The Sharjah Child Friendly City Project on the other hand, sees Sharjah becoming a candidate city for UNICEF’s global ‘Child Friendly Cities Initiative’, targeting children aged 0-18 years. Sharjah’s adoption of the Child Friendly Cities Initiative marks its commitment to increasing the mandate and scope of its predecessor, the Sharjah Baby Friendly Emirate Campaign, in order to encompass all children and youth living in the emirate.
Although the UAE has been a state party to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child since 1997, efforts to promote the status of children federally and locally were at the forefront of the country’s vision for development long before then.
Sharjah’s efforts to become a Child Friendly City today, represents the culmination of over three decades of dedication and commitment of His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan Bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and His Highness’ Wife, Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Supreme Council For Family Affairs to children’s development in the emirate, by launching various initiatives, associations and institutions to discover and develop the talents of children and young people, utilising them to give back to their community and contribute to the Emirate, and to the country’s development as a whole
What is the UNICEF Child Friendly Cities Initiative?
The UNICEF Child Friendly Cities Initiative was launched in 1996, to promote the implementation of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child at the level where it has the greatest direct impact on children’s lives – in the cities where they live.
The aim of the initiative is to improve the lives of children and youth (aged 0-18) by recognizing and realizing their rights - and hence transform communities for the better today and for the future. Building Child Friendly Cities is a practical process which must engage actively with children and their real lives.
A Child Friendly City guarantees the right of every young citizen to influence decisions and express their opinions about their city, participate in family, community and social life, receive basic services such as healthcare, education and shelter, drink safe water and have access to proper sanitation, be protected from exploitation, violence and abuse, walk safely in the streets on their own, meet friends and play, have green spaces for plants and animals, participate in cultural and social events, regardless of ethnic origin, religion, income, gender or disability.