UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh Mia Seppo on Monday called upon the development partners and stakeholders for promoting child friendly city initiatives aiming at ensuring a fair chance for all children to develop their future.
She made the call at a consultation dialogue titled ‘Child friendly city’ organised by Rangpur City Corporation at its conference room as part of the UNICEF supported ‘Urban Programme’ as the chief guest.Representatives from the UNICEF, UN Women, WFP, DFID, EU, adolescents and citizen groups participated in the dialogue presided over by Mayor of Rangpur Mostafizar Rahman Mostafa.
Mia Seppo emphasized on evidence-based priority programmes for the urban poor, giving more space for children and adolescents for raising their voices and connecting their distress.
She discussed collective efforts for improving the lives of children and adolescents, ensuring better health, nutrition, safe water and sanitation and education services for them through urban interventions.
Mayor Mostafa requested the UN agencies and donor organisations to support Rangpur City Corporation for building a better Rangpur city based on a comprehensive strategy.
He said Rangpur division is affected by deep rooted poverty, child labour, child marriage, low socio-economic status and natural disasters affecting children directly or indirectly in Rangpur city.
“We need to work together to ensure the rights of all children as mentioned in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child,” he said.As special guest UNICEF Rangpur field office Chief Najibullah Hameem termed children, adolescents and civil society as potential partners and catalysts on urban issues for children.
He urged for more programmatic collaboration with the UN Agencies, citizens’ groups and service providers to identify issues and find solutions with community and adolescents’ contributions.
The dialogue was facilitated by ‘Sobujer Sopnojoy’, a group of adolescents who visited several slums of Rangpur city and requested for coordinated urban programming for the urban poor who are still without access to basic services and in chronic poverty.
Adolescents from ‘Sobujer Sopnojoy’ (English- Chasing Dreams by the Evergreens) on social media platforms from all 33 wards of Rangpur city have started gathering online and raising their voices on child protection risks during COVID-19 pandemic.
Adolescents and citizen groups shared their concerns on lack of basic services, prevalence of harmful practices violating child rights including child labour, drug addiction and child marriage in slum areas of Rangpur city.
UN Humanitarian Affairs Adviser Henry Glorieux, UN Humanitarian Affairs Specialist Kazi Shahidur Rahman, Country Representative from UN Women Shoko Ishikawa, Head of Nutrition from WFP Jo Jacobson, DFID Humanitarian Advisor Nick Harvey and Associate Professor of Begum Rokeya University Dr Tuhin Wadud attended the event.