World Vision International: Partners highlight power of technology to ensure participatory urban governance

World Vision International: Partners highlight power of technology to ensure participatory urban governance

As Co-Chair of the Children and Youth Group in the General Assembly of Partners for Habitat III, World Vision is calling for the New Urban Agenda to ensure the recognition of children’s rights, their right to protection from urban violence, abuse, exploitation and discrimination, participation in city planning, and the provision of safe spaces to learn, develop, and grow in a healthy and stable environment.

During a statement to UN member states during the PrepCom3 meeting in Surabaya, Indonesia, Joyati Das, Senior Director of World Vision International’s Global Urban Programmes highlighted, “The complex dynamics of rural-urban mobility is presenting new risks to city planning and decision making authorities. Most city governments and local institutions are struggling to deal with the issue and often overlook migrant voices and experiences. Migrant children are more vulnerable to being exploited to child labourers in the city.”

“Data on children’s vulnerabilities, well-being and extreme poverty that is experienced in urban slum communities can be obscured by the relative affluence of their neighbouring communities. Local governments must engage in participatory approaches to data collection, working with local institutions and the private sector to fill in the data gap issue.”

Throughout the week’s events, World Vision highlighted the critical role of city authorities to promote children’s participation in urban development processes - activating a city-wide Children’s Rights Strategy, establishing a Children’s Rights Unit or coordinating mechanism, and allocating budget accordingly.

In a side event, co-led by World Vision, titled “Human Rights the Right to the City: Towards Inclusive and Equitable Cities”, Ms Das stated, “Children and youth can drive social, political, technological and economic transformation in the city, rather than be considered mere beneficiaries. They must be given access to platforms where they are able to contribute their knowledge to public debate and discussions”.

This message was affirmed by Rupak Kumar Gouda, a youth representative, supported by Humara Bachpan Campaign, who highlighted the need to empower youth to contribute to city planning processes. During the side event “Prioritising Children and Youth in the New Urban Agenda”, co-led by the National Institute for Urban Affairs and the UN Major Group for Children and Youth, he stated “Living in a slum, I have firsthand knowledge and experience of the issues we face regarding violence and lack of services… Governments still do not listen to us.”

Ms Das highlighted several examples of participatory approaches addressing the issue of data from India, Honduras, Brazil and Kenya. These case studies demonstrated how children and youth have used technology to map their city and its issues, thereby reducing barriers to information accuracy, exchange and creating opportunities for civic participation in urban governance. 

Ms Das also called upon the New Urban Agenda to highlight the importance of social resilience, resilience to conflict and chronic urban violence, and the need for interfaith dialogue and partnerships to promote peacebuilding in cities.

Read or watch World Vision International’s state on UNWebTV


Article by World Vision International 
Photo Credits: World Vision International (CC)