Administrators’ Delegation from South Korea visits some “child friendly communities” in Switzerland

A delegation of 15 representatives of administrative authorities from four provinces in South Korea is to visit a number of “child friendly communities” in Switzerland from September 11 to 15. The trip covers Baden, Kriens, Lucerne and Geneva and is to focus mainly on the topics of participation by children and young people and “child friendly living environments”. The Committee for UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein is organizing the one-week visit.

Delegation aus Südkorea besucht am ersten Tag ihrer Reise die Tagesschule «Ländli» in der «Kinderfreundliche Stadt» Baden.

A delegation of 15 representatives of administrative authorities, including four mayors from various South Korean provinces, arrived yesterday in Switzerland accompanied by six employees of UNICEF Korea. The aim of the week-long stay is to visit the “child friendly communities” in Baden, Kriens, Lucerne and Geneva, have discussions on site with the managers, and find out how the Swiss communities successfully implement child rights and what this means in concrete terms for the communities and the children and young people. “I am thrilled, and it fills me with pride to have the opportunity to discuss and consult with the delegation from South Korea about our long experience with the ‘child friendly community’ initiative,” says Bettina Junker, CEO of UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein. “I am convinced that we will benefit greatly on both sides from this week and be able to further improve the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in our countries as a result.” 

The South Korean delegation, including the CEO of UNICEF Korea, was welcomed by UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein yesterday. Today, the delegation will start by visiting the city of Baden, where the central focus will be on the topics of reconciling work and family life and on places for children, young people and families.  Visits to the “Ländli” day school, “Karussell” family center and “Graben” playground will demonstrate Baden’s commitment to these areas in exemplary fashion. The afternoon will take the delegation to the “Heuried” community center in Friesenberg, Zurich. Following the showcasing of the support and development of needy local districts and young people, as well as the canton of Zurich’s development of children and young people, “okaj zürich” will also present its programs.

The first stop on Wednesday will be the “Schappe Kulturquadrat” in Kriens, a lively place of cultural interaction in a former silk spinning mill. The visit to Kriens will be rounded off by a tour of the “Langmatt” leisure facility, deemed to be a model example and presented with the “Inspire Award” by UNICEF International in 2019. In the afternoon, the delegation will attend a session of the Children’s Parliament at the “Treibhaus” in Lucerne in the presence of two of the city’s counselors and will discuss the implementation of Article 12 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, that is to say the right of participation.

A visit to the city of Geneva is planned for Thursday and Friday. The program will begin at the “Manège en Ville”, which provides a range of programs for children and families centrally at a single location. Next, Councilor Christina Kitsos will present the current action plan in the context of the “Child Friendly Communities” initiative. A meeting with members of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child will round off the day with an examination of the situation of children in Switzerland.

The delegation’s route on the last day will also lead to the Palais Wilson, where the situation of children in Korea will be discussed with more members of the Committee on the Rights of the Child. Before the one-week trip concludes in the United Nations’ “Palais des Nations”, the delegation will also meet with employees of UNICEF International, which is based in Geneva.

"Child Friendly Communities” in Switzerland and Liechtenstein

All children have an equal right to be properly cared for, supported and protected and to participate in the life of society. They have a right to participate and to have a say in the design of their living environment. The cantons and communities are responsible for the implementation of child rights in Switzerland. With the “Child Friendly Communities” initiative, UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein has therefore set itself the goal of supporting communities in implementing child rights in a consistent and interdisciplinary manner. The initiative provides community decision-makers with a tool for reviewing the impact of their programs and projects on children and improving child friendliness: this means involving the children and young people, considering their needs and supporting their development.

The “Child Friendly Communities” initiative has been running in Switzerland since 2006, and in Liechtenstein since 2018. UNICEF Switzerland and Liechtenstein has already had the opportunity to present more than 62 “Child Friendly Community” awards. These communities from very small towns to major cities.

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