"Insight, Creativity and Thoughts on the Environment": Integrating Children and Youth into Human Settlement Development
This paper discusses the benefits of involving children in planning & managing human settlements both for the children, as they learn the formal skills of democracy, & for the wider community, as young people contribute their knowledge, energies, & perceptions about local environments, & remind adults of their rights & their special needs & vulnerabilities. Children learn active & responsible citizenship through opportunities to practice it -- but this requires formal channels to incorporate children into school- & community-based programs for evaluating, planning, & caring for local environments. This paper reminds governments of the commitments they have made to such an approach in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, Agenda 21, & the Habitat Agenda. It also discusses what underlies effective children's participation in development planning, drawing on the author's work as coordinator of the Growing up in Cities program & on other innovative policies & practices. This includes a realistic sense of what can be accomplished; supportive adults; & particular efforts to involve girls, the youngest & those from marginalized groups. Adapted from the source document.