On Wednesday 6 September, The King and The Crown Princess took part in the Royal Colloquium's 25th anniversary celebrations, held at Confidencen in Ulriksdal. Since 1992, The King has invited researchers and decision-makers from around the world to meetings at which pressing environmental issues are discussed.
In August 1992, The King invited attendees to the first Royal Colloquium, which was held at Ulriksdal Palace. The participants were researchers and decision-makers from voluntary organisations, academia, politics, industry and commerce. Over the years, Swedish and international experts from various sectors of society have continued to meet to exchange ideas and to learn from each other's experience and knowledge.
The Royal Colloquium's 25th anniversary celebrations were held at Confidencen, Ulriksdal Palace Theatre. The King welcomed the attendees, saying:
"A great deal has happened within society in 25 years – and this has also had a significant influence on our views on the environment. The geopolitical map has been re-drawn. The European Union has been a key factor. There have been dramatic developments in technology. And not forgetting the fact that there are now two billion more people on our planet.
"Certain problems that were discussed a couple of decades ago are no longer as topical. I could mention the acidification of our seas, the thinning of the ozone layer or the threat from environmental toxins such as DDT. At the same time, other challenges have become increasingly evident. Without doubt, the most important example is climate change. Here, research and decision-making require knowledge and cooperation. Not least at an international level."
Intellectual historian, Professor of Environmental History and writer Sverker Sörlin then gave a speech on the subject of the environmental issue from a historical perspective – from Silent Spring to sustainability. Professor Sörlin spoke about how an awareness of the environmental issue emerged from the Second World War to the present day, from its discovery, via institutionalisation, to becoming part of society and politics today.
Professor Sörlin then held a discussion together with microbiologist and director Thomas Rosswall and diplomat and former chairman of the UN's climate negotiations Bo Kjellén. For many years, Mr Kjellén was Sweden's chief negotiator in the global climate negotiations. Their discussion highlighted the need to take a long-term approach, as this is a responsibility that stretches far into the future, and that more parties need to become involved and engaged, such as civil society and cities.
After a break, the afternoon continued with the subject of the environment as a social issue and the current agenda. Digital transformation strategist Darja Isaksson, Chief Executive of the Mistra Foundation for Strategic Environmental Research Åke Iverfeldt and foreign commentator Erika Bjerström then spoke about the disastrous consequences of climate change, which is a reality today. However, they also spoke about the advances being made, the need to work together and how we can make better use of the great potential offered by digitalisation when it comes to disseminating knowledge.
The day concluded with natural geographer and CEO of the Stockholm Environment Institute Johan Kuylenstierna and Stockholm Environment Institute researcher Marie Jurisoo speaking about our legacy and the message for the next generation. This included the future importance of subjects such as sustainable cities, the continued process of moving to these cities, and empathy and solidarity.
Actor Andreas T Olsson rounded off the proceedings with a reflection on our time. Musical entertainment was provided by the Junior Academy.
In connection with the anniversary, a book has also been released. In it, The King talks about twenty-five years of experience of organising royal colloquiums.
Solutions to protect tropical and subtropical coastal areas from further depletion of marine resources.
Carbon flows in tropical and subtropical coastal areas.
Political initiatives for sustainable development – from knowledge to action.
Agriculture and endurance.
Work, the environment and development: Keys to eradicating poverty.
Mountain areas as a global resource.
The Arctic under stress: A melting tundra.
Climate changes in the past: Human survival strategies.
Energy, water and food.
The urban world of the future.
A changing world: A new map.
Environmental issues in today's society and alternatives for action.