Sharjah /Â WAM
Sharjah has been announced as regionâ€™s first candidate city for UNICEFâ€™s â€˜Child Friendly Cityâ€™ initiative, which is aimed to guide cities and other systems of local governance in the inclusion of childrenâ€™s rights as a key component of their goals, policies, programmes and structures.
The announcement was made at a press conference in the presence of Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority, Shurooq, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Thani, Chairman of the Department of Statistics and Community Development in Sharjah, Khawla Al Mulla, Chairperson of the Sharjah Consultative Council, SCC, Brigadier Saif Mohammad Al Ziri Al Shamsi, Commander-in-Chief of Sharjah Police.
Dr. Abdulaziz Al Muhairi, Director of Sharjah Health Authority, Khalid Al Ali, Secretary-General of the Sharjah Urban Planning Council, Dr. Hessa Al Ghazal, Executive Director of the Sharjah Baby Friendly Office, SBFO, Essam Ali, Social Policy Specialist at UNICEF, Louise Thivant, Policy and Advocacy Specialist at UNICEF, and International Child Rights Expert at UNICEF, Vanessa Sedletzki, also
attended the event.
During the press conference at the Maraya Art Centre in Al Qasba, it was revealed that SBFO, along with over 23 government and private institutions working for children’s welfare, have been acting on strengthening their respective Child Friendly City Initiative, CFCI, Core Components laid out by UNICEF, which will guide the emirate in its journey to become the regionâ€™s first Child Friendly City.
Underlining Sharjahâ€™s efforts to provide children access to health and safety, as well as ample opportunities for growth, Dr. Hessa Al Ghazal said that SBFO and its partners have already achieved the 50 percent growth laid out by the UN growth indicator targets for the year 2025, 9 years
in advance of the deadline, a big
factor responsible for determining its
She lauded the unfailing commitment and efforts of H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, and his Wife, Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, in caring for children and young adults where they are able to cherish their growing years, and capable enough to choose stronger and brighter futures for themselves.
“Sharjahâ€™s ongoing efforts to provide a conducive environment for children and young adults to thrive have resulted in the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with UNICEF, to conduct a joint study on the status of children in Sharjah, based on UNICEFâ€™s Child Friendly City initiative criteria. In the process, we have conducted over 70 field visits and workshops for 23 departments and institutions in Sharjah from July 2016 to January 2017,” said Dr. Al Ghazal.
Vanessa Sedletzki said, “Weâ€™re very pleased to see all the different efforts and initiatives that have been going on in Sharjah and we look forward to working with the emirate to make it a Child Friendly City. We see that there are few challenges outstanding still, which need to be addressed, in particular, to further advance child participation. We also want to see all children, regardless of who they are or their nationalities, whether boys, girls, or children with disabilities, to be included in everything that happens the emirate. This would make Sharjah a truly Child Friendly City.”
Louise Thivant said, “We are very happy to be here and establish this partnership between UNICEF and Sharjah. We are truly heart warmed by the commitment that we see, and the emirateâ€™s investment in this important project over the years, In particular, we were impressed by Sharjahâ€™s strong determination in improving the lives of children, by providing them many opportunities and several avenues for them to participate in the everyday life of the emirate.”
The press conference also saw the launch of the Sharjah Child Friendly City Candidate City 2017 logo, representing the emirateâ€™s unswerving commitment to better serve its
children and youth.