Child. High Castle, Lviv, 2011. By Zaytsev Artem (via Flickr)

Ukraine cities hoping for child-friendly status

Eleven Ukranian cities have been shortlisted to receive the official honorary ‘youth and child-friendly’ status by UNICEF.

They were among 150 cities and communities from all over the country to apply for this prestigious title, part of an initiative launched by UNICEF in 1996. Successful cities are those which have taken practical measures to identify and tackle children’s rights in the locality, such as safety, health and education.

Top priority

The 11 cities which officially applied at the International Forum of Child and Youth Friendly Municipalities were Vinnytsia, Odesa, Lviv, Kamianets-Podilskyi, Cherkasy, Mariupol, Kremenchuk, Druzhkivka, Biloziria, Biliaivka and Novoukrainka.

Volodymyr Groysman, Prime Minister of Ukraine, said: “Children are the top priority of the Government. It is critical that they enjoy every opportunity for development and growth in their cities and communities. We can see a growth in local budgets and investments in social infrastructure. We are well aware that we cannot enforce our vision of development priorities on the communities: we can only encourage and support them.

Motivates communities

“UNICEF’s Child and Youth Friendly Cities Initiative is a viable tool for such transformation, as it motivates communities to cooperate for every child. The Government is about to offer targeted support for the communities that are officially awarded with this status – they will receive an additional one per cent from personal income tax budget allocations.”

This global initiative today covers more than 3,000 municipalities in 38 countries on five continents, and is estimated to benefit more than 30 million children. Ukraine joined the Initiative in 2018 through the signing of a Memorandum between its national government, UNICEF and other partners, such as the Ministry of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services; the Ministry of Social Policy; the Ministry of Youth and Sports; the Commissioner of the President for Children’s Rights; the Association of the Cities of Ukraine; the Association of Communities; and the National Youth Council of Ukraine.

Transform society

Giovanna Barberis, UNICEF Representative in Ukraine, said: “For us, the Child and Youth-Friendly Initiative is not just a standard programme. It helps the society to transform and put children first. It promotes budgeting and planning at local level for the most disadvantaged children and families. It helps the voices of children and youth to be heard and to be taken into due consideration. We have no doubt that eventually Ukrainian children and youth will be better off as a result of the changes inspired by this initiative. Thus, we thank the Government and the partners for their commitment and willingness to deliver on challenging objectives.”

Cities must analyse the current state of child rights in their locality, develop an action plan and allocate a budget for implementation over the next two to three years. They must also prioritise three from these five areas: the right to childhood; the right to safety and security; the right to health, education and social protection; the right to be heard; and the right to recognition, respect and fair treatment.

Author: Simon Weedy

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