Guiding Principles

A child-friendly city is one which implements the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child at the local level. As such, the guiding principles of building a child-friendly city mirror the overarching principles of the Convention. These principles include:

Non-discrimination: The rights of all children are respected, without discrimination of any kind irrespective of the child’s or his or her parent’s or legal guardian’s race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status.

Best interests of the child: The best interests of children are a primary consideration in decisions that may affect them with the government assuring the care and protection necessary for their wellbeing.

The inherent right to life, survival and development: Children have the right to life, with the government committed to ensuring the maximum extent possible, their right to survival and healthy development.

Respect for the views of the child: Children have the right to voice their opinions and have these be taken into account in decisions that affect them.

The guiding principles also include the following additional principles associated with good governance:

Equity and inclusion: A child-friendly city aims to create equal opportunities for all children. This entails identifying the most marginalized and vulnerable children, the barriers to inclusion that they face and removing these barriers.

Accountability and transparency: Building a child-friendly city requires clearly identifying who is responsible for each aspect of implementation and holding them accountable. Transparency calls for clarity and openness in the decision-making process.

Public Participation:  Building a child-friendly city requires having a system in place to facilitate public participation in decision-making to promote local accountability for children’s rights.

Effectiveness and responsiveness: Building a child-friendly city requires that governments undertake all appropriate legislative, administrative, and other measures to implement child rights to the maximum extent of their available resources and, where needed, within the framework of international co-operation. The process is responsive to the needs of the children and families affected.

Adaptability and sustainability: Building a child-friendly city requires a flexible management approach in order to be able to anticipate and respond to changing circumstances and be sustainable over time.