World leaders have listened
A few weeks ago I, and my fellow youth campaigners, attended the Habitat III conference and on top of the 28,000 signatures we received from around the world, world leaders attending the conference also signed up to our campaign. With this level of support we can make cities safer for girls.
It was incredible to receive such support from Australia to India, the UK and Latin America. Marta Santos País – the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children noted that, “without your inspiration we will not build the cities of your dreams. I am with you.”
As well as signing up to our petition, the world leaders confirmed real pledges to make cities safer for girls. The New Urban Agenda, is the new global standard in how cities are built and was the outcome document of the conference. In it, there are promises that girls will feel safe in cities, and on public transport, as well as being represented in decision-making.
We are so happy with the outcome of the conference, but now we need to make sure the changes happen. We couldn’t have done this without the support of the people that signed the petition – tens of thousands of signatures opened doors that would usually have been closed for a group of young campaigners.
For us, seeing change at a national level was also a goal of this petition – too often girls are harassed on the streets of Quito and we don’t feel safe on public transport. Plan International’s Day of the Girl takeover allowed 100 girls access to Ecuador’s National Assembly, where we could speak to Ecuador’s parliament about the changes we want to see in our cities.
We sat in the National Assembly and discussed the rights of girls in cities in Ecuador and the Assembly approved our recommendations to make cities safer and to include girls in the decision making.
We’re now confident that by 2030, when there will be 700 million girls living in cities, that they will be more carefully planned and girls will be involved in the decisions regarding their own cities.
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