We, participants of the Child Friendly Cities meeting held in Solo City, Indonesia on the 1 July 2011 and members of the Child Friendly Asia Pacific Network call upon our governments, private sector, and civil society to assist us in implementing the Chiba Declaration for a Child Friendly Asia Pacific 2009 and to incorporate a focus on the importance of children's participation in defining the role of child friendly cities and communities.
This declaration provides five key principles through which governments, cities, communities should support child friendliness.
Principle 1. A child friendly city and community engages children
1.1 Defines children's participation as the recognition of and respect for children's engagement equally in formally constructed processes as well as the everyday practices of their contribution to their own life and the life of families and communities
1.2 Acknowledges that children have their own cultural groups outside of those of adults and child centered social action happens between children with children as well as between children and adults
1.3 Moves beyond tokenism and decoration to developing partnerships with children that are ethical and respectful - including moving beyond listening to children's voices to including children's opinions and ideas in authentic and instrumental ways.
1.4 Positions children as reliable and competent with all participation activities being evaluated for their value to improving children's lives now and in the future
1.5 Accounts for the capacities and abilities of children according to their age and special needs and this is central to constructing appropriate and supportive participatory processes
Principle 2. A child friendly city and community embraces early childhood
2.1 Appreciates that early childhood is an important part of life and the best interests and rights for participation of children should be central to all actions of the community.
2.2 Recognises all children, including those in the early years, have significant views and experiences in order that children's active involvement in community issues and decision-making are valued.
2.3 Guarantees all children's right to play and facilitate multiple opportunities for play through the provision of places/spaces that motivate, stimulate, invite discovery, creativity, fun and natural play. This is most critical during the early years (the most formative years) given that this facilitates resilience and capacity to cope later in life.
2.4 Establishes, maintains and monitors childcare and educational facilities that provide for all children irrespective of financial, family situation, class, caste, gender, ethnicity, religion, and ability. The approach should be transdisciplinary and seek views of practitioners as well as academics.
2.5 Ensures that all adults engaging with children are aware of, and secure the rights of children, including adults acquiring the knowledge and skills that best meet the needs of all children.
Principle 3: A child friendly city and community recognises children's unique experience of traumatic events
3.1 Engages children to define their own best interests at all stages of the traumatic events.
3.2 Implements child-centred policies that recognise the need to support children through multiple phases of natural and human-made disasters from preparation to immediate support, short-term, medium-term and long-term support.
3.3 Guarantees children's right to survival and development, by recognising, promoting and supporting children of all abilities physical, psychological, social, spiritual, environmental, recreational and cultural capacities.
3.4 Secures the right to education and health through immediate provision of facilities and services, and children's access to these irrespective of class, caste, gender, colour or ethnicity.
3.5 Respects the fundamental importance of children's knowledge, views, and experiences in preparing, responding and delivering infrastructure and services.
3.6 Implements legal mechanisms that protect children from exploitative environments, including activities such as violence, sexual assault, trafficking, prostitution, forced adoptions or child marriage.
3.7 Acknowledges regional diversity and meets each region's unique needs by building capacity for supporting children before, during, and after natural and human-made disasters events.
3.8 Creates opportunities for social learning, including disseminating research, knowledge and skills at all levels of government, by supporting inter-organisational partnerships and community groups.
Principle 4: A child friendly city and community supports children's participation in planning
4.1 Ensures collaboration and integrity in all stages of the planning processes and is inclusive of all children's ideas and opinions, including children who are disadvantaged, and seeks to act responsibility.
4.2 Highlights the benefits of adopting child-friendly strategies to current work practices and strategies must be concentrated around the empowerment of children and the benefit of outcomes for children's lives.
4.3 Recognizes and is willing to modify philosophies and work practices in order to accommodate children's desires through authentic participation.
4.4 Utilises the local media to connect and engage with children, local communities and stakeholders to enable planning work to be celebrated, recognised and represented in ways to gain community support.
4.5 Acknowledges planning processes are on-going and evolve through the developmental stages of children's participation therefore allowing them to be recognised in their own right.
Principle 5: A child friendly city and community recognises the key role of governance
5.1 Acknowledges that children of all ages, abilities and circumstances have the right to be recognised as equal citizens and their participation in decision-making across the variety of levels of government is fundamental to a city committed to its children
5.2 Realises that good governance through the management of resources and budgets is key to a city that will improve the opportunities for children to be active citizens now and in the future
5.3 Provides opportunities for key stakeholders including children and child advocates to come together and construct a city-wide resolution and agreement of the terms of reference through which the child friendly cities initiative will be framed
5.4 Develops reliable data through the respectful engagement of children across the community and constructs a local plan of action emphasizing ongoing opportunities for children's authentic participation
5.5 Supports the development of a monitoring and coordinating committee that evaluates the progress of the community to respond and act on what children say is important to them
We, the participants of the Child Friendly Cities Regional Network meeting at Solo City, in collaboration with the 400 regional members of the Child Friendly Asia Pacific Regional Network, support and declare that regional, state and national governments who are signatories to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child should take up the key principles as established here in order to ensure we are as a region are working towards a vision of being a Child Friendly Asia Pacific that engages children.
Signed on this day, 2 July 2011.
Chair, Child Friendly Asia Pacific Network
On behalf of the members of the network