City governance for and with children

This paper seeks to suggest certain principles of good governance for children, drawing on examples of local city governments from around the world that have addressed childrens needs in new ways. It does not focus on what was done in these cases, but rather the principles behind these actions that can be transferred from city to city. The paper examines the responsibility of different authorities and service providers towards children, and the importance of defining these responsibilities and integrating them into public agencies agendas. It looks at definitions of good governance and the evaluation of the quality of the relationship between government institutions and civil society. It proposes that good governance for children means ensuring a web of local institutions that warrant service provision, protection and participation of children. This includes making sure that children feel that their views and needs are taken seriously. The role of local government is examined, and innovative initiatives for involving children in local governance are analysed. The discussion leads up to conclusions on how to create incentives for local action and developing a local plan. Factors facilitating the process are proposed such as national constitutions that support rights-based approaches; bottom-up democratic pressure; decentralisation; national legislation; national government commitment for support; international human rights conventions; and top-down democratic safe-guards for political rights and support for local democracy. The paper also focuses especially on the importance of information systems; training for those who deal with children; learning from othersÆ experiences; integrating support of children in all areas of governance; and cities working for and with parents. Text boxes are included through the paper, presenting and analysing different examples of city governance involving children (e.g. PRODEL in Nicaragua and the Childrens Participatory Budget Council in Barra Mansa, Brazil).

17 p.
David Satterthwaite, International Institute for Environment and Development, 3 Endsleigh Street, London WC1H 0DD, UK