HM The Queen's speech at Global Child Forum Action Lab 4
(The spoken version shall take precedence)
Ladies and gentlemen,
Dear friends of Global Child Forum,
It is my pleasure to close Global Child Forum’s Action Lab series.
As His Majesty said when he opened the first ActionLab a short eight weeks ago: had we not been in the midst of a global pandemic, we would have been welcoming you to the Global Child Forum at the Royal Palace.
But, while our circumstances have changed, our mission has not. And these Action Labs have been a testament to that fact.
Seeing the overwhelming turn-out for these four Action Labs has been truly heartening. I know that you, like us, remain steadfast in your desire to improve the lives of children. And we all share the belief that business is, and can be, an agent of change.
The past four Action Labs have tackled diverse subjects – from the risks of climate change for children’s health, to harnessing the power of the young change-maker generation. And today’s Action Lab topic – protecting children online – is especially close to my heart.
Throughout the series we have heard diverse voices – from Dr David Boyd, the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, to 16-year old Lauren Wright, a climate activist from Canada. We have also had the pleasure of hearing from academics, researchers, legal experts and, of course, the business sector. What this diverse showcase of speakers illustrates, is that it takes all parts of society to respect and support children’s rights.
Looking back at this series of Action Labs, I realize that all of the challenges that we have been discussing, are challenges that didn’t exist when I was a child. Surely there were issues impacting the lives of children, many of which continue to exist today – but the issues we have been discussing during this series – that of climate change, youth empowerment, data mining – they were not yet imagined when I was young.
So what does this mean for our future? And that of our youngest generation?
In my opinion, it means that as we, as a society, must continue to innovate, change, and “think bold”; always with the best interests of children at the forefront of our thinking.
As a global community, we must ensure that children grow up in a healthy environment;
that they have the opportunity to go to school and learn;
that they gain the skills and tools they need to participate in their local economy;
and that their rights are always protected.
To achieve a sustainable tomorrow, we must serve the needs of children and young people today, and invest in their futures.
And now, my challenge to you is this:
Ask yourself: How does my business, my product or my service impact the lives of children?
And: What can I do to advance the lives of children, to ensure their well-being and to create a just society where they can grow and thrive?
These are questions with a multitude of answers. And Global Child Forum is here to support you. The only wrong answer is not to ask the question at all.
Dear friends of Global Child Forum: Thank you for all that you do — and all that you will do — as we support the lives, and futures, of children and young people around the world.