Research on governance and the implementation of the CRC at the local level is focused on Child Friendly Cities and Communities. In particular, researchers and practitioners have recognized a critical gap in the capacities and modalities of both community organisations and local government institutions to collect and analyze evidence on progress in fulfilling children's rights.
To help bridge this gap, an action-research effort (the Child Friendly Cities Research Initiative) is being undertaken. This aims to improve policy development for children at the local level by promoting awareness of children’s rights among stakeholders, mobilising communities and children, and generating data on the situation of children in participating cities and communities. The initiative is intended to yield a package of participatory assessment tools which are designed to be easily adapted to other local contexts and to be used by a variety of actors including children themselves, caregivers, community providers and municipal authorities.
The assessment tools, which have been pilot tested in two countries, are currently being applied in a diverse range of cities and communities in 9 countries: Brazil, the Philippines, the Dominican Republic, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan, France, Italy and Spain. Throughout the process, a consultative group of researchers has been providing technical support and feedback on the knowledge being generated. Two research workshops were held in Rome (November 2009) and Amman (January 2010) to offer an opportunity for sharing experience and training on the research methodology and tools. Global mapping of data on child-friendliness collaboration has been initiated with DevInfo, a database system established by the UN to monitor progress toward the Millennium Development Goals. An adapted software containing ‘child friendly’ indicators will be developed and tested in a selected sample of countries.
Three main products are being prepared:
• a self-administered protocol, including a set of indicators, for communities and cities to assess their degree of ‘child friendliness’ (measured in terms of fulfilment of child rights);
• an overview of different methods and mechanisms used by different local authorities, and:
• data on the situation of children in participating cities.
The research initiative is being undertaken in partnership with Childwatch International, a global network of institutions that collaborate in child research to promote knowledge on children's rights and child well-being, and with other offices of UNICEF. Technical coordination of the research is ensured by IRC and the Children's Environments Research Group (CERG) based at the City University of New York, with the support and participation of the Bernard Van Leer Foundation.
Other initiatives underway:
- Desk Review on CFC: in collaboration with UNICEF’s Adolescent Development and Participation Section and the Private Fundraising and Partnership, Child Rights Advocacy and Education group in Geneva, a review is being developed to provide a stocktaking of child friendly cities and related initiatives, supported and promoted by UNICEF Country Offices and National Committees.