KUCHING, Feb 3 — The city of Kuching under the Kuching North City Commission (DBKU) will now become a city that has a friendly approach towards children, said Datuk Dr Abdul Rahman Junaidi.

According to the deputy minister of utilities and telecommunications, the plan is implemented through the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (Unicef)’s Child Friendly Cities Initiatives (CFCI) carried out in collaboration with DBKU and Unicef.

For the purpose, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between DBKU and Unicef at the DBKU Headquarters, Bukit Siol here yesterday, witnessed by Dr Abdul Rahman, who is in charge of DBKU.

Signing the MoU were DBKU director Mohamed Khaidir Abang and Sanja Saranovic, who is Unicef Programme deputy representative.

Attending the MoU signing ceremony were DBKU Datuk Bandar Datu Junaidi Reduan; Women, Childhood and Community Wellbeing Development director Noriah Ahmad and Dr Juanita Vasquez Escallon, who is Unicef chief of Social Policy.

“This auspicious day marks another important milestone for both DBKU and Unicef in a series of endeavours that range from generating evidence on children, finding innovative solutions to identified problems, to enhancing an environment within communities where children feel safe and nurtured, provided with opportunities and elements to thrive and are given opportunities to express their opinions and influence decisions that affect them.

“It thus gives me great pleasure to warmly welcome everyone to this MoU-signing ceremony and I am also delighted that we have finally come to this day,” Dr Abdul Rahman said after the signing of the MoU.

He also mentioned that CFCI is part of the Unicef cooperation programme with the Malaysian government, which is implemented based on the Basic Cooperation Agreement signed between Unicef and the Malaysian government on July 1, 1964.

Since 1996, he said Unicef’s CFCI has empowered children’s rights through the Child Friendly Cities Network around the world to assist in upholding children’s rights through the United Nations (UN) Convention.

The initiative also enables stakeholders to build safer, cleaner and more resilient cities and communities, thus the execution of the MoU signed yesterday will emerge the City of Kuching North as a Child Friendly City under the CFCI initiative.

“A Child Friendly City is a city, town, community or any system of local governance committed to fulfilling child rights as articulated in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“It is a city or community where the voices, needs and priorities of children are an integral part of public policies, programmes and decisions influencing their lives and future.

“For example, the concept of Child Friendly Cities is having things such as child friendly schools, child friendly hospitals, child friendly communities, child friendly budget and child friendly toilets,” he said.

Thus for implementation, Dr Abdul Rahman said that DBKU and Unicef will be working together in preparing the best action plan to transform the City of Kuching North into a Child Friendly City.

He said that the action plan will include clear objectives, impact, indicators, benchmarks, budgets, timelines along with the criteria required to obtain the recognition as a Child Friendly City by Unicef.

He also said that the implication of the MoU is the City of Kuching North will gain the recognition as a Child Friendly City by Unicef after the implementation of the CFCI.

“It thus marks the start of a journey for DBKU to be recognised as a CFCI city and be part of a local and global network of more than three thousand (3,000) cities around the world.

“Beyond today’s MoU, DBKU looks forward to further enhancing cooperation and collaboration with Unicef in ensuring children’s right to protection, health and education.

“I am confident this will inspire the discovery of greater opportunities as we move towards a Child Friendly City and with our concerted efforts, the MoU that both parties signed this afternoon will deliver the benefits it promises,” he said. — Borneo Post Online



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