UNICEF Statement on making cities fit and safe for children
TBILISI, Georgia. 31 October 2022. UNICEF expresses its concern about the safety measures for children in public spaces in Georgia. The alarm was raised after the tragic accident that happened in Vake Park, Tbilisi on 13 October. Three children were victims of this accident and one of them died.
This tragedy draws attention to the safety norms and standards in public spaces in Tbilisi and in other cities and towns of Georgia where children’s security and safety might be jeopardized.
Through urban planning, all cities should provide safe and inclusive public and green spaces for children and the communities, where they can gather and engage in outdoor activities. Norms and standards, especially technical security of public amenities must ensure protection of users, be accessible from the standpoint of children, including the most vulnerable as well as and safeguard their safety and health.
Planning urban settings in a child-responsive manner begins with the understanding of how an urban setting can support and enhance the development of children. The right to play is fundamental for a child’s development and public spaces should guarantee a safe environment for children while playing or being engaged in outdoor activities.
Child-responsive urban planning focuses on increasing community safety through environmental planning, design, and infrastructure. It envisages improvements in lighting, landscape, visibility, natural access and surveillance, and other factors that discourage crime and encourage public use of space, as well as ensuring safe routes to and from school.
"UNICEF calls on national and local authorities, within their accountabilities, in coordination with specialists, civil society and private sector, to do everything possible to ensure the safety of children in public spaces and to support children in realizing their rights to survival, play, leisure, and development," - Ghassan Khalil, UNICEF Representative in Georgia
Relevant lessons should be drawn from this tragic accident by scrutinizing safety measures in existing public spaces and building new such spaces using child-responsive urban planning.
Cities in Georgia should be fit for children, so no such tragedies happen again.” says Ghassan Khalil, UNICEF Representative in Georgia.
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/