Child friendly cities
UNICEF works together with government and partners to make cities and communities places where children feel safe, while being heard and nurtured.
Turkey is a highly urbanized country. As of 2019, 75% of the total population in Turkey live in urban areas. A growing economy and the search for better jobs and services have driven the population in Turkey to migrate into urban areas over past decades.
Recently, the influx of almost 4 million Syrian refugees – of whom 1.6 million are children – to several provinces also pushed the demand up for more public services and resources at the local level. In this context, particular local governance needs and priorities for children should receive special attention.
Globally, 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 and has expanded worldwide. CFCI is aligned with Sustainable Development Goals. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development -in Goal 11- specifically calls for making cities and human settlements safe, resilient and sustainable.
Reducing geographic, social and gender inequalities among children contributes to more equitable access to opportunities and services as well as reduce any social exclusion associated with child labor, migration and disability.
In Turkey, Child Friendly Cities and Communities Initiative (CFCI) started in 2014 in 10 provinces, to address challenges facing the most vulnerable children and adolescents in urban areas. UNICEF contributed to enhance the capacity of local administrations to promote policies in favour of the most vulnerable children and adolescents. Guidelines and training materials were developed and implemented to increase the capacity of municipalities in child participation, child rights programming, prevention of child marriage and child labour, as well as child focused strategy development, budgeting and resource allocation. In total, UNICEF has reached 40 provinces and 94 municipalities at varying levels of engagement, covering a combined population of nearly 2 million children indirectly.
UNICEF has implemented multi-sectoral workplans with four municipalities which have a combined population over 3.5 million Turkish citizens and about 600,000 refugees, including 1.3 million children
UNICEF also closely collaborates with the Union of Municipalities of Turkey (UMT) to make CFCI guidelines and training materials available to a wide range of municipalities across the country.