Our Future - Citizens in search of sustainable models for intergenerational solidarity was a participatory initiative on the challenge of aging, involving a citizens' panel (2013-2014), as well as the production of key questions and scenarios by different group of experts as a first step (2012-2013).

Which societal challenge?

What kind of world would we like to grow old in?

How should it be different from today... knowing that we will have fewer resources at our disposal, that the earth will not necessarily be better off, and that we will be older in greater numbers?

It is the search for answers to this key question that has united the Foundation for Future Generations and its various partners over a process of almost two years: Our Future - Citizens in search of sustainable models for intergenerational solidarity.

Everyone agrees that the ageing of the population is a major challenge for the future. There is much less agreement on the solutions.

How should health care be organised in the future?
What about housing?
How can we ensure that the elderly have sufficient means to live in dignity in the future?
How can we rethink the end of professional careers, taking into account the impact on health?
What will be the place of senior citizens in an ageing society?


The partners were:

  • Foundation for Future Generations (coordinator)
  • INAMI - RIZIV (National Institute for Health and Disability Insurance, a federal public body of social security under the authority of the Belgian federal minister of Social Affairs and Public Health)
  • Partenamut (health mutual insurance)
  • CERA cooperative (financial cooperative with the mission of 'investing together in prosperity and well-being')
  • Jolimont Group (network of institutions active in hospitals, accommodation for the elderly, mental health, children care, in Walloon Brabant and Hainaut )
  • Chimay-Wartoise Foundation

With the support of:

Process, when and where?

Step 1: Key issues

In 2012, we first interviewed dozens of experts to gain insight into the most important issues for the future and suggestions for intergenerational solidarity. Then we summarised them in 10 core challenges.

Step 2: Three scenarios

We then asked three expert think tanks to write their future scenario in response to these 10 core challenges facing our ageing society.

Step 3: Citizens' panel

These different expert responses allowed us to feed and help structure the work of a very diverse panel of 24 citizens. They were randomly selected across all Belgian provinces. After three weekends of hearings and deliberations in 2013, this citizens' panel provided with a scenario with their own vision of the challenges and a number of concrete proposals. By definition, these are the responses of non-experts. They offered us a fresh and different view of the issues.

These independent and complementary contributions allow everyone, expert or not, to think about the challenges ahead, refine their own perception of the issues and the possible solutions.

What When Where Description
Weekend 1 13.09.2013 - 15.09.2013 Blankenberge Input 10 key challenges
Weekend 2 11.10.2013 - 13.10.2013 Kortenberg Input propositions from 3 think tanks
Weekend 3 29.11.2013 - 01.12.2013 Wégimont Citizens report (scenarios & stories)
Feedback day 14.12.2013 Foundation for Future Generations, Brussels Final touch to the citizens report and validation by the citizens
Dissemination 09.01.2014 - Citizens report is made public
Public conference 21.02.2014 House of elected representatives, Brussels Presentation of the citizens' panel results, testimonies on the process and methodology, analysis and first reactions by partners and stakeholders

Results & more info

More information on this initiative:

  • In the form of a magazine, see the publication with the final citizens report and information about the whole initiative and process, as well as some interesting interviews, analyses and first reactions:
  • 4 scenarios for the future
    The 3 expert think tanks and the citizens' panel developed their answers to 10 key challenges facing our ageing society. Journalist Carine Vassart rewrote their proposals into 4 stories for the future. Read the story of Roland in 2030 written on the basis of the proposals of:
    • The independant think tank Itinera (PDF icon Dutch | French)
    • The team of Prof. Pierre Pestieau, Prof. Economics at HEC-University of Liège (Center of Research in Public Economics and Population Economics (CREPP) (PDF icon Dutch | French)
    • The researchers group "Prosperity without growth" (PDF icon Dutch | French)

More information on deliberative democracy and citizens' panels:
Their objectives, methodology and links to other citizens' panels initiated or contributed to by the Foundation for Future Generations.