‘Come to Child in the City 2023’ – Ans Persoons, Brussels State Secretary for Urbanism & Youth

‘Developing a child friendly city at municipal level has to be ‘a shared ambition of all departments’.

This is undoubtedly a maxim that everyone working to improve the future prospects of children in cities is acutely aware of. And none more so at the highest level of government, so it’s fitting that these are the words of Ans Persoons, Brussels Secretary of State for Urbanism & Youth, who will opening our 11th Child in the City World Conference in November.

As we start to look ahead to our flagship bi-annual event, Minister Persoons has recorded a special video message, setting out the goals of the Brussels conference and what we all hope to achieve.

“On behalf of the Brussels government, I would like to invite you all for the next edition of Child in the City World Conference,” she says.

Describing it as ‘a real moment’ for Brussels, Minister Persoons says she and her colleagues in government are looking forward to demonstrating what the Belgian capital is doing to try to make the city more child friendly.

“As a government, developing a child friendly city is not something you can decide on ‘top down’ – it has to be a shared ambition of all departments,” says the Minister. “We are very lucky here in Brussels that we can count on a strong network of youth and child organisations that really always put the needs and the talents of children and youngsters first.

‘This is a real moment for Brussels’

“We strongly believe that a city that treats its children well and gives them all the space they need to safely play and grow is a better city for all,” she adds.

The general theme for this year’s conference is Building The Future because, as the Minister stresses, ‘children are the future’, but then poses the question: ‘how can me make sure they get the best future possible?’

The five overarching themes for this year are:

  • Building on Creativity
  • Building on intergenerational cohesion
  • Building on (international) solidarity
  • Building on participation and democracy
  • Building on young people-friendly urban space

Speaking about these issues, the Minister says: “How can we enforce intergenerational cohesion and international solidarity? We all know that children are not born with equal opportunities.

“We will also have a talk about democracy and participation, and how we can make sure that the voice of the child is heard in all policies.

“And the last topic – and also a bit my specialty – how can we develop more child and youth-friendly public space? We have some nice examples of new, rebuilt public space here in Brussels. I hope to see you all here in November,” she concludes.

Have you booked your place yet? Click here for the conference website, which as well as booking details also has the full programme, including details of keynote speakers, presentations, workshops and site visits.

Child in the City World Conference 2023 takes place at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts (pictured above), Brussels, from 20-22 November. It has been organised by the Child in the City Foundation, whose Scientifc Program Committee has put together the programme. The event is being hosted by the Brussels Capital Region and Flemish Community Commission.

Photo of Royal Museum of Fine Arts: Neoclassicism Enthusiast via Wikipedia:

Author: Simon Weedy

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