Tripartite MoU signed to support Abu Dhabi as a Child-Friendly City Initiative

In a significant step towards creating an environment supportive of mothers, children, and adolescents, the House of Sustainability at the COP28 conference witnessed the signing of a tripartite memorandum of understanding between the Supreme Council for Motherhood Childhood, the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority, and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Gulf Area office, to support the Abu Dhabi Child-Friendly City initiative.

The tripartite memorandum of understanding ceremony was held at the COP28, reaffirming the United Arab Emirates’ commitment to a sustainable future and demonstrating ongoing efforts to create a better world for children and future generations.

The memorandum was signed by Rym bint Abdullah Al Falasi, Secretary-General of the Supreme Council for Motherhood Childhood, Sana Mohammed Suhail, Director-General of the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority, and ElTayeb Adam, UNICEF Representative in the Gulf region.

The Abu Dhabi Child-Friendly City initiative aims to transform the c
ity into a haven prioritising the well-being, rights, and comprehensive development of children. The initiative focuses on inclusive urban planning, child-centered social services, and participatory governance, ensuring children’s needs and voices are central to the city’s development. The initiative strives to create safe, inclusive, and attractive environments for children, in line with the broader vision of promoting an educational city through a focus on protection, access to quality education, healthcare, and recreational facilities. These collaborative efforts demonstrate a deep commitment to shaping a city where every child thrives, in line with the aspirations of the UAE’s mother, child, and adolescent-friendly strategy.

The tripartite memorandum, representing a pioneering collaboration between the Supreme Council for Motherhood Childhood, the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority, and the UNICEF office, is a significant step towards achieving the UAE’s mother, child, and adolescent-friendly strategy.
This strategy, initiated by H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, the Mother of the Nation, Chairwoman of the General Women’s Union (GWU), President of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood, and Supreme Chairwoman of the Family Development Foundation (FDF), is a testament to the state’s commitment to nurturing and empowering younger generations.

Since 1996, UNICEF’s Child-Friendly Cities Initiative has helped cities worldwide fulfill children’s rights, using the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child as a foundation. The network connects entities working with children globally to make their cities and communities child-friendly and enables them to build safer, more sustainable, and resilient cities and communities.

This memorandum serves as a roadmap for Abu Dhabi to become part of UNICEF’s Child-Friendly Cities Initiative, outlining how Abu Dhabi will participate in the initiative and how UNICEF will support Abu Dhabi in becoming a child-friendly city.

Rym Al Falasi emphasised the imp
ortance of the Abu Dhabi Child-Friendly City initiative in establishing global standards for child care and development. This step is crucial in creating an urban environment that considers children’s needs and enhances their rights and well-being. Child-friendly cities contribute to healthy child development by providing protection, exceptional educational opportunities, advanced health facilities, and safe, stimulating recreational spaces. They also encourage participatory initiatives that involve children in decision-making, enhancing their sense of belonging and social skills development.

She added that the UAE, guided by wise leadership and supported by H.H. Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak, a driving force in developing policies supporting motherhood and childhood, demonstrates a strong and ongoing commitment to child care and development. The UAE is making significant efforts, reflected in adopting multiple initiatives aimed at enhancing children’s educational, health, and social environments. These initia
tives reflect the state’s deep desire to provide a strong foundation for children’s futures, focusing on creating an inclusive and stimulating environment that helps children realize their full potential, reaffirming its leading role in promoting child rights and development regionally and globally.

Sana Suhail appreciated the efforts of the Supreme Council for Motherhood Childhood, the UNICEF office, and all strategic partners in supporting the early childhood development agenda in Abu Dhabi and the country. She emphasised the importance of investing in a healthy, safe environment with green and recreational spaces for children and families to enhance the quality of life for children and the community. This requires the collaboration of individuals and institutions to achieve this goal.

She stated that the aim of this cooperation is to improve the quality of life for children, parents, and the community, encourage children’s individual growth in a cooperative and supportive society, preserve identity, enha
nce a sense of belonging for all community members, ensure a safe and healthy environment for all children, and develop and utilise facilities optimally to support the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Development Strategy 2035. This will enhance sustainability and prosperity in the future, ensuring all children have the best opportunities for growth and development.

Tayeb Adam expressed his pleasure in signing the agreement with the Supreme Council for Motherhood Childhood and the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority regarding the Child-Friendly Cities Initiative. He said, “We first extend our heartfelt thanks to our main partners in the UAE. At UNICEF, we value our distinguished partnership with the Supreme Council for Motherhood Childhood and the Abu Dhabi Early Childhood Authority in the framework of the Child-Friendly Cities Initiative and other projects and initiatives. We appreciate the significant and effective role of our partners in achieving the future aspirations of the United Arab Emirates for every chil
d.” He also mentioned that the UAE always strives to ensure that all children have their right to survival, health, growth, learning, and development to reach their full potential.

Adam affirmed that the UAE has achieved significant leaps and transformations in the fields of education, health, protection, and child participation, thanks to the developmental policies and programs adopted by the country’s political leadership. These efforts prove the UAE’s commitment to implementing the Convention on the Rights of the Child day by day. The primary goal of signing the Child-Friendly Cities Initiative agreement is to provide a framework for cooperation among all parties to accelerate the implementation of child rights in line with national development goals, the national strategy for motherhood and childhood, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

“We aim to replicate the successful experience of the Emirate of Sharjah, which has been recognised as a child-friendly emirate, in all emirates of the state.
This agreement will provide an opportunity to engage in various forms of cooperation with all relevant partners in the UAE, considering the Child-Friendly Cities Initiative as multi-sectoral,” he concluded.

Source: Emirates News Agency