UNICEF’s (CFCI) is a global framework for local municipalities to actively work to establish and protect the rights of children. Launched in 1996 by UNICEF and UN-Habitat, the CFCI has over two decades of experience in 3,000 municipalities in over 40 countries, with an estimated 30 million children impacted. At its core, a child-friendly city is a local system of good governance committed to fulfilling children's rights, where the voices, needs, priorities and rights of children are at the center of all public policies, programs and decisions.
The CFCI builds on several trends in the United States today that make local governments increasingly important in advancing children’s well-being. Firstly, as federal investment in children is shrinking, public spending on children increasingly comes from state and local governments. Secondly, the past decade has seen an increase in city-based pilots that build on the dynamism and capacity of local governments to test innovative policies. Finally, there is a rising focus on young people raising their voices on issues affecting them – a development that UNICEF has contributed to by providing a platform to elevate the voices of young people.
The expert group meeting (EGM) aims to build a learning community to assist in the development of CFCI in North America, together with local government representatives and staff, childhood policy and child rights experts and UNICEF. In pursuit of this goal, the EGM is convened achieve the following objectives: