SMC inks MoU with Unicef under Child Friendly Cities Initiative

Posted on 14 Aug 2023
Source of News: The Borneo Post (Conny Banji)

Ting and Escallon show the signed documents. From second left are Lau and Tiang. — Photo by Conny BanjiTing and Escallon show the signed documents. From second left are Lau and Tiang. — Photo by Conny Banji

SIBU (Aug 14): The Sibu Municipal Council (SMC) and United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) today signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) under the Unicef Child Friendly Cities Initiative (CFCI).

Chairman Clarence Ting signed on behalf of SMC, while Unicef Malaysia Social Policy chief Dr Juanita Vasquez Escallon was the other signatory.

Ting said by embarking on this journey, SMC seeks to ensure children have a good start in life and grow up feeling safe as well as cared for.

“Children will also have opportunities to express their opinions and influence decisions on issues that affect them.

“As a city, we are still recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic and movement control order. This initiative will ensure we build back better,” he said.

Escallon said the MoU marks the start of building a child-friendly city in Sibu.

She said a child-friendly city can improve children’s lives by having safer neighbourhoods, efficient school and health systems, and enhanced infrastructure for the community.

“The CFCI will complement the Smart City Proof of Concept, the Age Friendly City and Community Initiative, and Sustainable Development Goals initiatives already undertaken by the council.

“Through this journey to become a Child Friendly City, Sibu will transform into a city where every child enjoys every right, and no one is left behind.

“It is our sincere hope that this initiative will play a catalytic role in Sarawak’s Post Covid-19 Development Strategy 2030,” she said and added that according to the 2020 Census, 20.9 per cent of Sibu’s population are children aged 0 to 14 years.

Sibu is the fifth in Sarawak to enter into an agreement with Unicef on CFCI after Miri, Kuching South, Kuching North, and Padawan.

CFCI is endorsed by the Ministry of Public Health, Housing and Local Government; Ministry of Women, Childhood and Community Wellbeing Development; and Economic Planning Unit Sarawak.

Deputy Minister for Public Health, Housing and Local Government II Michael Tiang witnessed the ceremony, while Deputy Dewan Rakyat Speaker Alice Lau was also present.