This week the Global Child Forum’s annual partner day was hosted by the Swedish Royal Family in the Bernadotte Library at the Royal Palace in Stockholm. King Carl XVI Gustaf, Queen Silvia, Crown Princess Victoria and Princess Sofia were in attendance.
As honorary chairman of the organisation, which was established by the Royal Family in 2009, King Carl XVI Gustaf opened the meeting with a warm welcome, taking a moment to reflect on the significance of their surroundings:
“It is an honour to welcome you here, in the Bernadotte Library; a room that I find very well-suited for this event. Completed in 1796, this room was originally built to house the Swedish National Library. Today, it contains the royal book collection: about 100 000 books that have belonged to my ancestors throughout the ages.
“Unlike in most libraries, the books in here are not sorted by subject, nor in alphabetical order. Instead, they are arranged by owner, starting with the first Bernadotte on the Swedish throne, Karl XIV Johan.
“A library such as this is more than a room full of books. It is a site of knowledge. It offers us the opportunity to learn about our past, in order to better understand our present. Basing our decisions on solid facts has always been important. But today, in a time of information overload, I believe it is more critical than ever. It is really quite simple: The better we know, the better we can do. Therefore, I am especially proud of Global Child Forum’s efforts to collect and share knowledge and best practices concerning children’s rights.”
The Global Child Forum gathers together leaders from government, society, business and academia and the annual gathering is an important opportunity for the participants in different sectors to learn from one another.
As ambassador to the UN Global Sustainability Goal, Crown Princess Victoria spoke next, highlighting the fact that all 17 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – more commonly referred to as ‘Global Goals’ – committed to by world leaders concern children’s rights.
“The most important thing to understand about the Global Goals is that they are not really a list of targets, But rather a network or system. The only way to successfully achieve one goal is by working on the others as well. They can not be ticked off one by one. Instead, they are all interlinked.
“[The Global Goals] are all – directly or indirectly – children’s rights goals. And none of them can be achieved without the active participation of the private sector’s.
“Companies operate globally and locally. They are employers, investors and suppliers. They have a significant presence in their local communities and in people’s everyday lives. And as we all know, that is where real change takes place.”
The day’s conversations continued from there and include discussions about tying children’s rights and the Global Goals more directly into the core values of the companies and viewing presentations on upcoming forums and projects.
Queen Silvia concluded the meeting with the story of how the Global Child Forum began and praised the impact that former Global Child Forum chairman Ulf Karlberg had by recognising “the strength and power that lies in the hand of enterprises to have global impact on the state of children’s rights.”