The Child Friendly Cities Initiative, or Barnvæn sveitarfélög, has been active in Iceland since 2016 and is led by the Icelandic National Committee for UNICEF. As of March 2022, 21 Icelandic municipalities participate in the initiative and 2 municipalities have been recognized as child-friendly. The initiative reaches over 50 percent of children living in Iceland.

The initiative supports municipalities in implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in all their administration and activities in a systematic way. Participating municipalities that take certain measures to implement the Convention on the Rights of the Child can be recognized as Child Friendly Municipalities. The implementation process takes at least two years and is divided into 8 steps that a municipality takes with the aim of respecting and fulfilling the rights of children. For a municipality to be recognized as a Child Friendly Municipality, experts working for the Icelandic UNICEF National Committee need to agree that the implementation process has made good and actual impact on the rights of children in the municipality and that the action plan for the project has been followed up and implemented.

The recognition is valid for three years, and in order to maintain the recognition, the municipality must continue the implementation, set new goals and request a new assessment after three years.

The Icelandic NatCom runs a website for the initiative and has produced a special handbook for the focal points in the participating municipalities. It has also developed an online learning platform with diverse courses on the rights of children and guidance for the implementation of the project. It has also produced several introductory videos and several tools to help facilitate the implementation.

Since November 2019 the initiative has been funded by the Icelandic government. That is to ensure that all municipalities have equal chances to take part in the initiative and have support in implementing the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The CFCI is now part of the government’s official policy on child-friendly Iceland. The aim is that in 2024, 80% of children in Iceland will be living in municipalities working on the Initiative.

ICELAND Auðunn Níelsson

© UNICEF Iceland

Population: 329,000
Pop. under 18: 80,000


• Akureyri

Working towards recognition:
• Hafnarfjörður
• Borgarbyggð
• Reykjanesbær
• Svalbarðsstrandarhreppur
• Garðabær
• Sveitarfélagið Hornafjörður (Hornafjörður municipality)
• Sveitarfélagið Ölfus (Ölfus municipality)
• Sveitarfélagið Vogar (Vogar municipality)
• Akraneskaupstaður
• Hrnamannahreppur
• Mosfellsbær
• Seltjarnarnesbær
• Fjarðarbyggð
• Vopnafjarðarhreppur
• Rangárþing Eystra
• Múlaþing
• Grundarfjörður
• Strandabyggð
• Skagaströnd


Hanna Borg Jónsdóttir
CFCI project manager / Advocacy team
UNICEF Iceland
Laugavegur 77
101 Reykjavík

Marín Rós Eyjólfsdóttir
Communications coordinator / Advocacy team
UNICEF Iceland
Laugavegur 77
101 Reykjavík