Last January 14 and 15, the UCLG World Secretariat convened a series of meetings in Barcelona to discuss a future strategic partnership with UNICEF, based on the principle of leaving no child, anywhere, behind. As the metropolitan section of UCLG, Metropolis was invited to contribute to the discussions, bringing the experiences of the metropolitan governments that work to protect the rights of youth and children.
The partnership is intended to support local governments in the development of child-sensitive policies, youth and children participation in local decision-making, and the improvement of local data to identify children’s needs. Furthermore, it should highlight the role of local and regional governments in sustainable development and child friendly policy making.
The meetings took place at the headquarters of the UCLG World Secretariat, building that also hosts the offices of the Metropolis Secretariat General, of two UCLG Commissions – Culture 21 and CISDP (on social inclusion, participatory democracy and human rights) – and of the Educating Cities network. Representatives from all the offices were invited to actively participate in the dialogues with the delegation from UNICEF, constituted by specialists on themes such as urban planning, social policy, local governance, migration and displacement, and headed by David Anthony, Chief Policy Analysis and Urban Lead.
The delegation shared the progress made in the implementation of policies for the protection of the most vulnerable children with the document titled ”Children Uprooted What Local Governments Can Do”. Moreover, Mr Anthony presented UNICEF’s Child-Friendly Cities Initiative, which supports local governments in realizing the rights of children at the local level, using the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child as its foundation. Amman, Barcelona, Madrid, Montréal and Shenzhen, as well as boroughs of Busan, Incheon, Gwangju and Seoul, are the Metropolis members that have already joined the initiative.
Ms Silvia Llorente, Project Officer at the Metropolis Secretariat General, attended the meetings with a special interest in the synergies that this new partnership may generate with future projects that engage our members and partners in the connection of metropolitan youth and ageing policies through intergenerational perspectives. She introduced the Urban Sustainability Exchange as a tool to identify successful urban programs, projects and policies focused on children and youth, such as the following experiences from our membership:
• Barcelona: Schools Agenda 21 Program
• Berlin: youth election project U18
• Dakar: building sustainable income and employment opportunities through micro-enterprises
• Mashhad: Idea City Website
• Montevideo: SACUDE Municipal Complex
• Seoul: "I will Centers"
• Valle de Aburrá: Cuidá – risk prevention through citizen engagement
• Yaoundé: information and communication technologies for youth employment
*With information from UCLG.