The Municipality of Heraklion signs a Memorandum of Understanding with UNICEF to promote and enhance Child Rights

The collaboration aims to prevent violence against children and gender-based violence and promote the child rights agenda at municipal level.

24 May 2024
The Mayor of Heraklion, Dr. Alexis Kalokairinos and the UNICEF Representative in Greece, Dr. Ghassan Khalil.
L-R: The Mayor of Heraklion, Dr. Alexis Kalokairinos and the UNICEF Representative in Greece, Dr. Ghassan Khalil.

ATHENS/HERAKLION, 24 MAY, 2024 — Mayor of Heraklion, Alexis Kalokairinos, and UNICEF Representative in Greece, Dr. Ghassan Khalil, signed a Memorandum of Understanding in the Municipality of Heraklion on Thursday, to prioritize child protection and strengthen child rights at local level.

The two parties agreed to work together towards achieving shared objectives, such as promoting  child protection in the Municipality with a special focus on preventing violence against children and gender-based violence, the overall strengthening of child rights, with emphasis placed on the most disadvantaged children and communities, as well as preventing and combatting childhood obesity. 

The Mayor of Heraklion, .Dr. Alexis Kalokairinos, stated during the signing ceremony: "The issues of the agreement we signed today with UNICEF are related to the prevention of violence against children and gender-based violence, as well as more generally to the care of children and vulnerable groups. The content of the agreement is mainly about consultation, support and synergies that we can acquire in the future. We believe that our cooperation with UNICEF will be a very good basis for future actions, as we are the first Municipality in the country to sign this MoU and we are extremely sensitive on these issues, having pioneered the operation of care facilities at the local level –which is  an ongoing bet—with  the aim to maximize their performance  to reached desired results." 

UNICEF Representative in Greece, Dr. Ghassan Khalil, said: "UNICEF is happy and proud to sign this agreement with the Municipality of Heraklion, under the leadership of the Mayor and the efforts of the entire team.  The promotion of Children's Rights is extremely important, as UNICEF will prioritize what we have agreed today, and what we intend to implement together will be disseminated to all municipalities. It will be an excellent collaboration that will highlight how municipalities can promote and protect the rights of every child in society."

More specifically, the collaboration between the two entities will include:  

-Strengthening child protection capacity 

-Exchange of tools and methodologies for the timely identification and assessment of children, aiming to limit the separation of children from their families when this is in their best interest.

-Focus group discussions for the empowerment of social services in implementing child-centered, holistic approaches to the protection of children and their rights.

-Joint activities aimed at preventing and combating obesity in children 0-17 years old, as part of the National Action against Childhood Obesity, implemented by the Ministry of Health and UNICEF.

In addition, the Municipality will support UNICEF’s collaboration with the University of Crete for the establishment and operation of a Child Rights Center which will be integrated into the University, as part of UNICEF's broader collaboration with academia.

The collaboration between the parties will establish designated working groups monitoring the development and implementation of the above actions, including joint advocacy and awareness-raising activities. 


Media contacts

Danai Leivada
Communication Associate (Press)


The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child around the world. 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, and all children, everywhere.

UNICEF is financed exclusively by voluntary contributions from individuals, the private sector, foundations and UN member states, including the EU. Donor support is crucial as we create a global alliance for reaching every child without any exception.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children in Greece, visit the UNICEF Greece website here.

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