I had the pleasure of representing Aberdeen at the Unicef Child Friendly City accreditation board at its latest meeting and it underlined the importance of our bid to be recognised.
Launched by Unicef in 1996 and active in 40 countries, the initiative is designed to put the human rights of children and young people at the heart of local democracy – translating Unicef’s global mission into local action.
To achieve Child Friendly City status, Aberdeen will need to be able to demonstrate that we hear the voice of children and that we consider the impact on all children of the decisions we take.
We need to demonstrate that as a city, not just a Council, and there is support from a wide range of partners for the bid for Unicef recognition.
The accreditation will help us realise the ambition of ensuring citizens of Aberdeen, of all ages, are involved in decision making – something that is integral to the transformation journey we’re on.
The voices of children are definitely being heard on climate change. Across the world, including in Aberdeen, we saw young people strike to drive action on climate change. Locally pupils ensured their views were at the forefront and influenced the Council’s decision to ban the use of plastic straws.
I recently attended the national conference of Scotland Excel, the sector’s national buying body, and we heard from a group of influential children who were showing us the level of plastic content in a range of commodities local authorities purchase. That input will shift attitudes and continue to make a difference to the world we live in.
We’ve had a glimpse of the future and its going to become our present – because the children aren’t going to slow down! They are, after all, fighting for their own future and we all have a role in providing the support, encouragement and platforms to enable them to shape positive change.