Belgium: Nine Flemish cities given ‘child-friendly’ status

Nine cities and municipalities in Belgium’s Flanders region can now officially call themselves ‘child-friendly’.

Benjamin Dalle, the Flemish Minister of Youth, visited towns in the successful provinces of Limburg and Antwerp, which are in the Dutch-speaking northern part of the country.

“We reward cities and municipalities that really take into account the impact of their decisions on the broad world of children, young people, their families and associations,” he said (reports Belgium newspaper HLN). 

The nine recipients are Geel, Ghent, Laarne, Mechelen, Oudsbergen, Pelt, Roeselare, Sint-Niklaas and Turnhout. They follow Ghent, Mechelen, Sint-Niklaas and Turnhout which were all honoured in 2014, and before that the likes of Bruges, Poperinge, Kortrijk and Leuven.

‘Pay attention to the rights of children’

The child-friendly city or municipality label is part of UNICEF’s Child Friendly Cities programme, which was launched in 1996 now extends to hundreds of cities worldwide. Local authorities can submit a candidacy and must then demonstrate that they have a long-term ambition to work on the child-friendliness of their policy.

“In this corona period, it is extra important to pay attention to the rights of children and young people,” added Minister Dalle. “Child-friendly cities and municipalities place this at the heart of their policy. I am therefore particularly impressed by all the projects and commitments of the cities and municipalities.”
Delivering child-friendly policies has also seen cities like Antwerp and Ghent previously be the hosts for events held by Child in the City. 

Author: Simon Weedy

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