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The City of Vantaa to begin Child Friendly Cities work

The City of Vantaa to begin Child Friendly Cities work

As of this year, Vantaa will begin implementing UNICEF’s Child Friendly Cities model to guarantee the fulfillment of children’s rights.

The City of Vantaa in Finland was chosen by the Finnish Committee for UNICEF to participate in its Child Friendly Cities model. In addition to Vantaa, seven other municipalities are set to begin implementing the model this year: Helsinki, Kurikka, Liperi, Sotkamo, Tampere, Vesilahti and Vihti. In total, 44 Finnish municipalities are participating in this initiative.

Child Friendly Cities model

The Child Friendly Cities model is a tool used to help municipalities make decisions that will positively affect children’s lives and make sure that their rights are fulfilled. Taking this further, the model is based on the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child.

As such, UNICEF’s Child Friendly Cities model follows and mirrors the principles of the Convention. UNICEF lists the following principles:

  • Non-discrimination
  • Best interests of the child
  • The inherent right to life, survival and development
  • Respect for the views of the child
  • Equity and inclusion
  • Accountability and transparency
  • Public participation
  • Effectiveness and responsiveness
  • Adaptability and sustainability.

Children’s participation in decision-making

Katri Kalske, the deputy mayor of the City of Vantaa, explains that the municipality has already worked to ensure the fulfillment of children’s rights. However, she admits that there is more work that must be done. “For example, we want to develop children’s and teens’ participation in preparing decisions that affect them,” Kalske disclosed on the city's website.

Vantaa coordinator for services for children and the young Tia Ristimäki revealed how the model would be implemented. She explained that the training for the Child Friendly Cities work is set to begin in the spring. Subsequently, an action plan will be formulated and systemically executed.

Outlook into the future

Sanna Koskinen of the Finnish Committee for UNICEF explained that the Child Friendly Cities model is an “investment into a good life for the child”. By investing in the lives of the youngest and future generations, the municipality will guarantee a safer and more sustainable future.

UNICEF evaluates the work of municipalities two years after they begin implementing the model. If they have successfully followed the model, they may be granted UNICEF’s Child Friendly Cities recognition for two years. After this, the recognition may be renewed only if the municipality continues to work on and follow the model.

The City of Vantaa hopes to earn the Child Friendly Cities recognition by 2023.

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