Child Friendly City action was originally a Croatian action inspired by ideas and experiences that were undertaken in the world at the end of the 20th century for the benefit of children. At the international conference in Dakar (Senegal) in 1992, the idea of ​​mayors-protectors of children was highlighted as one of the ways for the city authorities to become more involved in the realization of children’s rights.


At the international conference in Dakar (Senegal) in 1992, the idea of mayors-protectors of children was highlighted as one of the ways for the city authorities to become more involved in the realization of children’s rights. This idea began to be implemented in Croatia during the war years under the name Mayors-Defenders of Children, whose action provided significant assistance to many displaced children and refugees.

The concept of child-friendly cities was presented for the first time at the UN Conference on Settlements and Housing in Istanbul, Habitat II (1996). Having in mind these initiatives at the meeting in the Union of Societies “Our Children” of Croatia, in January 1999, pediatrician prof. dr. sc. Josip Grgurić presented the initiative to establish the action Cities-friends of children, while the then secretary of the Union, dr. sc. Emil Paravina suggested that municipalities be included in the Action.

Thus, the Action in Croatia began at the end of 1999, and since then it has been led by the Union of Societies “Our Children” of Croatia and the Croatian Society for Preventive and Social Pediatrics under the auspices of the UNICEF Office for Croatia.

Through action, local communities exercise children’s rights under the UN Convention. Cities / municipalities, when they meet the criteria from the program, acquire the honorary title “Child Friendly City/Municipality”.

Currently, 152 cities / municipalities are included in the Action from that 81 city and 71 municipalities. The action encourages local communities to invest in services for children, a safe and healthy environment, health, education, culture, sports, children’s leisure time and to support parents in raising children.

SourceUnion of Societies “Our Children” of Croatia

The City of Opatija was awarded with the honorary title of “Child Friendly City” in 2005. A great contribution in obtaining the title of “friend of children” was given by the Society “Our Children” Opatija, which during all these years, and we will soon celebrate its 70th birthday, was the initiator, of great actions and life-changing activities for our children in our Video. “We are only 20 years old” on the occasion of marking the 20th anniversary of the action “Child friendly cities and municipalities“.

EUROCHILD CONFERENCE “Building a better Europe with children: All aboard!”, OPATIJA 2018

More than three hundred leading experts in the field of children’s rights, members of associations, policy makers and children and youth from 39 European countries visited Opatija from 29th to 31st of October and participated in the conference “Building a better Europe with children: All aboard!”.

Organized by the Eurochild network organization. The conference was hosted by the Society “Our Children” Opatija and the City of Opatija-Child Friendly City. The theme of the conference was the active participation of children in public policy-making at local, national and European level.

The motto of the conference was designed by children, and states: “We are counting on you, are you counting on us?”

On the last day of the conference, interesting Living Library workshops were held, where the workshop leaders shared their experiences and advice with the participants, and at the closing of the conference, the recommendations of children and youth addressed to policy makers were presented, which read:

  • Every government in Europe should introduce education on children’s right to participate as a compulsory part of every school’s curriculum;
  • Every government in Europe should implement an inclusive participation strategy, for ALL children, that obliges local, regional and national policy policy craters to take into account children’s attitudes;
  • Every government in Europe should be obliged to provide evidence of children’s influence in drawing up programs and participating in decision-making and implementation.
14th meetings of the Children’s Councils of Croatia

Meetings of the Children’s Councils of Croatia for the third time in Opatija.

The 14th meetings of the Children’s Councils of Croatia are organized by the Union of Societies “Our Children” of Croatia and the Ministry of Demography, Family, Social Policy and Youth under the auspices of the County Primorsko-goranska. The host of the meeting was SOC Opatija and the City of Opatija.

Participants from the Children’s Councils of Čakovec, Dubrovnik, Jastrebarsko, Karlovac, Koprivnica, Nova Gradiška, Ogulin, Opatija, Pregrada, Prelog, Pula, Rovinj, Šibenik, Tuhelj, Varaždin and Velika Gorica were greeted by Mayor Ivo Dujmić, Children’s Mayor Petra Deranja, President of the Union of Societies “Our Children” of Croatia dr. sc. Aida Salihagić Kadić, Secretary of SOC Opatija and Vice-President of SOC Croatia Sanja Škorić, Assistant Minister of Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy Maja Vučinić Knežević and Head of the Administrative Department for Social Policy and Youth of County Primorsko-goranska Dragica Marač.

Charts for “Best actions of 2018” were also announced, and the awards were won by the Children’s Councils from Pregrada and Pula. It is a competition for the best projects designed by children, which improve the lives of children in their communities. 15 projects from all over Croatia were submitted, and a commission composed of members of the 11th convocation of the Children’s City Council of Opatija decided that the best projects were “Happy Week” of the Children’s City Council of Pregrada and “Educational play in the form of a theater forum” of the Children’s Council of Pula.

This year’s Meeting of Children’s Councils is part of the large European conference “Building a better Europe with children: All aboard!” decision-making at local, national and European level entitled “Let’s participate – involving Children’s Councils in decision-making processes at EU levels”. The children will also bring their Declaration, which they will present to the participants of the Eurochild international conference.

Representatives of the 14th Meeting of Children’s Councils of Croatia, which took place in Opatija in parallel with the Eurochild conference – Nikola Dujmović from CC Rovinj, Lucija Brajković from CCC Opatija and Barbara Golub from CC Jastrebarsko also presented their conclusions and messages to adults. They said that adults should accept children as equal partners in the decision-making process at local, national and European level, sensitize the media to recognize the importance of children’s rights and that children should listen to adults, and adults should hear and listen to children because only through cooperation and joint effort we can ensure that the voices of children are heard.

The idea of organizing the Meeting of Children’s Councils started from Opatija in 2004 at the suggestion of the small councilor Ema Starčić from II. convocation of the Children’s City Council of the City of Opatija. Children’s City councilors supported Ema’s proposal and allocated funds from their Small Budget to the organization of the Meeting. Four councils took part in that first meeting, and today the number of participants has grown to about twenty. After that, Opatija was the host in 2008, and this year it was awarded the honor for the third time.

Cologne Declaration

Opatija is the only Croatian city that has signed the Cologne Declaration of Child Friendly Cities. The Child Friendly Cities campaign in our country has been implemented since 1999 and we are one of the first six cities in Croatia to take the title Child Friendly City in 2005, which places us among the pioneers at the world level.

At the World Summit of Child Friendly Cities held in UNICEF in Cologne from 15th to 18th of October, the Child Friendly Cities Inspire Awards 2019 were awarded, where Opatija was placed among the five finalists in the category of Significant Child Participation and was included in the list of 20 best world child-friendly cities that encourage innovative and inspiring solutions and projects to improve children’s rights locally. Out of 110 nominated cities in 6 categories, Opatija reached the finals and deserved special thanks from UNICEF for inspiring and encouraging cities around the world to implement examples of good practice with the aim of improving the lives of children.

In 2014, the municipality of Lovran was awarded the prestigious status of “Child friendly municipality” and now as many as 10 local governments in the County Primorsko-goranska have the status of a city/municipality friend of children, the most of all Croatian counties. The status award was held within the annual conference of the coordinator of the action “Child friendly cities and municipalities”, held at the Old Town Hall in Zagreb, on the occasion of 25 years of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and 15 years of the action “Child friendly cities and municipalities”. This prestigious name is the highest public social recognition to environments that systematically care about the protection of children and their rights and needs. The Municipality of Lovran voluntarily joined the Action in May 2002. The action stagnated until 2008 when the decision was made to relaunch the campaign “Child friendly cities/municipalities” with the aim of implementing the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in the daily lives of our youngest but adult citizens of our municipality and thus increasing the quality of life of children and young people in our environment.

What have we achieved?

  • arranged a pediatric clinic in Lovran,
  • provided budget funds for the work of a pediatrician,
  • the first children’s beach has been arranged,
  • funds have been provided for a social pedagogue at the primary school,
  • a register for children with disabilities, a register for children with speech difficulties and a register for children with chronic diseases have been developed,
  • the municipality arranged the approach to the school and marked the road with warnings for drivers near the school and kindergarten,
  • school activities are continuously monitored financially,
  • the work of the kindergarten is co-financed continuously,
  • the number of student scholarships has increased,
  • help to children and families of lower financial status.
  • Arranged six children’s playgrounds (Zippera, Zaheji, Gradska plaža, Medveja, Tuliševica, primary school),
  • Arranged two fitness parks,
  • Arranged cinema showing in the old Cinema hall with the latest children’s films,
  • Designed and organized competition to promote humanity and volunteerism among children “… and children’s acts can change the world”,
  • Designed gathering of parents of newborn children with appropriate lectures for parents in cooperation with SOC Opatija-Lovran branch,
  • Increased compensation for newborn children,
  • Organized Mića marunada,
  • Organized Lovran Children’s Day,
  • All dates important for the lives of children were marked,
  • Financial resources provided for the work of speech therapists and special educators at SOC Opatija Branch Lovran and financial resources for the employment of a social pedagogue at the Elementary School Viktor Car Emin Lovran,
  • Organized social assistance to children of lower financial status (assistance in the purchase of school supplies, clothing and footwear, going on trips, school in nature, etc.),
  • Guided care for chronically ill children, including assistance to their parents through educating children and parents about healthy lifestyles,
  • In the field of children’s rights and active children’s participation, extremely active activities of the Society Our children Opatija branch Lovran, in the Municipality of Lovran conducted numerous programs and trainings on active children’s participation and children’s rights, which include children of preschool and primary school age.

The Coordination Committee of the action “Lovran Child friendly municipality” consists of representatives of all institutions that care for children in Lovran (directors of Kindergarten Opatija, Elementary School Viktor Car Emin Lovran and Children’s Home Ivana Brlić Mažuranić Lovran, pediatrician, media and SOC Opatija – branch Lovran).

There are the following institutions that take care of children in Lovran: kindergarten, primary school, children’s home, city library, pediatric surgery and family medicine practices.

We actively and successfully cooperates with the Opatija’s MUP (Police Department), the Opatija’s Social Welfare Center and the Red Cross, as well as with the media.

Associations which operate in Lovran (School Sports Club Galeb, Croatian Football Club Lovran, Tennis Club Lovran, ŠRD ZUBATAC Lovran, JK ISTRA Lovran 1951, PD KNEZGRAD Lovran, Wind Orchestra Lovran, Shooting Club Lovran, DND Opatija – Branch Lovran, Association Toronjera, Boćarski club) which in their ranks especially nurture work with children and youth.

In 2004, the Central Coordination Committee of the action “Child friendly cities and municipalities” designed an award for organizing and evaluating original and new actions and activities for children carried out in local communities during the current year.

Each city and municipality, which participates in the action is expected to select, design and implement a new activity within its overall planned annual activity, which it considers the most necessary and useful for children that year.

Municipality of Lovran – charts for the best action:

  • Charter “Mića marunada”, 2009
  • Charter “For a happy smile at the doctor’s appointment”, 2010
  • Charter “Lovran’s kids to their spa”, 2011.
  • Praise “Let’s give with our hearts”, 2012
  • Praise “Lovran Children’s Day – Children’s Playful City”, 2013
  • Charter “Let’s bring a warm kiss to Čabar so that the snow can dig in faster”, 2014
  • Charter “International Day of Pink T-shirts – who tolerates, profits”, 2015
  • Charter for the picture book coloring book “Lovranski marunić”, 2016
  • Charter “Let’s walk together for children’s rights”, 2019