Three children die every minute as a result of avoidable environmental degradation, a sobering fact shared by Crown Princess Victoria during the third instalment of the Global Child Forum’s Action Lab series on Tuesday.
The virtual meeting, also attended by Queen Silvia, focused on the environment and the devastating impact it can have on children’s health and future wellbeing.
“Around the world, children’s rights are suffering a severe setback due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Crown Princess Victoria said in an introductory video for the event.
“At the same time, we are in a state of environmental emergency that is threatening children’s prospects for a healthy and prosperous future. Rising sea levels. Severe weather events. Drought, forest fires and flooding. Widespread pollution of air, water and soil. Exposure to toxic substances. Loss of biodiversity. All of these things put children at risk – for birth defects, failing health and child mortality. For conflict, poverty and child labour.”
In addition to the more than 1.7 million children under the age of five who die every year because of environmental degradation, Crown Princess Victoria pointed out how “millions more suffer consequences of climate change such as disease, disability, and other forms of harm.”
David Boyd, the current UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, also spoke during the Action Lab. Crown Princess Victoria shared how, “in 2018, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment recommended that businesses conduct environmental and human rights impact assessments, viewed through a children’s rights lens.”
Because of this, climate change was identified as “a global concern disproportionately affecting children, echoing a UN Human Rights Council resolution that recognized children as among the most vulnerable to climate change.”
The Global Child Forum was created by the Swedish Royal Family in 2009 and brings together leaders in business, government, academia, and civil society from around the world to bring change surrounding children’s rights. The Forum especially focuses on the power of businesses to advance children’s rights and the best practices they can carry out to make changes for children in their communities.