Published: Saturday July 7, 2012 MYT 12:27:00 PM
Make cities fit for children urges Unicef
KUALA LUMPUR: Urban planners and policy makers around the world should focus on making cities fit for children by paying special attention their rights and interests, said a United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef) report.
The report, titled, "The States of the World's Children 2012" was presented in conjunction with the World Cities Summit held in Singapore recently.
Dedicated to children living in urban areas, the report said that more than a billion children now live in cities and towns with access to educational, medical and recreational facilities.
"However, too many are denied such essentials as electricity, clean water and health care, and too many are forced into dangerous and exploitative work instead of being able to attend school," it said.
It included a suggestion to local administrations to utilise the Child-Friendly Cities Initiatives (CFCI) in order to become child-friendly.
It went on to highlight that the CFCI tapped into a wider acceptance of community participation in decision-making to promote local accountability for children's rights.
"The CFCI approach can be adapted to a diverse context. In high-income countries, the focus has been largely on urban planning, safe and green environments and child participation.
"Low-income countries have tended to prioritise service delivery in health, nutrition, education and child protection," the report said.
According to the report, the world's urban population increased by 60 million people every year and forecast that seven in 10 people would live in urban areas by 2050.
It said that many fast-growing urban centres were located in low and middle-income countries and stated that Asia was home to half of the world's urban population.
The CFCI, launched in 1996 by Unicef and the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat), has identified nine principal building blocks including child participation at all stages of planning and implementation, and child-friendly legislation.
Assessment of policy and programme impact on children as well as preparing a regular report on the state of children in the city were also part of the building blocks.
The report said it was crucial to better understand the scale and nature of poverty and exclusion affecting children in urban areas; and to identify and remove the barriers to inclusion.
It said that urban planning, infrastructure development, service delivery and broader efforts to reduce poverty and inequality must be ensured to meet the particular needs and priorities of children. - Bernama