31 October 2023

Child-responsive urban policies, laws and standards: A guidance

UN-Habitat and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) have developed this Guidance on Child-Responsive Urban Policies, Laws and Standards to support governments at all levels to create urban spaces where children can access basic services, clean air and water; where children feel safe to play, learn and grow, which includes ensuring their voices are heard and their needs are integrated into public policies and decision-making processes. The guidance highlights the important role that policy and legislation play as drivers of change; they set normative standards and minimum expectations for duty-bearers in all aspects of children’s life, survival and development. Hence, the rights and interests of children in the urban context should be considered and mainstreamed in planning, financing, administrative and structural reforms at all levels of government, including at the local level. Thus, this tool contains a succinct but comprehensive summary of the best practices, country-specific, practical examples, including a set of global child-rights frameworks that are necessary to grant children equal value and to guarantee them the necessary protection and opportunities for participation. This guidance has been developed in such a way that it is useful for governments at all levels, children-led institutions, young peoples’ associations, sectoral institutions, urban practitioners, non-state actors, and community-based organizations and children. 
26 January 2023

Strategic note on UNICEF's work for children in urban settings

Progress in urban areas is vital to achieving outcomes for children. In 2020, around 56 per cent of the world’s population – some 4.4 billion people – lived in urban areas, of which 1.18 billion were children. That figure is set to rise to 70 per cent by mid-century, with over 90 per cent of the growth taking place in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Due to this rapid urbanization, many children end up in slums and informal settlements without access to services and protection. The estimated number of children living in slums is 350 to 500 million, which is set to triple by 2050. To address issues of rapid urbanization, complex urban governance, and the associated equity and inclusion challenges, UNICEF is strengthening, revamping, and scaling up its programming in urban areas. The following priority areas reflect the outcomes of UNICEF’s work for children in urban settings, including in humanitarian and fragile contexts: Priority 1: Data and evidence  Disaggregated data about children inform decisions at the local level. Priority 2: Local/city governance for planning, budgeting, and financing  Local development policies, strategies, plans, and budgets are child responsive. Priority 3: Community engagement/empowerment  Communities, children, and adolescents have a say in decisions at the local level affecting their lives. Priority 4: Access to services  Delivery of social services at the local level is effectively coordinated. Priority 5: Urban planning  Urban spatial plans are child responsive. Priority 6: Humanitarian crisis in urban areas Urban governance structures are strengthened to respond to crises effectively.
29 June 2020

Global annual results report 2019: Goal Area 4

UNICEF works to safeguard the right of all children to a safe and clean environment both in times of stability and crisis. Under Goal Area 4 of the UNICEF Strategic Plan, 2018–2021, programming is grouped under five output areas: water supply, sanitation, disaster risk reduction, children in urban settings and environmental sustainability. In each of these areas significant progress was made in 2019.   In 2019 UNICEF helped over 18 million people gain access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services through development programming and over 39 million people through emergency response, while expanding community handwashing promotion efforts to 90 countries and providing WASH services in thousands of schools and health centres. Working with partners, UNICEF also helped to build national WASH capacity and systems in countries around the world.   UNICEF also encouraged stronger linkages between humanitarian response and sustainable development to improve the resilience of communities, increased engagement in urban areas and with local government partners, and undertook a major expansion in climate resilience programming.    WASH COVID-19 pandemic response was initiated at the end of 2019, the year covered by this report, and has since expanded into a world-wide effort, focusing on guidance and supplies for hand washing with soap, along with support for WASH services in communities, schools and health-care facilities. This report summarizes how UNICEF and its partners contributed to Goal Area 4 in 2019 and reviews the impact of these accomplishments on children and the communities where they live.
20 January 2020

Global Framework for Urban Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

The world is rapidly urbanising, swelling impoverished urban settlement populations – exacerbating exclusion and inequality in access to WASH services for the poorest and most marginalised children and their families. As of 2018 an estimated 4.2 billion people, or 55 per cent of the global population, were living in urban areas. A third of them were children, and about 300 million of these children were living in slums – the worst form of informal settlement. The need for an increased focus on urban WASH is driven by this increasing number of vulnerable children and their families living in poor urban environments across the world: deep and profound inequalities within urban areas mean that many children living in slums and other impoverished urban settlements are being deprived of their right to water and sanitation, with serious implications on their survival, growth and development. UNICEF’s Global Framework for Urban WASH creates a common vision for UNICEF’s approach to urban WASH programming: it will enable country, regional and global WASH teams to have a clear and shared sense of direction and purpose, as the organisation increases its engagement supporting the most marginalised urban children and their families. The Framework is based on UNICEF’s experiences in urban WASH programming in over 50 countries. It is structured around three areas of support: sector-level, service-level and user-level support, with suggested entry points and activities for engagement in urban WASH. The Framework also considers three different urban contexts: urban slums, small towns and urban areas in humanitarian and protracted crisis settings, focusing on areas where UNICEF can add value, in line with the organisation’s equity agenda.