The Miasto Przyjazne Dzieciom (Child Friendly City) initiative in Poland started with a pilot in September 2017 in Gdynia, a city with a population of 245,000 located on the Baltic Sea coast.
The overall aim of the initiative in Poland is to engage all of society in implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and to encourage and enable children and youth to become actively involved in their cities.
The initiative has three main objectives. The first is to strengthen local municipal governance for children – this includes implementing a child-friendly legal framework, assessing the situation of children, developing a Strategy for Children with an allocated budget; setting up a coordinating mechanism in local government to ensure priority is given to children’s issues; and assessing the impact of law, policy and practice on children. Priority areas include early childhood development, education, health, children with disabilities, child protection, poverty, migrant children, culture and sport.
The second objective is to raise awareness of and promote child rights among adults and children. This includes listening to children’s views and taking them into consideration when decisions are made on issues that affect them. This element will include promoting child rights education through the UNICEF School Club Project that runs in 2,100 schools across the country.
The third objective is to use strategic partnerships to engage all members of society in building a child-friendly environment. This entails building broad platforms for cooperation between the media, civil society and private sector. Private sector engagement will include setting up a Business Coalition for Children with members committing to adhere to the Children’s Rights and Business Principles and getting involved in local initiatives promoting child rights and wellbeing.
Currently, the city of Gdynia is conducting a situation analysis and preparing a platform for cooperation with strategic partners including the media, civil society and the private sector. Next steps will include developing a Strategy for Children and a coordinating mechanism. The initiative will be reviewed every two years.
© Karol Stańczak/City of Gdynia
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