The cities of the world are often regarded as hubs of wealth and priviledge, but they are also home to hundreds of millions of children for whom poverty and exclusion are a daily reality. Some of these children live on the street; many more live in dangerous, insanitary housing which often lacks the most basic amenities, including clean water and satisfactory sanitation. These urban children rarely have access to adequate services, including schooling, or to safe areas for play and recreation. The imperative of economic survival can mean not only that parents are unable to dedicate sufficient time to childcare, but also that children themselves are forced to work, often in hazardous conditions. Yet all this need not be the case: this Digest examines the potential of good urban governance founded upon human rights principles to promote positive change for and with children. The key to eradicating urban poverty and exclusion lies in the development of child-friendly cities where childrenâ€™s rights are made a priority in budgeting, planning and resource allocation and where childrenâ€™s voices inform the democratic process.
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