ATHENS, Greece, 12 November, 2019 – Mayors from 23 cities and towns in the Europe and Central Asia region have pledged support to make their municipalities work better for children and young people, as the first-ever UNICEF Europe and Central Asia Mayors for Children Conference came to a close.
“We need to place children in the heart of our decision-making and ensure that all of them have equal rights and equal opportunities,” said Kostas Bakoyannis, Mayor of the City of Athens, at the opening of the two-day meeting.
“This pledge of support from 23 municipalities is an important step towards building a strong coalition of cities and towns from across the Region that will prioritize protecting the rights of children, especially the most vulnerable girls and boys,” said UNICEF Europe and Central Asia Deputy Regional Director, Philippe Cori.
The Mayors for Children Conference was the first of its kind in the Region, hosted by the City of Athens. The conference focused on strategies for financing local services for children and families, strengthening child health, education and protection services, as well as ensuring young people can meaningfully participate in local decision-making processes.
Mayors and other municipal leaders pledged their support for several key actions that will help build sustainable cities, fit for children.
These include prioritizing:
- More disaggregated data and evidence on the most vulnerable and marginalized children, and the neighborhoods in which they live, to better inform local policies and action.
- Strategies to remove the barriers to vulnerable children and young people accessing local services.
- The development of tools and capacities, and the mobilization of resources to engage with all local actors and foster effective solutions to local problems.
- Strategic and innovative local plans and budgets to advance the wellbeing of children, young people and their families.
- The monitoring and oversight of local service provision for children, young people and their families.
- The full participation of children and young people in decision-making to ensure that they are at the very heart of local agendas.
The event coincides with the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. The most widely ratified human rights treaty in history, the Convention promises to uphold and protect the rights of all children.