(Det talade ordet gäller)
Ladies and gentlemen,
Every child has different needs.
But all children have equal rights.
The right to have their best interests be a primary consideration in all actions concerning them.
The right to be protected from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation.
And the right to have their survival and development ensured to the maximum extent.
These rights are stated in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. They constitute the standard to which we must hold ourselves – as individuals and as a society.
High quality paediatric care plays a critical role in fulfilling these rights. Therefore, it is a great honour to be here today.
The theme of this conference is “Paediatric care in a changing world”. Indeed, the world is changing. And so are the lives of children and young people.
Very much is changing for the better. Scientific progress is opening up promising new opportunities to heal and help seriously ill children.
And since 1990, when the Convention on the Rights of the Child entered into force, the percentage of children who survive their fifth birthday has increased globally. I believe that anyone who has ever had the joy of having a five year-old in their life understands the value of that development.
But there are also some severe threats to children’s health.
Worldwide, 10 to 20 percent of children and adolescents experience mental health disorders. Overweight and obesity is increasing. Child abuse and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders are, tragically, issues of ongoing concern.
Meanwhile, 28 million children are refugees, fleeing war and violence. Many of them are alone, suffering both mentally and physically. I know that many of you meet these children in your daily work and do all that is in your power to give them the help they need.
A little later today I will be visiting the SOS Children’s Villages Youth Center in Hammarkullen here in Gothenburg. The Center focuses on supporting unaccompanied refugee minors and I look very much forward to the visit.
In a changing world, there are plenty of challenges, as well as opportunities. But whether we are addressing challenges or exploring opportunities, we must do so with the very best knowledge at hand.
That is why this conference is so important. It is an opportunity to gather expertise from different parts of the world. To exchange ideas. And to learn from each other’s experience and knowledge. All in the best interests of the child.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Swedish Paediatric Society for their work in advocating the rights of every child.
I wish you a successful and rewarding conference!