The Child Friendly Cities initiative in Spain (Ciudades Amigas) was launched in 2004 by the UNICEF Spanish Committee, jointly with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces and the Local Network for Children’s Rights. It is a certification strategy in which cities and towns engaged in the process of becoming child friendly receive an award based on the assessment of actions implemented in favour of children’s rights. The call for the accreditation is launched every two years. The recognition obtained lasts fours years but the accredited towns are confirmed every two years after their concrete progress is reviewed.

To obtain the “Child Friendly Cities” recognition, the city/town needs to have met the following requirements:

A city-wide children´s action plan, including a budget
A brief report on the actions and activities undertaken within the plan
The creation of a children and young persons´ council, detailing its role and budget
A brief report on the structure, functions and actions being undertaken by the council
A formal application by the maximum authority of the municipality for CFC recognition
An official adhesion of the full city/town council meeting, expressing acceptance of bearing the costs of processing the application

An inter-institutional jury including members of the participating entities (government, UNICEF, children and experts) analyses the documents, filtering them through 138 indicators, and assesses the overall strategy/plan implemented and the functionality of the children’s councils. The evaluation grill is not an exhaustive tool in the assessment process, as an overall analysis of actions implemented is conducted. Special emphasis is placed on reduction of poverty and exclusion, child participation, urbanism and environmentally friendliness.

A very important tool which was developed for cities is the questionnaire. It contains indicators grouped into eight categories:

1.   General information about the municipality
2.   Health
3.   Education
4.   Culture and leisure activities
5.   Environmental sustainability
6.   Family life
7.   Cooperation for development
8.   Children’s participation
The questionnaire contributes to providing a snapshot of the situation of children at the beginning of the process but it is also used as an instrument for monitoring and evaluation. The indicators contained have just been reviewed to be adjusted to cities with less than 50.000 inhabitants.

In addition to the CFC award, there is a special recognition for cities and towns that have implemented good practices in one of the following 8 specific categories:

1.   Right to participation
2.   Right to health
3.   Right to education
4.   Right to enjoy a healthy environment
5.   Right to leisure and free time
6.   Right to living in a family environment
7.   Right to live in a tolerant and multicultural society
8.   Innovative cross-cutting actions
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