Growing up Urban: Surabaya

A meeting of mayors for child friendly cities



Representatives from 10 cities in East Asia, recognized for their catalytic roles and achievements in championing child rights in their cities, will come together in Surabaya, Indonesia to discuss how urban services, planning and budgeting can be improved to benefit every child

A meeting of mayors for child friendly cities

The meeting will take place in Surabaya, 6-8 May 2018 with representatives for 12 cities from across East Asia

Better cities, for every child

Hosted by the Mayor Ibu Risma, this meeting will bring together city leaders from across East Asia to facilitate:

  • discussing urban trends, risk and opportunities and how these impact the rights of children and women;
  • exploring partnerships, financing and innovative solutions towards ensuring child and adolescent responsive urban policy and planning;
  • crafting a vision how urban administrations in East Asia could prioritize action for all children, including young children and adolescents from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The 1.5 day meeting will host Mayors, Governors and other senior representatives of 12 city administrations delivering two main types of contributions: (1) short presentations prepared in advance which should offer insights into the urban challenges and city responses in large metropolitan areas as well as in relatively smaller but rapidly developing cities in East Asia today; (2) participation in general discussion following these pre-arranged contributions. A limited number of subject-matter experts will join the forum to share specific insights and stir further discussion especially on these interconnected issues:

  • equitable access to services for all children growing up urban, in the critically important early years and through adolescence;
  • adapting urban planning and budgeting for children living in urban settings, with attention on those living in poverty and/or part of marginalized groups.

The host

City of Surabaya logo
Mayors office
Mayor of Surabaya and host of the event, Ibu Risma

Mayor Ibu Risma

Ibu Risma is the current Mayor of Surabaya. She is both the first directly-elected and first female mayor in the city's history.

During her tenure, Surabaya has won a number of awards including the ASEAN Environmentally Sustainable City Award 2012 and the Adipura Kencana, the highest environmental awards in Indonesia. Mayor Risma was named as one of the 10 most inspiring women 2013 by Forbes Indonesia. She was also recently named one of the world’s 50 greatest leaders by Fortune magazine and was one of the top mayors listed last year by the City Mayors Foundation, an urban research institute. March 2016, she was awarded Ideal Mother Award 2016, at Cairo University, given by Islamic Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO).

Meeting Background

East Asia is one of the most highly urbanized regions globally. Home to both vibrant growth and emerging challenges, there is an inextricable link between the growth of safe and sustainable cities in East Asia and the wellbeing of the region’s children. The region is home to some of the fastest growing and most populated mega cities in the world. It is also experiencing dramatic growth in small and medium-sized cities where more than half of the urban population lives. By 2030 more than 70 percent of people living in the region will live in urban areas.

This shift creates incredible developmental opportunities across the region. Children and adolescents – whose personal, cognitive, physical and socioemotional development is powerfully influenced and ‘sculpted’ by the new urban experience – should be the clear winners of this urban century. Making urbanization work for every child will yield dividends for all citizens.

The 2030 Sustainable Development Goals is a globally agreed roadmap, with a universal agenda to leave no one behind. How can we make cities safe and sustainable for every child in East Asia, to ensure the urban advantage avoid becoming an urban penalty for millions of children? 

Making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable (Goal 11) implies addressing urban risks such as high exposure to air pollution, road accidents, flooding and other disasters, high living costs, drug-use, gaps in safety nets and exclusion from basic health, education, social and child protection services. Without community networks and protective factors such as traditional care systems, the urban child may be unable to access support when they experience violence, abuse or neglect. Without inclusive services, disability and gender-sensitive infrastructure, cities may exclude the opportunity and participation of every child. However, where urban agendas facilitate strong investments in holistic early childhood development and unleash the potential of adolescents’, where children grow up in safe and sustainable environments, free of poverty, stress and threats to personal security a virtuous cycle is created with immediate and long-term benefits to all.

A meeting of mayors for child friendly cities

The meeting will take place in Surabaya, 6-8 May 2018 with representatives for 12 cities from across East Asia