Statia officially a Child Friendly Cities Candidate
The stage is now set for the voices, needs and priorities of Statian children to be considered in the development of public policies, programmes and decisions. In the presence of the government commissioner, Alida Francis, and over a dozen pupils, Statia was one of three Dutch municipalities designated as candidates in UNICEF’s Child Friendly Cities today. The other two were The Hague and Gooise Meren in the province of North Holland. These three municipalities are the first in the Netherlands to receive such designation.
In the coming years, Statia and the other municipalities will work with children and young people to evaluate how local policies really serve the rights of children and young people. If the municipalities succeed in achieving the goals and concrete results, they will receive the official recognition as Child Friendly Cities and join the network of thousands of municipalities in over 40 countries.
The Child Friendly Cities Initiative is a global programme by the United Nations children right’s organisation, UNICEF, to make municipalities more child friendly so children and young people grow up safely, healthy and with opportunities.
Suzanne Laszlo, director of UNICEF the Netherlands, emphasises why this initiative is so important for municipalities: “It is about inclusive playgrounds, poverty policy aimed at children, but also about meaningful participation of children and young people, up to designing child-friendly streets. That is desperately needed. Municipalities play a crucial role in the lives of children and young people. Municipal policy is essential for the development and well-being of children, but too often we see that policy and plans for children and young people in municipalities are 'something to be done'. By participating, The Hague, Sint Eustatius and Gooise Meren demonstrate that they intend to take fundamental steps in this regard. That’s an important and good signal for children living in these municipalities.”