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5 July 2011

Brest, Gomel to become child friendly cities

MINSK, 5 July (BelTA) – Brest and Gomel will join the UNICEF Child Friendly City global initiative, BelTA learned from the UN Social Information Department in Belarus. Official ceremonies of signing trilateral cooperation agreements will take place on 5 and 7 July. Chairmen of the Brest and Gomel city halls will confirm their commitment to take care of children, provide favorable living conditions in the cities and contribute to implementing children’s rights. On UNICEF’s behalf the memorandum will be signed by UNICEF representative in Belarus Yury Oksamitny, Deputy Education Minister Viktor Yakzhik will represent Belarus. To date partaking in this initiative are Pinsk, Pruzhany, Borisov, Dobrush, Svetlogorsk and Novopolotsk. Minsk is expected to join the initiative by late 2011. The National Center for Artistic Creativity of Children and Youth is the coordinator of the project in Belarus. The UNICEF Child Friendly City global initiative serves as a kind of a tool, which helps reduce the negative impact of urban environment on a child’s life and maximizes opportunities that a city provides. A child friendly city is neither a model of an ideal city nor a special award. Participants of the project are eager to take care of children. The concept helps cities become more child-friendly in all avenues. The UNICEF initiative is different from other social programs as the children themselves take an active part in the program. Starting from 2000s Child Friendly Cities initiatives are burgeoning in France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Israel, Slovenia and Slovakia, Brazil, Turkey, Japan, Australia and beyond. In 2000 the International Secretariat of Child Friendly Cities was established in Italy. The primary objective of the secretariat is to carry out researches, exchange information and experience, cooperate with local authorities, NGOs and youth organizations.