United Arab Emirates
In February 2017, Sharjah was recognized as a candidate city for its Child Friendly Cities Initiative – the first of its kind in the region.
Following the recognition of Sharjah as a Baby-Friendly City by WHO and UNICEF in 2015, the Emirate initiated the process of developing a Child Friendly Cities Initiative in 2016, with the aim of expanding the scope of its efforts to go beyond health approaches related to maternal and infant care, to improve the wellbeing of all children in the Emirate of Sharjah.
In 2016, Sharjah’s Baby-Friendly Office (SBFO) and the UNICEF Gulf Area Office conducted a baseline assessment for the Emirate of Sharjah – mainly in the areas of health, education, participation, and social services to evaluate current practices and policies in these areas according to the original Child Friendly Cities Framework for Action. The assessment study highlighted the major achievements and a high-level commitment to children’s wellbeing as well as addressed existing challenges. An action plan was developed with three main objectives:
- Increase understanding and awareness of the Child Friendly Cities Initiative and child rights principles;
- Address equity and introduce measures to overcome barriers that lead to the exclusion of certain groups of children;
- Ensure that all children in Sharjah are actively participating in the community and that their views are taken into account in matters affecting their lives.
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