The Ciudades Amigas de la Infancia (Child Friendly Cities) initiative in Spain was launched in 2002 and has the support of the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality, the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces (FEMP) and the University Institute of Needs and Rights of Children and Adolescents (IUNDIA).
The initiative drives participating municipalities to design and implement efficient public policies that improve the wellbeing of children, defend their rights, promote their participation and make cities more livable, sustainable and equitable.
Specifically, the initiative promotes: the integration of child rights, as stipulated in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, into municipal public policies, cross-sectoral coordination, child participation as a tool for social change, and strengthened alliances among local and regional actors. It is a model for public policy management that – through its structure – allows for continual improvement.
In order to be recognized as child-friendly, participating municipalities must follow a number of steps. They must conduct a child rights situation analysis. They must have a local plan of action for children with a supporting budget. They must have a local Child Participation Council recognized by the local government that harnesses the opinions of children and ensures that they are heard. They must also set up a Steering Group to guide and evaluate the recognition process.
Every two years, the UNICEF Spanish National Committee publicly recognizes the cities committed to fulfilling the rights of children by awarding them with a Seal (Sello de Reconocimiento Ciudades Amigas de la Infancia). The award is granted for a period of four years, with municipalities having to submit a mid-performance report during this time. The Seal can be renewed every four years as long as the municipalities continue their work with children.
In addition to the official Child Friendly City recognition, the Committee may grant special mention of best practices in child-friendly local policy development.
The initiative in Spain supports municipalities participating in the initiative through a dedicated website as well as training opportunities, networking events, child participation activities and research.
To date, 170 municipalities have been granted this recognition. Altogether, the initiative reaches more than 2 million children, representing about 28 per cent of all children living in Spain.
@UNICEF Comité Español/2016/Joaquín Gómez
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