Thursday will see Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia in Kuala Lumpur to attend the first ever Global Child Forum on Southeast Asia. They will be joined by Datuk Hajjah Rohani Abdul Karim, Malaysia’s Minister of Women, Family and Community development and Mhd Amin Nordin Abdul Aziz, Mayor of Kuala Lumpur. Both are scheduled to speak
The Global Child Forum was launched in Stockholm in 2009. The Swedish royal Family are active members with both the King and Queen serving as patrons. King Carl XVI Gustaf is considered to be the Founder and Honorary Chairman of this Forum, which has close ties with other international organisations such as UNICEF, UN Global Compact, ASEAN CSR Network, Save the Children, Plan International and ECPAT International.
The Global Child Forum’s main goals are to address some of the most pressing issues faced by all children today and to promote the common message that the whole society, including those in the business and finance sector are responsible for safeguarding and protecting these rights. It is a supportive international, independent platform of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It is focused on action, dialogue and research. Through using best practice methods and examining case studies from around the globe, the hope of the Forum is to harness and inspire action and tangible results; by expanding on and achieving cooperation amongst these cross-sectors in implementing children’s rights.
The theme for this forum is ‘Mobility & Connectivity: Children’s Rights and Sustainable Business’. Their Majesties are scheduled to speak. His Majesty, Carl XVI Gustaf will officiate the International Forum. The goal of this Forum is to encourage the region’s business community to place greater emphasis on the rights of children and young people as a top priority for its sustainability. This high-level meeting will also include 250 participating leaders and decision-makers from government, the business sector, civil society and academia. It will allow for the opportunity to re-enforce and draw attention to the need for establishing partnerships across sectors in order to ensure children’s rights are made a priority in creating a corporate sustainable agenda.
There will be four interactive action labs to implement this drive for change; their focus will be on the employment of youth and utilising information communication technology to strengthen children’s rights. Protecting children’s rights in the travel and tourism sector, and using the children’s rights and business “atlas” as a tool for creating responsible business. Results from the Children’s Rights and the Corporate Sector in South-East Asia report will be revealed and expanded upon during the Forum. The Global Child Forum with the help from the Boston Consulting Group, (BCG), worked in collaboration to gather these results.
Ulf Karlberg, Chairman of Global Child Forum, said: “The ASEAN region enjoys increased mobility and connectivity, and with this comes new opportunities for the business sector to protect, support and advance children’s rights – that is in everybody’s interest.” He added that despite the growth in the region, it still faces challenges that particularly affect those who are vulnerable such as children: “While the region boasts increased mobility in terms of skilled labour and travel and tourism, issues around illegal migration and trafficking are also on the rise. We hope to encourage more ASEAN responsible businesses and financial institutions to adopt best practices, for example, by building partnerships between different sectors of society to ensure children’s rights are respected and supported by all stakeholders in society.”
Åse Bäckström, Managing Director of Global Child Forum discussed how the region is perfectly set up for making the rights of children a priority: “The ASEAN region has a great potential opportunity to advance children’s rights arising from the region’s increased mobility and connectivity. We hope these two features of development can be harnessed for the best interest of the child and believe that all stakeholders – and especially businesses – can be a driver for immediate and lasting change in the lives of children and young people.”
”The ASEAN CSR Network is proud to be co-organising the Forum,” said Mr Thomas Thomas, Chief Executive Officer of the network. ”We see the importance for business to take on children’s rights as part of their social responsibility. It is crucial for a prosperous region that we invest in our future – the children of ASEAN.”