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14 Jun 2017

Minsk to get UNICEF Child Friendly City certificate

Minsk to get UNICEF Child Friendly City certificateMINSK, 14 June (BelTA) – The Belarusian capital will get a UNICEF Child Friendly City certificate. The awards ceremony will be held as part of the celebrations of the 950th anniversary of Minsk, UNICEF Representative in Belarus Rashed Mustafa Sarwar told BelTA.

The certificate will be presented on 9 September. “Participation in the global Child Friendly Cities Initiative at the national and regional level allows for more consistent and productive city governance for and with children,” Rashed Mustafa Sarwar noted.

The project to implement the international initiative in Belarus was piloted in 2007. Svetlogorsk was the first Belarusian city whose authorities showed eagerness to join their efforts towards child friendliness. In 2008-2011, the list of participants grew to include Pruzhany, Pinsk, Dobrush, Borisov, Grodno, Gomel, Brest, Novopolotsk, Lida, and Shklov. Minsk, Polotsk, Mozyr, Kostyukovichi, Gorki, Novogrudok, Zhodino, Soligorsk, Molodechno, Slutsk, and Mogilev joined the initiative in 2012-2013. Finally, Baranovichi, Orsha, and Volkovysk became part of the initiative in 2016.

The national coordinating council decided to award the Child Friendly City title to ten cities. The certificates have already been presented to Brest, Novopolotsk, Polotsk, Pinsk, Pruzhany, Zhodino, Soligorsk, and Baranovichi. Novogrudok will receive such a certificate on 1 September, followed by Minsk on 9 September.

“These cities and towns conduct programs and projects aimed at reducing the negative impact of urban environment on kids while making use of the opportunities and advantages that it gives. The key principle of the initiative is to protect children’s right to participate in the life of the city and be heard. An effective system of interaction between local government bodies and children and youth self-government associations has been established,” the UNICEF representative noted.

This system of interaction led to the emergence of parliaments and councils of children and youth which represent an effective model of kids’ self-organization and self-development. Their members attend meetings of the local executive committees, sessions of the city councils of deputes, and press conferences with the city’s administration. The young MPs learn to bring benefit to the community, identify problems, and find opportunities to resolve them.

The participants of the initiative hold clean-up projects, open cafes for children, and conduct programs to teach the younger generation to be generous and compassionate towards children without parents, people with disabilities, elderly and lonely people.

“By building a model of a child friendly city, we promote cooperation between public agencies, local self-government bodies, educational establishments, public associations, commercial organizations and other legal entities, parents, and residents to create a more comfortable and favorable environment for children,” Rashed Mustafa Sarwar emphasized.

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