UNICEF designates Batumi city with a Child Friendly City Candidate Status
The Child Friendly Cities Initiative encourages local governments to pay greater attention to meeting the rights of their youngest citizens
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BATUMI, Georgia, 23 January, 2023. Batumi municipality was recognized as qualified to move to the next level of the Child-Friendly Cities Initiative process – becoming a Candidate City. The CFCI Candidate status was delivered to the Vice-Mayor of Batumi, Mr. Levan Davitadze by UNICEF Representative in Georgia, Dr. Ghassan Khalil.
In December 2020 one of the largest cities of Georgia – Batumi - joined 3000 cities and local communities in over 40 countries in the Child-Friendly City Initiative (CFCI), supported by UNICEF. The initiative outlined specific actions and milestones for Batumi to become part of the Child-Friendly City.
Within the framework of the cooperation between UNICEF and Batumi municipality, a situational analysis of child rights protection was conducted in Batumi, with high participation of children and families with children, as well as professionals working with children and service providers. A report reflecting the findings and recommendations of the situational analysis was prepared. The municipality developed the child-friendly city strategy of Batumi 2022-2025 and the action plan, based on the findings of the situational analysis.
Batumi municipality organized focus groups and discussions with children and young people, to guarantee a consultative format and reflect children’s opinions in the developed documents.
On its way to becoming the CFCI Candidate City, Batumi implemented a number of positive changes as per its child-friendly action plan:
- Batumi municipality allocated and renovated a child friendly room for 12-14 year olds in the youth center, which is equipped with support from UNICEF. During consultations with children and young people, access to gathering spaces and the creation of new spaces were identified as pressing needs.
- To ensure children’s right to social protection, Batumi municipality expanded social programs for vulnerable children and families with children, based on the needs assessment report.
- Promoting the development of informal education and youth activities is a priority direction of the action plan of the child-friendly city and youth policy of Batumi, within the framework of which the United Nations Children's Fund helps the center in supporting intellectual and cognitive projects of children and youth, promoting entertainment and recreation and introducing youth worker services.
- In order to increase the participation of children, the Batumi municipality created a permanent youth council, which consists of 15 members and represents the consultative body for the mayor regarding youth issues.
- Batumi municipality developed the youth strategy and action plan.
- As per the plan, by 2023, seven kindergartens are being built and five are being rehabilitated, 19 parks, 10 sports fields, and 7 children's attractions were created to promote children's play, quality family time, and development.
Building a child-friendly city is a continuous process and it includes advocacy and awareness-raising of child rights throughout government and society; enacting child-friendly laws and policies and assessing the impact of these on children; developing a city-wide strategic action plan with clear budget allocation and accountabilities for implementation; ensuring children get their fair share of resources; informing and involving children and youth and respecting their views and experiences; recognizing children and youth as partners and as individual human beings, rights-holders and equal, active citizens; cross-sectoral coordination and strategic partnerships to maximize the impact of child-friendly policies and programmes. Only after the successful implementation of the developed strategy and the plan of action, and meeting the recognition criteria, Batumi will officially be recognized as a Child-Friendly City.
The Child Friendly Cities Initiative is a UNICEF-led initiative that supports municipal governments in realizing the rights of children at the local level, using the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as its foundation. It is also a network which brings together government and other partners, such as civil society organizations, the private sector, academia, media and, importantly, children themselves who wish to make their cities and communities more child-friendly.
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.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/georgia/