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Child-friendly municipality

The Child-Friendly Municipality framework, facilitated by UNICEF, equips local authorities with tools to prioritise children's welfare within their administrative functions and everyday services. This model ensures the rights of all children, particularly those most vulnerable, are upheld.

Built upon the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the UNICEF International Model of Child Friendly Cities, this initiative has been active in Finland since 2012.

The City of Vaasa has embraced the model since 2022. The city aims to achieve recognition as a UNICEF Child-Friendly Municipality by 2025.

This is how the development work progresses in Vaasa

  1. Mapping of the state of child-friendly infrastructures was performed by the end of 2022

    By the end of 2022, Vaasa had completed an extensive assessment of its child-friendly infrastructure. This evaluation, informed by children’s experiences, model child rights indicators, and existing insights into child well-being within the city, provided a comprehensive overview. The assessment, conducted throughout 2022, considered all individuals under the age of 18.

  2. Consulting the children, action plan, and objectives for the year 2023

    Throughout 2023, Vaasa and UNICEF collaborated to establish objectives and strategies for their Child-Friendly Municipality initiatives, culminating in an action plan derived from the assessment’s findings. Additionally, consultations with children and young people were conducted during this period.

  3. Adoption, implementation, and monitoring of the 2024 Action Plan

    UNICEF approved the City of Vaasa’s Action Plan in January 2024. The Action Plan and the concrete measures to achieve its objectives will be implemented in cooperation with sub-groups from the city organisation.

  4. Evaluation and recognition in 2025

    UNICEF will decide whether or not to award the City of Vaasa the Child Friendly Municipality label.

What is a Child Friendly Municipality?

Objectives for the Child-Friendly Municipality work

A Child-Friendly Municipality seeks to ensure the following:

  • Every child feels valued.
  • Every child lives in safety.
  • Every child enjoys access to recreational activities.
  • Every child has friends and reliable adult support.
  • Every child has a voice in decision-making.
  • Every child’s perspective is considered in municipal planning.

Lasting improvements instead of momentary help

The Child-Friendly Municipality model drives enduring changes in municipal operations, resulting in tangible enhancements to leisure activities and decision-making processes prioritising children’s welfare.

Central to this approach is the development of a municipal ethos that places children’s well-being and rights at the forefront of all activities and decision-making processes.

The Child-Friendly Municipality model aligns with Finland’s commitment to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Read more about the Child-Friendly Municipality model on the website of UNICEF.

Action Plan and Objectives

The City of Vaasa’s Child-Friendly Municipality Action Plan (Finnish).


  1. Clear guidelines are in place to support the introduction and systematic implementation of the Child Impact Assessment (LAVA). Child Impact Assessments are carried out by a team of qualified professionals.
  2. Municipal staff and key stakeholders have been trained on children’s rights as part of their induction programmes.
  3. The municipality promotes opportunities for all children and young people to participate in hobbies and enjoy meaningful leisure time.
  4. Public transport routes, timetables, and maintenance of cycle paths are improved.
  5. The municipality has a variety of inclusive structures that consider the views of children and young people of different ages when planning and developing services.

UNICEF Child Friendly Municipality Recognition

For municipalities, like Vaasa, embarking on this journey, successful development work may lead to being recognised Child Friendly Municipality byfrom UNICEF. Typically, this developmental process spans over two years.

Vaasa commenced its participation in this initiative in December 2021.

After two to four years, UNICEF may grant the Child-Friendly Municipality recognition if the municipality meets the model’s criteria. Recognition applications will continue every four years, and the work towards a more child-friendly municipality continues.


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