The 6th edition of the Child in the City Conference will be held on 26-28 September 2012 in the city of Zagreb. Zagreb has been the first city in Croatia to implement a strategy for children based on modern scientific achievements and national and international laws and documents.
Consequently, Zagreb is a logical host for the 6th edition of the Child in the City conference, whose objective it is to encourage cities to become more child friendly. The city of Zagreb follows five European cities that were former hosts of this bi-annual conference. In September of this year Zagreb and the initiators of this conference - the Child in the City Foundation and the European Network Child Friendly Cities – will discuss themes and policies and share best practices with conference delegates from all over Europe.
This year’s conference will focus on four specific themes. One is children’s play. “We wish to stress the influence of city planning and the need for children to have enough time and space to play”, says Jan van Gils, President of the European Network Child Friendly Cities. He explains: “Children’s most typical behaviour is playing. This behaviour is very important in child development; they need enough time and space to be who they are and to become who they will be.”
The Child in the City conference will also pay attention to the UN-Convention on the Rights of the Child. This convention has an impact on cities’ local policies in terms of child friendliness. Leading up to the 25th anniversary of the UN-convention in 2013 the Child in the City conference will contribute to developing a General Comment (an official interpretation) of article 31 (right to play) of the UN-Convention on children’s rights. This process has been started yet by the Committee of Children’s Rights and is planned to be finalized at the end of 2012.
The conference will further deal with children’s health within a child friendly city. The challenge of this theme is the integration of different aspects of health. Besides physical health there also needs to be attention for mental health (feel good, feel self-confident, enjoy life) and even more globally for social health (feel appreciated at home and in the social environment, having friends, living in a healthy environment etc.). The conference will discuss and integrate these health aspects.
The fourth and final theme this year is intergenerational development. Jan van Gils: “As children don’t want to be an isolated group of citizens, also other groups, such as elderly people, don’t want to be isolated. Therefore this theme is more than a decoration, it’s an essential quality of the society”. He continues: “This theme is being discussed throughoutEurope. No insulation or growing apart for generations, but integration. As this is possible within the family, it also needs to be realised at the level of the whole society”. Van Gils wraps up: “I hope that our conference in September again inspires more and more cities to create an increasingly child friendly environment”.
For more information please contact:
Child in the City Foundation
Ilona Leuvenkamp, project manager
T: +31 (0)30 6981800
www.childinthecity.com / www.childfriendlycities.eu
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