatives and their progress every year during the ceremonies organized by the National Observatory of the Rights of the Child on the occasion of the National Day of the Child and the International Day of the Rights of the Child.
The launch of this new initiative is the conclusion of a long effort, which began in 2002, between the Ministry of Interior and UNICEF, and with the municipalities at the local level. This effort developed a model of participatory municipal planning, sensitive to children’s rights.
The CFC initiative brings this effort even further, giving a stronger voice to children and youth while providing a comprehensive framework for all stakeholders responsible for the implementation of child rights. It is hoped that this CFC initiative will serve as a model for other countries.
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