Media center – Press – UNICEF Australia

November 29, 2021 – Australian children will have a voice in the design of cities as part of an innovative partnership launched today by UNICEF Australia and the Bupa Foundation.

The Child-Friendly Cities Initiative (CFCI), UNICEF’s global program that currently reaches 30 million children in more than 40 countries, is a guide to help local councils design cities that meet the needs of children. young people under the age of 24.

The main characteristics of a child-friendly city include:
• Involvement of young people in decision-making and urban planning
• Access to high quality games and green spaces
• Sustainable transport
• Actions to fight against climate change, air pollution and urban sprawl

“As the leaders of tomorrow, our youngest citizens have the right to shape the decisions made today, especially when it comes to making cities more livable,” said Tony Stuart, CEO of UNICEF Australia .

“The well-being of children is the ultimate indicator of a healthy urban environment. Research shows that young people who grow up in greener areas are often less depressed, less stressed, and healthier. Yet an overwhelming majority of cities continue to be designed exclusively for and by adults. This was highlighted during COVID-19 closures where many high-density urban areas had limited green spaces and facilities in which children could play and exercise near their homes.

“Data from the pandemic shows that the health and well-being of children are under strain. And their contribution to the recent Glasgow climate change conference demonstrates their passion for future sustainability, climate change, mental health, well-being and social equity.

“This new partnership with the Bupa Foundation will ensure that the distinct needs of children are heard and included in the design of cities. We will learn from UNICEF’s global experience to personalize the initiative for Australia and put young people at the center of their communities.

Launched in 1996, the CFCI is the first partnership program in the world to prioritize children’s rights in urban planning. Countries like Canada, Denmark and Germany have implemented the initiative.

Bupa Asia-Pacific CEO Hisham El-Ansary said CFCI is an exceptional setting that helps local councils and communities support the development of mentally healthy and resilient communities.

“Responding to issues and supporting programs that help improve the physical and mental health of young Australians is an important priority for the Bupa Foundation. The link between the mental and physical health of people and the health of our planet is undeniable, so developing healthy and sustainable outdoor spaces is essential if we are to have cities that allow children to thrive and reach their goals. full potential, ”said Mr. El – Says Ansary.

Award-winning urban designer and architect Michelle Cramer, recognized for her work on the Barangaroo waterfront and the site of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, will adapt the CFCI to Australia. She will consult with local councils and young people, as well as a Youth Advisory Committee of nine Australians aged 18-24, to adapt the framework.

“I am delighted to be working on this project which aims to give children a voice as valuable citizens in the building of cities, traditionally an area reserved for adults. Child-centered urban design offers huge benefits for the whole community, making cities more inclusive and sustainable, ”Ms. Cramer said.

As the COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly affected the health and well-being of children, a UNICEF Australia survey of more than 4,000 people aged 7 to 20 found many to be optimistic about future and politically engaged. It also revealed that 51% are concerned about climate change, 64% say they are never or rarely consulted by the government on issues that concern them, and 24% think they are discriminated against because of their situation. geographical.


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