On February 26, 2019 during his visit to Geneva, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus, Andrei Dapkiunas, took part in the featured event “Children’s rights through the perspective of the SDGs: friendly and smart sustainable cities as an essential condition for ensuring the effective enjoyment of the rights of the child” organized in the UN Office in Geneva and initiated by Belarus in cooperation with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
For the first time such event on the rights of children in the context of modern urban development with the participation of leading UN agencies was held in Geneva. Belarus initiated this event based on its’ national experience in developing a network of cities friendly to children and adolescents which already includes 25 cities, including Minsk.
The participants agreed on a direct link between the results of state development and, in particular, the development of urban infrastructure, and the ability of states to provide an adequate response to the development needs of children and, ultimately, an appropriate level of respect for the rights of a child.
The feasibility of end-to-end child factoring was emphasized as to the program planning of measures of national governments and local authorities to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Panelists pointed out the existence of a wide potential for improving interaction between governments, local city authorities, UN agencies, non-governmental and private sectors to promote development at the country level and to ensure the interests of each person and child.
The results of the event, as well as the national experience of Belarus in this area will be presented in April 2019 at the forum of mayors on the margins of the session of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, and later in Cologne at the global forum of cities friendly to children.
It is planned that the results of work on this issue will be useful as a source of best practices for interested states and agencies of the UN system.
UNICEF Regional Director, Afshan Khan, UNECE Executive Secretary, Olga Algayerova, Director of the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Bureau, Chaesub Lee, also addressed the event. Experts from these agencies, young people of Belarus, as well as a number of reputable international non-governmental organizations took part in the event as speakers.
Background Information: the concept of cities friendly to children and adolescents is a program designed to help the city become more child-friendly in all aspects related to management, infrastructure and services. A key element of such cities is the mandatory participation of children and young people in decision-making processes that affect their interests.