Child Friendly Cities Initiative
The Child Friendly Cities Initiative (CFCI) has been active in the Netherlands since March 2022. With the CFCI, the Dutch Committee for UNICEF brings together local governments to establish safer, more just, equitable, inclusive and child-responsive cities and communities. CFCI uses the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child as a framework to help local governments prioritize the needs of children and young people and secure their voices in local governance and decision making.
The initiative has two strategies:
- The first strategy focuses on raising awareness with local governments and the public about the rights of children and inviting municipalities to join the network, get inspired and take steps to make their community a more child friendly place for children.
- The other strategy focuses on collaborating with municipalities to work towards concrete results for children and recognition as a Child Friendly City. These municipalities will follow the full CFCI-program. They will conduct a situation analysis. Based on these findings, they will draw and implement an Action Plan that prioritizes the best interests of children and youth within their local policies and practice. After implementation and evaluation, a possible recognition follows.
The first cohort of municipalities that joined the CFCI-program starting in 2023 are Den Haag, Gooise Meren and Sint Eustatius.
The Dutch initiative draws on the strengths of existing local efforts to improve child well-being as well as on the strengths of existing networks and local or national organizations that aim to improve a facet of child well-being.
The Dutch National Committe for UNICEF provides expertise, convening power and global expertise and examples, to secure the rights of children in Dutch municipality to create a safe, healthy and happy childhood for every child.
For this purpose, a newsletter is distributed to inform municipalities and (local) partners about childrens’ rights, activities and good practices, presentations are given about the rights of children and (online) meetings are organized to stimulate dialogue between municipalities. On top of this, an exchange-program between municipalities from the Netherlands and Flanders (Dutch-speaking part of Belgium) is organized to learn from each other. Priorities for now are the implementation of the right to participation and how to create a child-friendly environment.