150 Ukrainian cities and communities strive to become child and youth friendly municipalities

1 June 2018
150 Ukrainian cities and communities strive to become child and youth friendly municipalities

KYIV, Ukraine, 1 June 2018 – Eleven cities (Vinnytsia, Odesa, Lviv, Kamianets-Podilskyi, Cherkasy, Mariupol, Kremenchuk, Druzhkivka, Biloziria, Biliaivka and Novoukrainka) have been shortlisted to receive the honorary status of Child and Youth Friendly City Candidate. In total, over 150 cities and communities from all over Ukraine that applied for this programme at the International Forum of Child and Youth Friendly Municipalities on 1 June 2018 claimed they were willing to join the Initiative.

Volodymyr Groysman, Prime Minister of Ukraine stated that: “Children are the top priority of the Government. It is critical that they enjoy every opportunity for development and growth in their cities and communities. We can see a growth in local budgets and investments in social infrastructure. We are well aware that we cannot enforce our vision of development priorities on the communities: we can only encourage and support them. UNICEF’s Child and Youth Friendly Cities Initiative is a viable tool for such transformation, as it motivates communities to cooperate for every child. The Government is about to offer targeted support for the communities that are officially awarded with this status – they will receive an additional 1 per cent from personal income tax budget allocations.

UNICEF launched its Child and Youth Friendly Cities Initiative in 1996. Today, the Initiative is expanding throughout the world, and it already covers more than 3,000 municipalities in 38 countries on five continents, benefitting over 30 million children worldwide. Ukraine joined the Initiative in 2018 through the signing of a Memorandum between the Government of Ukraine, UNICEF and other partners (UNFPA; the Ministry of Regional Development, Construction, Housing and Communal Services; the Ministry of Social Policy; the Ministry of Youth and Sports; the Commissioner of the President for Children’s Rights; the Association of the Cities of Ukraine; the Association of Communities; and the National Youth Council of Ukraine.

Giovanna Barberis, UNICEF Representative in Ukraine, highlighted: “For us, the Child and Youth Friendly Initiative is not just a standard programme. It helps the society to transform and put children first. It promotes budgeting and planning at local level for the most disadvantaged children and families. It helps the voices of children and youth to be heard and to be taken into due consideration. We have no doubt that eventually Ukrainian children and youth will be better off as aresult of the changes inspired by this Initiative. Thus, we thank the Government and the partners for their commitment and willingness to deliver on challenging objectives.”

Caspar Peek, UNFPA Representative in Ukraine, stressed: “In essence, being youth-friendly means projecting your community into the future. Young people will be making all the decisions 20-30 years from now. So, the more you take into account what today's young people want and need, the less disruption, disconnect and waste of time, money and opportunities you will face in the future. UNFPA wants to help communities understand the needs of young people by creating space for dialogue, but also by providing tools that allow these communities to measure if their current initiatives are actually making a difference in the lives of young people. The Youth Well-being Index being developed by UNFPA is intended to be a yardstick to measure the quality of such investments, as perceived by young people.”

Yevgeniya Rzayeva, European Union for Youth: Opportunities for Employment and Stability Regional Project Manager, SOS Children’s Villages, underlined: “According to Eurostat data, the youth unemployment rate in Europe is as high as 13 per cent, and in many post-Soviet countries, it is even greater. We are sure that the cities and communities will be able to roll this trend back by considering the priorities of young people and engaging them in addressing their own problems. In turn, SOS Children’s Villages jointly with our partners offers a project that focuses on empowering and building the capacity of socially and economically vulnerable adolescents, especially young women, for employment and entrepreneurship.”

To join the Initiative, a city or a community is expected to take a number of practical measures. In particular, the municipality has to analyze the current state of child rights in their municipality, identify priorities, develop an Action Plan, and allocate a budget for its implementation over the next 2-3 years. The municipalities have to select at least three out of five priorities for their practical activities:

  • The right to childhood,
  • The right to safety and security,
  • The right to health, education and social protection,
  • The right to be heard, and
  • The right to recognition, respect and fair treatment.

A community that has developed an Action Plan and approved a corresponding budget is granted the honorary status of Initiative Candidate. If the community is successful in implementing its Action Plan, it is awarded with the official status of a Child and Youth Friendly Community.

The United Nations Children’s Fund provides supports to the communities that want to join the Initiative. Specifically, UNICEF provides advice on children’s rights, consults on developing Action Plans and budgets, and promotes cooperation with municipalities from other countries and fundraising. UNFPA has developed a methodology to calculate the Youth Well-Being Index, which allows youth attitudes to seven key indicators of wellbeing at local level to be evaluated. Meanwhile, every partner of the Initiative – including socially responsible businesses – can contribute to helping Ukrainian cities and communities become more child- and youth-friendly.

Dmytro Kyselyov, CEO of P&G in Ukraine: “We are happy to be the first for-profit company to contribute to the Child and Youth Friendly Initiative. We in P&G believe that inclusivity should be a norm for Ukrainian society, and our contribution today of UAH 1 million will be a starting point. I am sure that jointly we will make the infrastructure of our cities more comfortable, and the environment will be friendlier for children, youth and adults.”