In 2016, the city of Shenzhen – which has 11.9 million residents – expressed an interest in joining the Child Friendly Cities Initiative. Shenzhen has included the goal of making the city child-friendly in its 13th Five Year Plan for Economic and Social Development which runs from 2016-2020 and published the Shenzhen’s Child Friendly City Strategic Plan 2018-2035.
The initiative has been jointly rolled out by the Municipal Government and the Shenzhen Working Committee on Children and Women. A local coordination mechanism and steering committee have been established to lead the process under the aegis of the Shenzhen Working Committee on Children and Women. To complement the 13th Five Year Plan a Child Friendly City Strategic Plan 2018-2035 and a draft Plan of Action 2018-2020 that outlines the objectives and activities of the initiative have also been developed. The Strategic Plan refers to the nine CFCI key components advocated for by UNICEF and contains three building blocks: social security for children, children’s participation and child-friendly urban space. In 2017 and 2018, the city initiated pilot projects in communities, schools, libraries, hospitals, parks and transportation areas to make them child friendly. Districts in the city have also started initiatives such as a community children’s council to ensure children’s participation, the promotion of the construction of child and woman friendly streets, and the inclusion of the construction of child friendly communities in the government’s livelihood and practical projects.
Interest in joining the Child Friendly City Initiative is emerging from other cities in China as well. In 2017, a Chinese delegation visited Switzerland and Germany to learn about CFCI and Changsha and Shenzhen participated in the Child Friendly Cities Summit in Cologne in October 2019. With support from UNICEF the initiative will be officially rolled out in 2020.