Child Friendly Cities is a relatively new concept in Iran, however, there is a long-standing tradition of child-friendly practices and initiatives. For instance, Tehran Municipality launched the School Mayor Initiative in 1993 which is still running today. After the devastating 2003 earthquake in Bam, UNICEF, in collaboration with the Government, supported 110 children from 11 schools in Bam to develop a child-friendly neighbourhood plan and created a child-friendly zone, which included the building of a child-friendly community centre, school, and playgrounds in the city.
UNICEF is working closely with the Ministry of Interior (MoI) in Iran to create a network of Child Friendly Cities and Communities across Iran to help urban planners and communities to respond to complex problems by placing children and adolescents at the centre of their solutions. With its partners, UNICEF Iran and MoI are strengthening the capacity of municipalities and other national and local stakeholders by co-facilitating a multi-year, multi-municipality capacity building programme. Many other ministries and organizations including the Municipalities and Rural Management Organization of Iran and the Office for Women and Family Affairs (MoI) are supporting these efforts.
As a first step, UNICEF Iran and MoI in cooperation with Isfahan Municipality held the First National Conference on Child Friendly Citieson 16-17 of January 2019 in Isfahan, Iran where urban managers, CFCI focal points, and representatives from municipalities across Iran joined the debate to discuss the potential of CFCs.
A Working Group has been formed to establish the National CFC Committee. A National CFCI Strategy is in development to define a roadmap for the future of CFCI in Iran. This will include the localized CFCI process (piloting, candidacy, and recognition for large, medium, and small cities) as well as forming the National CFCI Network. Isfahan would be the first city in Iran to be piloted for the CFCI.
A municipality that wishes to be recognized as child-friendly can apply for piloting. After evaluation and scoring, the top performing candidates (from different sizes and regions) will be selected as the CFC Pilot Cities. UNICEF Iran and MoI will then work with the piloted municipalities to prepare an action plan and move towards candidacy and the main CFCI cycle.