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Florence landmarks 'go blue' to celebrate World Children's Day 2019

20 November marks 30th anniversary of the signing of the Convention on the Rights of the Child
20 Nov 2019

Brunelleschi's Loggiata degli Innocenti illuminated in blue with a World Children's Day multi-media display projected against it's walls in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the 600th anniversary of the Istituto Degli Innocenti and the 30th year since the establishment of UNICEF's Office of Research - Innocenti.

(20 November 2019) The City of Florence today joined UNICEF Innocenti and the Istituto degli Innocenti in '#GoBlue,' an initiative launched by UNICEF around the world to celebrate World Children’s Day Iconic Florentine monuments were illuminated in blue: the six ancient gates of the city; the Basilica of S. Miniato; and the facade of the Istituto degli Innocenti. The ‘blue landmarks’ event commemorates the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, the 600th anniversary of the founding of the Istituto degli Innocenti and the 30th year since establishment of the UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti here in Florence, housed in the same complex as the Istituto.

World Children’s Day is commemorated each year on 20 November, the date the Convention was adopted in 1989. The Convention is the most widely ratified UN human rights treaty in history, and has the backing of 196 countries. Italy was among the early signatories of the Convention and has demonstrated its commitment to promoting child rights with through a financial contribution to found and sustain UNICEF’s Office of Research-Innocenti.

Washed in blue light, the Loggiato degli Innocenti and the historic monuments of the City of Florence will remind thousands of visitors and residents about the importance of the commitment to children that the world made thirty years ago by approving the Convention. From sunset on 20 November, a multi-media presentation on the theme of World Children’s Day will run continuously until midnight on the original façade of the Istituto degli Innocenti in Piazza SS Annunziata.

“Today Florence goes blue, joining cities in Italy and throughout the world in calling for greater attention to children’s rights and a brighter future for all children,” said Priscilla Idele, UNICEF Innocenti Director, a.i “We are especially proud to be part of this huge global initiative, but we are even more proud this year to commemorate 30 years of our presence in Florence, as well as the 600 years of the Istituto degli Innocenti that has hosted us for thirty years.”

"The Istituto degli Innocenti, a special place where we have been working to defend the rights of children for 600 years, is perhaps the most suitable place to celebrate World’s Children’s Day in Florence’, remarks Maria Grazia Giuffrida, President of the Istituto degli Innocenti.  “Thanks to UNICEF, this Renaissance loggia in Piazza Santissima Annunziata -- where there is the small window which represents the first care provided by the Istituto -- is going blue on this special evening. This helps us to reflect on what remains to be done to ensure that the rights claimed 30 years ago in the UN Convention are fulfilled for all children of the world. The celebrations of the 600th anniversary of the Istituto degli Innocenti serve to remember us of history of child care and protection that have taken place here. Above all, it allows us to renew our commitment to institutions and cities and regions that support policies in favor of children and adolescents.”

"The blue light that today, exceptionally, illuminates the Brunelleschi's Loggia of the Istituto degli Innocenti, reminds us to turn the spotlight onto children and their rights,” states Giovanni Palumbo, Director General of the Istituto degli Innocenti. “I am thinking of the rights of those children who run away from their countries and wars, and who experience incredible suffering and difficulties and are unwillingly forced to become adults before time. Blue is already the color of the Istituto degli Innocenti and is also the color of UNICEF. We therefore hope that blue will increasingly become the color of children and their rights, their hopes, and their future. We will continue to paint blue our thoughts and our concrete daily actions in support of the protection and promotion of the rights of children and adolescents."

"The attention to the rights of children and adolescents is fundamental, and days like this are important to keep high the attention on the risks they are exposed to in Italy and everywhere," says City Councilor Sara Funaro. "This year we light up the Basilica of San Miniato, the Istituto degli Innocenti and the ancient city gates as a symbol of the opening and embrace of Florence towards the realization of children's rights. There is a universal consensus about the importance of guaranteeing the rights of the youngest citizens, but unfortunately we still have some work to do because many of them are -- in Italy too -- victims of violence or abuse, discrimination, marginalization or seriously neglected.”

Sara Funaro, Councilor of the Municipality of Florence and Priscilla Idele, Director a.i., UNICEF Innocenti, stand in front of the San Miniato al Monte basilica, considered one of the finest Romanesque structures in Tuscany, illuminated in blue as part of UNICEF's #GoBlue campaign to celebrate World Children's Day 2019.

According to a new UNICEF report, Every Right For Every Child, launched today, historic and undeniable gains have been made for children in the past three decades. The global mortality rate for children under 5 has decreased by around 60 per cent. The numbers of children of primary-school age who do not go to school decreased from 18 per cent to eight per cent.  Routine immunization coverage reached 86 per cent of children in 2018.

But there is still much work to be done to ensure that every child has all of their rights met. Despite the fall in mortality rates, around 15,000 children under of 5 died every day in 2018; more than 1 in 4 children live in countries affected by conflicts or natural disasters; and almost 20 million children are at risk of contracting vaccine-preventable diseases. Moreover, rising inequality, climate change, mental illness, school drop-outs, and online protection represent new challenges for the protection of future generations and of their rights.

Children’s rights are universal and timeless, but childhood has changed a lot over the last 30 years, and today children are increasingly the agents of their own future and claiming their rights. We must act on the promise made 30 years ago to ensure no child will be left behind.

The World Children's Day "#GoBlue" blue illumination and multi-media display projected onto the walls of the historic Loggiata Degli Innocenti designed by renown Renaissance architecht Filippo Brunelleschi in 1419.

A brief ceremony to turn the Loggiato degli Innocenti blue was held in front of the Istituto degli Innocenti in Piazza Santissima Annunziata in Florence. The ceremony was attended by: Maria Grazia Giuffrida, President of the Istituto degli Innocenti; Priscilla Idele, Director a.i, UNICEF Innocenti; Sara Funaro, Councilor for Education, Rights and Equal Opportunities of the Municipality of Florence; Stefania Saccardi, Councilor for Welfare of the Tuscany Region; Eugenio Giani, President of the Regional Council of Tuscany; and Giovanni Palumbo, Director General of the Istituto degli Innocenti.