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YOUR FORUM FOR PLAY, SPORTS UND LEISURE AREAS

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Sixth edition of the Child in the City conference a great success

The Child in the City Foundation looks back at a successful sixth edition of the Child in the City conference that took place from 26-28 September 2012.

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This year’s conference focussed on four specific themes: Health, Right to play, Children’s rights and Intergenerational interaction. In interactive parallel workshops and sessions these themes were being discussed in more detail. This has resulted in a tangible list of recommendations on child friendliness which will be used by the European Network Child Friendly Cities (EN CFC) in its mission to encourage local, national and international cities to become more child friendly.

About 60 prominent experts from all over the world shared policies and case studies with participants from over 30 countries. With speakers from all continents, the programme held a good diversity of nationalities and interests, and most of all, with the strong motivation to enhance the interest of children in cities. On Wednesday 26 September the conference was opened by, among others, Mrs. Zrinka Vrabec Mojzeš, Adviser to the President for Social Affairs, Mrs. Milanka Opačić, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Social Welfare Policy and Youth and the host, Mr. Milan Bandić, Mayor of Zagreb.

For the first time in the history of the conference, children were given the opportunity to actively participate in the child-friendly-cities movement. They were asked to send in art works on the theme of children living in the city (of Zagreb). Parallel to the conference, workshops on the conference themes Play, Children’s Rights, Health and Intergenerational development were also being organized for the children. They were asked to formulate a number of conclusions for the four central themes and present them to the audience in the closing session.

The conference was dedicated to an in-depth discussion on how child-friendly initiatives can be implemented. Zagreb has been an inspiring example. It was the first city in Croatia to implement a strategy for children based on modern scientific achievements and national and international laws and documents. This resulted in many innovative child friendly initiatives. To shed light on the appropriate way forward, conclusions and proposals were formulated for each of the central themes. They were being presented to the audience in the closing session. Although progress has been made, there is still room for improvement.

Main conclusion drawn from the sessions with both adults and children is that experts from government, business and science need to work together with the children in order to establish child friendly cities.

This 2012 edition has brought together latest research results with practical experiences. Among others regional, national and international government representatives, researchers, urban designers and developers and UN agencies exchanged know-how, experiences and best practices, stimulating cross-border cooperation and effective progress. The success of this edition is also due to the support of the city of Zagreb, The Union of Societies “Our Children” and UNICEF. This event has been held before in Bruges (2002), London (2004), Stuttgart (2006), Rotterdam (2008), Florence (2010). The next edition has been scheduled for 2014.

 

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