From 15-18 October 2019, UNICEF and the City of Cologne hosted the first international Child Friendly Cities Summit in Cologne, Germany. The Summit brought together more than 600 participants from more than 250 cities and communities, including mayors, local leaders, technical experts, children and young people to discuss innovative approaches to advance child rights through local commitment and to identify and exchange good practices at the local level.

More than 160 cities and communities have signed the Summit’s outcome document, the Cologne Child Friendly Cities Mayors’ Declaration.The Declaration is open for signatures for all cities and communities globally that are committed to child rights and creating inclusive, participatory and child-friendly cities and communities.

The Mayors’ Declaration is built on a manifesto called “Our cities. Our lives. Our future” presented in the Summit by children and young people. More than 120,000 children and young people from more than 160 countries contributed to the creation of the Manifesto, in which young people call for mayors and local leaders to create cities that are safer, more inclusive, healthier and greener.

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Resources from the 23 technical sessions and plenaries are available on the Resources page.

An international Summit – Why?

Childhood happens where children are at home – in their neighbourhood, their community, their city. Today, nearly one in three people living in cities and towns is a child. By 2050, almost 7 in 10 of the world’s children will live in cities.

But not all children and young people growing up in towns and cities have the same chances in life. For many children, cities can offer great opportunities and hopes for a better future. For others, the experience is all too often one of poverty, inequality, environmental hazards and even conflict.

The responsibility lies with local governments, civil society and all of us to lay the necessary foundations for cities and communities to fulfil the rights and needs of their youngest citizens.

The summit provides mayors, local leaders and civil society the chance to join hands and develop strategies to make their cities and communities a better place for children and young people.

Only by making cities and communities places where children feel safe, heard, nurtured and able to flourish can we ensure a bright future – for every child.