The City of Rijeka – a child friendly city
Towards the end of 2005, the City of Rijeka, as one of the first cities and communes in the Republic of Croatia, was assigned a honorary title of the Child Friendly City, which means that it was recognised as the city that actively and efficiently devoted itself to improving health, education and upbringing, social welfare, sports and recreation, culture and other aspects of the life of children and youth.
The City of Rijeka was awarded this prestigious recognition within the initiative “Child Friendly Cities and Municipalities” in which it has been included since 2000, namely since its very beginning. The goal of the initiative is to motivate adults in cities and municipalities, i.e. at local level, to realise more completely the rights and needs of children recognised under the UN “Convention on the Rights of the Child“.
The main organisers of the initiative Child Friendly Cities and Municipalities are the Union of Societies Naša Djeca, Croatia, and the Croatian Organisation for Preventive and Social Paediatrics. The initiative is carried out under the auspices of the UNICEF, Croatian Office.
The decision taken by the Central Coordinating Committee of the initiative “Child Friendly Cities and Municipalities”, that assigned this honorary title to Rijeka, was influenced by several factors. First of all, the results of two conducted public opinion polls, tied to the quality and conditions of life of children in Rijeka. From the survey we would like to point out that 75% of polled adults replied affirmatively to the question whether they would choose Rijeka if they could choose the city in which their child would have happy childhood, more than 60% of polled children considered that the inhabitants of Rijeka were pleasant and friendly, over 80% of them felt safe in our city and over 90% stated that it was pleasant to live in Rijeka.
Also, the decision was taken in accordance with the opinion of the evaluation committee of the Union of Societies Naša Djeca, Croatia on the basis of the conversation with the members of the Coordinating Committee of the initiative in Rijeka and visits paid to different institutions and associations that actively take part in the improvement of the quality of life of children and youth. Furthermore, the decision was influenced by the recognitions that the City had received up to that moment for successfully implementing the initiative and improving the quality of life of children and data standardised by a questionnaire with about 200 questions relating to the realisation up to that point of action goals from different areas of health, education etc. submitted to the Central Coordinating Committee. By obtaining this honorary title, the City of Rijeka, by all means, became committed to continuing and maintaining these achievements to the same extent and quality.
Having received the title of the Child Friendly City, the City of Rijeka continued receiving awards year after year for its initiatives owing to which it enhanced and beautified children’s lives.
- In April 2000, the government of the City of Rijeka passed the Decision to include the City in the initiative Child Friendly Cities and Municipalities whereby they accepted the goals of the mentioned initiative as well as the realisation of its programme requests. In order to implement the initiative, the Coordinating Committee of the City of Rijeka was established which collected all the required data on the situation at the beginning of action realisation for the needs of an introductory self-evaluation questioner.
- At the session of the Rijeka City Council held in December 2001 a long-term programme was accepted relating to its participation in the initiative Child Friendly Cities and Municipalities for the period from 2001 to 2005 which states the mentioned recognised needs of children and youth, persons responsible for activities dedicated to children and youth and entities that plan to participate in single programme areas.
- After having obtained the honorary title of the Child Friendly City, and having placed the plaques with the honorary title – Child Friendly City at the city entrances, in 2010 the fourth meeting of the Child Friendly Cities and Municipalities was held in Rijeka to mark the first 10 years of the initiative Child Friendly Cities and Municipalities and 20 years of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the City of Rijeka continued working on the improvement of the quality of children’s lives through activities of almost all the city departments, in respect of which it regularly reports to the Central Coordinating Committee of the initiative.