Child Friendly Cities: An initiative promoting child participation in local government

©UNICEF 2016

©UNICEF 2016

A ceremony was held today in Istanbul to mark the end of the first phase of the “Child Friendly Cities” (CFC) programme in Turkey. UNICEF, UCLG-MEWA and WALD, Union of Municipalities and Ministry of Interior, with the financial assistance of IKEA Turkey and the Turkish National Committee for UNICEF. This promising initiative supported efforts to make cities all around Turkey “child friendly”.

10 municipalities including Adana Yüreğir, Ankara Mamak, Bitlis, Erzurum İspir, İzmir Bornova, Kırklareli Lüleburgaz, Giresun, Manisa, Mersin and Şanlıurfa Eyyubiye have been part of this initiative so far.  The CFC initiative aims supporting municipalities to design programs that are in line with the needs and expectations of children and ensuring that they enjoy their rights to leisure and development. It also seeks to empower young citizens to influence decisions about their city, express their opinion on the city they want, and participate in family community and social life.

Creating a child friendly city

Young volunteers were selected to conduct a survey to identify the child rights violations and the gaps in provision of services for children at the municipal level. More than 10,000 adults, children, service providers and children were among the respondents of the survey. Action plans have been developed for each municipality based on in-depth analysis of the questionnaires. Training programmes for children, parents and service providers were developed on child participation, parenting skills and how to prepare child responsive budgets. Child friendly spaces, child streets and play grounds were designed and constructed to benefit children with and without disabilities.

Child Friendly Cities concept to expand to many municipalities

“Based on the success of the first phase, we are looking forward to expanding the Child Friendly Citites initiative to more municipalities which have expressed a strong interest in being part of it. UNICEF very much looks forward to working with those municipalities and our partners to ensure that a greater number of children can benefit from the CFC initiatives” said Philippe Duamelle, UNICEF Representative in Turkey in his intervention.

“We will continue our cooperation with the private sector to ensure the assistance and support that every child is entitled to” says Sanem Bilgin, Director-General of UNICEF Turkish National Committee.

Present at the meeting, Fuat Atalay, General Manager of IKEA-Turkey said, “As a brand setting out with the philosophy of better daily life for all, we deeply believe in our heart that doing good business absolutely requires undertaking responsibility for human beings and the environment. And our priority is children, our future. As IKEA- Turkey we are glad to be part of this project in which the government, private sector and civil society collaborates to strengthen the social agreement”.

Mehmet Duman, UCLG-MEWA Secretary General and Executive Director of WALD said: “To take our children to a brighter future where peace and democracy reign, we have the dream of building a world for and together with children. Hoping that you all have your contribution to each and every floor of this building of democracy…”

Also speaking in the meeting was Cevdet Sönmez, Deputy Secretary General of the Turkish Union of Municipalities: “Municipalities are service units most closely located to communities. As such they must consider the needs and requests of our children while planning for cities and facilitate their access to services.”

Child Friendly Cities Video: https://youtu.be/q1f5nWQvN_M