Child Friendly Cities Initiative
UNICEF is working closely with a variety of partners at a local level who wish to make their cities and communities more child-friendly
For the first time in history, the majority of the global population lives in urban centres, large, medium and small. Of the 4 billion people living in urban areas today, nearly a third of them are children. It is estimated that by 2050, almost 70 per cent of the world’s children will live in urban areas, many of them in slums. In Greece, an estimated 80% of the total population, including approximately 1,5 million children, live in urban centres.
Cities can present great opportunities and hope for a better life. They generate over 80 per cent of global GDP and are increasingly considered engines to achieve development. They are among the world’s strongest sources of growth and innovation, diversity and connectivity and can potentially provide great opportunities for children to live, learn and thrive.
Cities may also offer greater access to basic services like schools and hospitals. However, social and economic inequalities and high admission costs can leave many urban children unable to access them. Other challenges that affect children living in urban areas include the lack of affordable and safe housing, limited access to public transport, high crime rates, increased outdoor air pollution and lack of green spaces.
The demographic shift to urban areas and linked challenges and opportunities is causing us to rethink our cities, and to reconsider our collective roles and responsibilities, as well as those of our leaders.
Imagine a city where every child would like to live!
The Child Friendly Cities Initiative (CFCI) 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 that brings together government and other stakeholders 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.
The initiative was launched in 1996 by UNICEF and UN-Habitat to act on the resolution passed during the second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) to make cities livable places for all. The UN Conference declared that the wellbeing of children is the ultimate indicator of a healthy habitat, a democratic society and of good governance.
UNICEF Greece Country Office launched the CFCI in May 2021, with the capital city of Athens being the first municipality to join the CFCI network. As of January 2022, a total of 6 municipalities have signed Memoranda of Understanding committing to the implementation of the CFCI pilot for an initial period of three years.
- Eastern Samos
- What is a UNICEF Child-Friendly City?
It is a city:
- that is committed to fulfilling child rights as articulated in the Convention on the Rights of the Child;
- where the voices, needs and priorities of children are an integral part of decisions making processes influencing their lives.
- How does the CFCI work in Greece?
The CFCI in Greece seeks to strengthen the realization of children’s rights at the local level through a number of strategies including:
- Awareness-raising and Advocacy to raise awareness on children’s rights.
- Data collection and monitoring to measure progress of the program and its impact for children.
- Coordination and Partnerships with third parties in the framework of the CFCI implementation.
- Communication through local print, radio, television and social media to promote CFCI activities.
- Planning for Children. Municipalities and UNICEF Greece agree to define objectives, activities, indicators and draft an Action Plan and an indicative, non-mandatory, budget allocation for each area of collaboration.
The decision to join the CFCI is approved by the Municipal Council of each Municipality and the CFCI MoUs are signed by the respective Mayor. Each municipality appoints a focal point or a team of focal points to coordinate the implementation of CFCI. Municipalities carry out a Situation Analysis guided by a Self-assessment Tool [SA1] to identify existing child-friendly mechanisms and gaps. Informed by the Situation Analysis, each Action Plan is tailored to the needs, priorities and capacities of each municipality and is designed taking into account the existing financial and human resources and legal framework.
Progress will be monitored on the basis of the targets and indicators defined in each municipal Action Plan, while UNICEF Greece will accompany each municipality throughout the implementation of the Action Plan. Full Child-Friendly City Status shall be granted upon successful implementation of the Action Plan.
- Which thematic areas does the CFCI focus on?
The CFCI focuses on six thematic areas:
Resources & News
Child Friendly Cities Initiative (external website)
Child Friendly Cities and Communities Handbook (external PDF)
Athens becomes the first candidate Child-Friendly City in Greece (external link in Greek)
The city of Ioannina joins the Child-Friendly Cities Initiative in Greece (external link in Greek)
The municipality of Eastern Samos signs Mou with UNICEF committing to the wellbeing of every child (external link in Greek)
MoU signed between the municipality of Vari-Voula-Vouliagmeni and UNICEF (external link in Greek)