Growing up Urban – Surabaya: Mayors meeting to discuss child friendly cities in East Asia

By 2030, some 30 per cent of children in East Asia – 800 million children - will live in cities. Their lives, and our collective futures, are likely to depend on how well urban environments provide for these children’s development and growth

07 May 2018
children in surabaya

To discuss ways to make cities safer and more sustainable for children, mayors, governors and urban planners from 10 cities across East Asia are coming together in Surabaya, Indonesia this week for a landmark meeting - ‘Growing up Urban: Surabaya’.

The ten cities present at the meeting represent a combined population of some 50 million people and experts predict their populations will continue to grow.

"Through this meeting, we are hoping to be able to discuss various problems faced by cities when creating safe and friendly environment for children," the Mayor of Surabaya Tri Rismaharini said.

"It is such a rare opportunity where mayors from different countries gather to share their experiences and hopefully inspire and benefit one another for many years to come," she added.

Key themes of this UNICEF-supported event include the impact of urbanization in two critical periods of growth, the early years and adolescence, and innovative ways to ensure cities are child-friendly for all, especially those living in poverty. The mayors will also seek to craft a vision for city planning that ensures cities become more inclusive as they grow, providing opportunities and benefits for each and every child to whom they are home. 

“The future for hundreds of millions of children in South East Asia will be in big cities. It is a highly-urbanized region with seven of the top ten most populous cities in the world,” said Karin Hulshof, Regional Director at UNICEF East Asia and Pacific.

“Cities can, and must, provide services that address all children’s needs and rights. Shared lessons about how cities can support young people to reach their full potential will yield massive dividends for children, for cities and for nations.”

Safe and sustainable cities are also an important pillar of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Agenda – the universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity made by world leaders in 2015. Sustainable Development Goal 11 - Making cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable -  requires all stakeholders to actively address urban risks, such as pollution, road accidents, drug-use and exclusion from basic health, education, social and child protection services.

“This event demonstrates Mayor Ibu Risma’s dedication to championing the rights of children and adolescents in Surabaya, Indonesia and beyond,” said Gunilla Olsson, UNICEF Indonesia Representative.

Media contacts

Christopher de Bono
Regional Chief of Communication
UNICEF East Asia and the Pacific
Tel: +66 (0)2 356 9406
Marc Vergara
Chief of Communication & Public Advocacy
UNICEF Indonesia
Tel: +62 21 29968140

Additional resources

screen grab of girl in youtube video

Growing Up Urban - Surabaya video


UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

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