Brasov sets up Student Council to take an active role in the city’s policymaking

Brasov sets up Student Council to take an active role in the city’s policymaking

Mayor Allen Coliban teams up with UNICEF to make Brasov a Child-Friendly City

The mayor of the Romanian City of Brasov Allen Coliban and the UNICEF representative for the country Pieter Bult signed a memorandum on 23 July formalising Brasov’s commitment to becoming a Child-Friendly City by the year 2024.

The memorandum outlines the municipality’s specific commitments and targets to be eligible to receive UNICEF’s prestigious title. At the same time, representatives of the international organisation will offer continuous support for the council of Brasov.

The main idea is to create a government body of elected student representatives that will be able to take part in the municipal life of the city.

Direct democracy to give a voice to the youngest

A "Child-Friendly City" is a term describing a community that fosters the development of children and young people while respecting their rights. Consequently, the guidelines and goals set before Brasov now are expressed in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

In practical terms, a child-friendly city means a city or community in which children's voices, needs, priorities and rights are integrated into public policies, programs and decisions. The vision is for every child and young person to enjoy their childhood and reach their full potential when they grow up.

Mayor Coliban has a very specific idea on how to achieve all of this, as according to him the main way children can be empowered is through their active participation in government.

Deputy Mayor Flavia Boghiu outlined their idea for the creation of a Student Council mirroring the Local Council in Brasov. The council will be made up of representatives from all the schools in the city, as young people will be able to taste what a real election feels like and what is at stake.

The Student Council will be an advisory body to the mayor while having various other advisory roles concerning the budget, development propositions and a seat at various committees. The chairman of the Student Council will also be privy to speaking in Local Council meetings when the topic concerns the interests of children (i.e. Health, Education, Sports etc.).

Pieter Bult, UNICEF representative for Romania was quoted in a press release, as saying: “As part of this project, as part of the child-friendly localities initiative, children's participation is critical. Children have a voice. The children have something to say. Children have ideas. Children have opinions. It is absolutely essential that children be involved in the decision-making process related to things that happen on the local and municipal level.”

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