Sharjah Is Named “Child Friendly City” by UNICEF

In a groundbreaking achievement for the UAE, Sharjah has been named a ‘Child- Friendly City’, CFC, by the United Nations Children’s Fund, UNICEF, for its outstanding efforts and accomplishments in the protection and promotion of children’s rights.

Sharjah has been crowned as the first city in the world to receive the UN’s prestigious title after successfully meeting the new international requirements and criteria launched by UNICEF’s global CFC initiative and its new brand identity last month, to ensure the fulfillment of children’s rights under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The CFC initiative aims to make the greatest positive impact on the lives of children and adolescents in the cities, towns and villages where they live.

During a special session for Sharjah’s children and youth at Consultative Council of Sharjah, the title was announced.

“Our key goal has been, and always will be, to provide the sound foundations for a society where everyone can participate in shaping a future that is fit their ambitions and ours. And in spite of technological evolution and changing tools of labour, it is the human who will determine the direction and progress of societies and civilisations through ideology and determination.” Said H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi.

His Highness thanked everyone who contributed to this achievement, saying, “Thank you all for your presence. I would also like to extend my sincerest gratitude and personal thanks to Balagopal Gopalan, Louise Thivant, Essam Ali and the United Nations Children’s Fund team for their wholehearted support, and the members of the Sharjah Steering Committee for their dedication and unwavering efforts. And foremost, I would like to thank H.H. Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, and all those who work alongside her, as what we reap today is the result of their continuous efforts in raising our generations.”

Addressing the children and youth, His Highness said, “Today, we are here for you and will always work for you. I want you to know that every effort undertaken by Sharjah is a responsibility for us and a fundamental right for you. And we will always strive to achieve more. This is why we established the Sharjah Children Shura Council and the Youth Shura Council where you can be a major influence on your society and enhance your loyalty to the nation.

“We are delighted with the official announcement by UNICEF in naming Sharjah as a Child-Friendly City, the world’s first city to receive this prestigious title, according to the United Nations’ new standards and principles.”

His Highness, the Ruler of Sharjah, added, “I would like to recall my words when Sharjah was crowned with the Baby-Friendly City title. That day I said that our efforts will not stop and we will strive for more, because the welfare of children has no limits, and it is more than a goal by which to receive regional and international recognition. Taking care of our children is a divine duty and a commitment towards our stability. It reinforces our goals of humanitarian values and compassion, which I believe are the bridges that lead to excellence in all aspects of life. Today, we are here again to celebrate a new milestone on our continuous journey”.

With the new honour, Sharjah has added a new milestone to the UAE’s rich portfolio of achievements in child protection and welfare. This is due to momentous efforts spearheaded by Sharjah’s childcare institutions which have provided a role model for other global organisations affecting children’s well-being.

The ceremony was attended by Sheikh Salem bin Abdulrahman Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Sharjah Ruler’s Office, Sheikh Mohammed bin Humaid Al Qasimi, Director of Sharjah Department of Statistics and Community Development, Dr. Hessa Khalfan Al Ghazal, Executive Director of the Sharjah Baby-Friendly Office, SBFO, and members of the Steering Committee of Sharjah’s Project to attain the Child-Friendly City status.

A number of the members of the Sharjah Children’s Shura Council and Sharjah Youth Shura Council, in addition to students from Sharjah’s schools, also attended the ceremony.

Over the past 40 years, Sharjah has become home to many centres and institutions concerned with children, working to provide all forms of protection and care for children from an early age until they reach adulthood.

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