On Friday 11 April, the Global Child Forum was held at the Royal Palace of Stockholm. Find out more about the forum at www.globalchildforum.org.
The King spoke about the forum in his 2009 Christmas speech, and the fourth forum is about to begin. What are Your Majesties' views on the development of the forum so far?
The Queen: There have been exciting, positive developments, and progress has been faster than we dared to hope for. Last year we held an excellent forum here at the palace, with more than 350 participants from many different companies who came to discuss children's rights issues. It was very interesting. Many companies were aware of issues such as child labour, but the issue of children's rights involves so much more. Lively discussions ensued, and we realised that we had set something in motion…
The King: … and it turned out that you can't overemphasise the importance of spreading information about children's rights, both at home and abroad. Hundreds of leaders from around the world will be attending this year's forum, from governments and authorities, the main children's rights organisations, the UN, civil society and companies. That shows how important the forum has become. Everyone is curious, and kind enough to come to the forum. The Royal Palace of Stockholm has become a meeting place for these issues, and we're delighted about that.
The Global Child Forum is the Royal Family's first joint foundation. How does the family work together on these issues?
The King: The Queen is the family's expert on these issues. I like to lend my support and help with these important matters.
The Queen: We are all committed to children and young people in various different ways. The King with the Scouts, The Crown Princess Couple with their foundation, Princess Madeleine with Childhood USA, and Prince Carl Philip as patron of the Lilla Barnets Fond children's fund.
Your Majesties travel often. For example, The King travels with the Scouts and The Queen travels with Childhood and Mentor. What is the situation for children's rights internationally?
The Queen: The situation is different in different counties, but there are big differences when it comes to views on children's rights.
The King: We've made relatively good progress with these issues in Sweden, but in many other parts of the world things haven't progressed to the level of discussions that we've achieved here. And that's why we believe having a forum for these issues is so important. These things always take a long time to begin with, but we're starting to see results now. It's all about human rights, and we're starting to make progress on building a foundation as best we can. The fact remains that if a child isn't treated well by its parents and society as a whole, it's harder to become a good citizen of the world. If things go badly from the beginning, that can result in weaknesses among young people which can then spread to others. You can't build a society like that. You have to start with safe and secure children.