UNICEF Philippines - Media centre - Growing up Urban – Surabaya: Mayors meeting to discuss child friendly cities in East Asia

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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.

BANGKOK/MANILA, 6 May 2018 – 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. The Philippines will be represented by Zamboanga City Mayor Beng Climaco, Philippines Youth Representative Joshua Vargas and UNICEF Philippines Representative Lotta Sylwander.

The Philippines has a large urban population estimated at 44 per cent of the total population. There are 33 highly urbanised cities in the Philippines, four of which have populations of over 1 million. The largest is Quezon City with 2.9 million people and Zamboanga City being the 6th most populous.

“Rapid urbanization in the Philippines impact children’s lives as they face various threats to their well-being. Children in cities are exposed to pollution, violence, road traffic accidents, disasters and limited access to quality basic social services. Building safe and friendly cities for all children ensure that children in urban settings grow up in a protective environment that address these threats,” UNICEF Philippines Representative Lotta Sylwander says.

"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.



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