On 15 November, Princess Marie attended the UNESCO 40th General Conference at UNESCO’s Headquarters in Paris, France. Princess Marie has been Patron of the Danish National Commission for UNESCO since 2009. The General Conference takes place from 12 November to 27 November and it aims to determine the policies and the main lines of work of the Organization as well as set the programmes and the budget of UNESCO.
Princess Marie attended part of the morning plenary meeting where she made a 10-minute speech in French and in English focusing on the causes she has been involved with such as youth education, climate change and the fight against food waste. Princess Marie talked about the current marches for climate action led by the youth all over the world: “Many young people are walking on the streets all over the world today and protesting in favour of climate action. They are afraid of our future and I can understand them. The youth wants to be part of the solution, and they will deliver if we can provide them access to quality education. They will need education to develop new skills – green skills.”
Princess Marie also explained the importance of good learning environments: “Good, inclusive learning environments free of bullying and discrimination must be a fundamental principle. Education that values diversity is important for all countries because it enables them to build inclusive societies in which differences are appreciated and respected. We must work together to ensure that all groups will enjoy the benefits of education by 2030.” In that perspective, Princess Marie said that comprehensive sexuality education is an essential part of a good education as it “addresses some persistent challenges to education that young people face today, like early and unintended pregnancy, HIV, child marriage, which influence our chances for expanding learning opportunities. “
Princess Marie , who recently took part in a cookbook aiming to help families reduce food waste in their homes, also explained how vocational education could be helpful in the fight against food waste as it gives young people the complex competencies needed to solve this challenge such as digital, cultural and innovative skills as well as science-based knowledge on how to produce, transport and store food in a sustainable way.
During her visit, Princess Marie also met with Director-General Audrey Azoulay and added her own contribution to the UNESCO #IChoosePeace mural. Princess Marie has attended several events as Patron of the Danish National Commission for UNESCO this year such as the launch of their new strategy for 2019-2022 last January and the L’ Oreal-UNESCO Women in Science Prizes last May. Last October, she also visited the UNESCO Headquarters in Paris and met with Audrey Azoulay although no additional details were shared about this meeting at the time.