Mayors and local leaders announce Declaration of Cologne at Child Friendly Cities Summit

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 More than 100 mayors from 40 countries today signed The Declaration of Cologne at the first international Child Friendly Cities Summit in Cologne, to accelerate progress towards improving the lives, opportunities and well-being of children in urban areas. The signatories include the Mayors of Cologne, Germany; Recife, Brazil; Lima, Peru; Madrid, Spain; Tirana, Albania; Seoul, South Korea; Surabaya, Indonesia; Odessa, Ukraine; Kollet, Guinea; and Montpellier, France, among others.

To realize these goals, mayors committed to demonstrating concrete, sustainable and measurable results for children; advancing meaningful and inclusive child participation; and eliminating discrimination against children and young people in policies and actions.

“This declaration provides guidance on the central role that cities can play in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), by creating thriving and equitable cities where children live in healthy, safe, inclusive, green and prosperous communities. Let us commit not only to listening to children and young people. Let’s support them. Let’s take action with them. Let’s follow their lead,” said Charlotte Petri Gornitzka, UNICEF Deputy Executive Director.

Organized by UNICEF with the support of the City of Cologne, the first-ever Child Friendly Cities Summit united mayors, local leaders, technical experts, children and young people from around the world to enhance child rights at the local level.

“It is our action at local government level that have a huge influence on children’s lives and well-being. Yet many local politicians and leaders tend not to be aware that they too can and must help ensure that children’s rights, wishes and needs are respected and taken into account. Today we are sending a strong message to cities and communities around the world that we can make a difference to the lives of children and young people,” said Henriette Reker, Mayor of Cologne.

The commitment announced today is built on a manifesto called “Our cities. Our lives. Our future” presented in the summit by children and young people. The manifesto defines how cities can bring children to the forefront and accelerate progress towards the children-related goals of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

“Children, youth, parents and community together can create an environment for everyone,” said Breanna an 18-year old from Belize, member of the Child Friendly Cities Summit’s Child and Youth Advisory Board.

The Declaration of Cologne entails the following goals for a child-friendly city:

·         Every child and young person is valued, respected and treated fairly within their communities and by local authorities;

·         Every child and young person have their voice, needs and priorities heard and considered in public laws, policies, budgets and decisions affecting them;

·         Every child and young person have access to quality essential services (including health care, education, nutrition support, early childhood development, justice and family support);

·         Every child and young person live in a safe, healthy and clean environment;

·         Every child and young person have opportunities to enjoy family life, play and leisure.


Notes to Editors:

Since 1996 UNICEF’s Child Friendly Cities Initiative supports cities and communities worldwide to advance child rights at the local level. Today, the initiative reaches approximately 30 million children in 40 countries worldwide.

It is also a network that brings together government and other stakeholders such as civil society organizations, the private sector, academia, media and, importantly, children themselves who wish to make their cities and communities more child-friendly.

The initiative was launched in 1996 by UNICEF and UN-Habitat to act on the resolution passed during the second United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II) to make cities liveable places for all. The UN Conference declared that the wellbeing of children is the ultimate indicator of a healthy habitat, a democratic society and of good governance.

Existing Child Friendly Cities:

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. In more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.

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Unicef UK Media Team: 0207 375 6030 or email