Belgium’s Queen Mathilde attended the Antwerp Management School event on Thursday that brought business and economic students together from management schools from Flanders where she spoke about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (or SDGs).
The Queen is one of the SDG advocates for the United Nations.
Her Majesty spoke to students, teachers and representatives from the private sector to discuss the role of higher education institutions in training future generations, as well as the development of more sustainable business models and systems.
Queen Mathilde addressed those in attendance regarding the SDGs saying that Agenda 2030 is complex and needs the support of everyone. She stressed that governments cannot be the only ones working to implement the SDGs. They have to also have the support of academia, civil society, individuals and the private sector.
She focused on how the world is not on track to meet the goals by 2030 and things need to be accelerated to accomplish the goals set forth in Agenda 2030. She did, however, praise how SDGs have become important topics in countries, including Belgium, “Lately, I have been struck by the fact that the SDGs have now gained real traction as a roadmap towards a more sustainable world and less unequal societies. The proposals put forward by the European Commission on an EU Green Deal are a recent example of this mainstreaming of the SDGs.”
Queen Mathilde explained that she has spoken to those in the private sector as well as university students to discuss sustainability and how to project the SDGs forward.
“Our exchanges have also made clear, both CEOs and students have sometimes felt ill-equipped to respond to these new challenges. Making sustainability a key component of decision-making processes requires thinking differently,” she said.
She also encouraged those in attendance to share their thoughts on SDGs and their discussions ( on whether or not SDGs have been implemented properly and if they are a good framework for changing current business models) from the event more broadly.
The Queen stressed, “Today’s debate should not remain a lone event. I hope it will become the basis for further exchanges of ideas and, more importantly, for new actions to promote the SDGs within your academic institutions. And after that, dear students, within the companies and organisations you will soon join.”
You can read her full speech here.