HM The King's speech at SEI's 25th Anniversary

(The spoken version shall take precedence)

Ladies and gentlemen,

Let me start by congratulating the Stockholm Environment Institute to its jubilee.

In 1987 the Swedish parliament decided to establish the Institute. At that time the leaders of the world discussed the need of a more sustainable development. The agreement was to focus on economic growth and prosperity for all people, but also ensuring the sustainability for future generations. A few years later, in 1992, these global aspirations were agreed on at the UN conference in Rio in Brazil. I remember that meeting well, and appreciate very much that I was able to attend.

The Rio conference argued for a more balanced approach of environmental, social and economic dimensions of development. And over the last decades there has been substantial progress in most parts of the world and an increased awareness of climate issues.

Today we are well aware of the many challenges confronting us. Through my travelling around the world, I often see the positive sides of development, but also the questions we need to address more specific. For instance the Baltic Sea, or more distant regions, such as the rain forests or the Polar Regions, need our attention and care for the continued well-being of our planet.

The future is still in our hands and we must take a strong leadership role. There are positive examples that show our capacity to find solutions and achieve good results if we collaborate. I remember when the Stockholm Environment Institute was established, one of the most urgent issues was the thinning of the ozone layer. It was manifested through the so called “ozone hole” over Antarctica.

A strong, international agreement, based on science and collaboration between key political and corporate actors, reversed the negative trend. And today the ozone layer is recovering.

We need to find similar smart ways to address climate change. Next year, countries will meet in Paris and hopefully sign a new climate agreement. It is important that political agreements are based on best available science.

I look forward to today’s program and discussions. My wish, for the day is to bring new ideas and insights on how we together can build a better world for the generations to come.

Thank you and once again, congratulation!