The Italian National Committee for UNICEF completely revised the CFCI Program in 2018 to make it compliant with UNICEF’s international guidelines.  Municipalities must implement interventions based on a child-rights approach and on evidence-based policy making. Today, there are 13 cities, with 80,306 minors, in the process of becoming Child Friendly. Two cities have received the recognition.

Even before starting the process, the municipality adopts a City Council Resolution to adhere to CFCI and the National Committee signs an agreement (MOU) with the local government. The core of the approach is based on continuous work by the municipality which includes an analysis of the situation of children and adolescents in the city, the development of a complete action plan (using contributions from all departments), the inclusion of the action plan in the political planning of the municipality, and the development of output indicators that help the municipality measure progress and address critical issues. The Italian National Committee does not choose the priorities that cities address; these are selected based on the results of the situation analysis.

The process is shared by all the departments of the municipal administration and there are predetermined occasions for discussion between the municipality and civil society where student representatives are also present (the municipality is required to establish an institutional body whose members are civil society organizations, experts, students, the Ombudsman for children if established, and other local stakeholders). The final report that the cities must produce summarizes the whole process and disseminates the results among all citizens, including a brief, child-friendly version.

To be able to be recognized as a Child Friendly City, the municipality must have completed all the steps in the process and must demonstrate improvements on at least two impact indicators among all those identified. The recognition expires after two years and the Municipality can ask for a new evaluation.

Participation is a recurring theme that accompanies the whole process. To make participation a continuing practice, municipalities must include it in their Statutes as a fundamental element, providing opportunities for participation in various forms (not only youth councils) as a tool for inclusion for all minors (in line with the CRC General Comment 12).

The Italian National Committee supports the municipalities in all steps of the process and builds tools and materials based on international UNICEF documents that are useful for administrations. To ensure accountability, all stages of the process are documented through administrative documents that are made public on the website of each municipality. The process takes at least two years to obtain the recognition.

The Child Friendly Cities Initiative in Italy is promoted together with ANCI (National Association of Italian Municipalities). Together, the two promote annual national campaigns to raise awareness about the Convention on the Rights of the Child on important anniversaries (Italian anniversary of CRC ratification, November 20th) and which generally see the participation of hundreds of municipalities.

Video: Child-friendly Cities, a matter of rightsVideo: English subtitled Child Friendly CitiesVideo: Celebrating 30 years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in Italy


Federica Aguiari
Head of Città amiche dei bambini