On Thursday 18 March, The Queen and Princess Sofia took part in a follow-up meeting with children's rights organisations.
International and Swedish organisations and authorities took part in the meeting, which was held at The Queen's initiative. The organisations and authorities are part of the network formed to mark the 20th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 2009.
The network last met at a virtual conference in April 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Queen opened the follow-up meeting by saying:
"Dear friends of children's rights. A warm welcome to today's virtual meeting.
"I am delighted to see many familiar faces, albeit on screen – but, of course, we are used to that by now.
"The pandemic has held the world in a tight grip for a year. When this group last met in April last year, many of you expressed your concerns about children's greater vulnerability in the wake of Covid-19.
"Today, I hope that you will share your experiences of what you have actually seen happening during the past year. How have children's situations been affected? Have our initial fears been confirmed? Have we seen other effects than what we could have predicted then? I also hope to hear about initiatives that have been carried out to lessen the negative effects of the pandemic.
"You, and the organisations you represent, are doing incredibly important work to ensure that children's rights are protected. Right now, as children's situations risk being overshadowed by other major issues, you are needed more than ever.
"Once again, I would like to wish you a warm welcome and hand over to Malin Dahlberg Markstedt from St Luke's Association to lead the meeting."
The meeting was led by Malin Dahlberg Markstedt from St Luke's Association.
During the meeting, the participants shared their experiences and insights regarding the consequences of the pandemic for children and young people.
Isolation, financial worries and more unsupervised time online were highlighted by the participants as risk factors in terms of violence, sexual assault and mental and physical ill-health. This is particularly true in those cases where schools and other social contexts are no longer available – something that in itself has led to a clearly increased need for support and assistance from voluntary organisations.
All the participants shared the view that the risks are greatest of all for those children who already live in socially or economically vulnerable situations.
The meeting concluded with The Queen thanking the participants for their valuable contributions and the work they do:
"Let me thank you all for your valuable contributions during today's meeting.
"You have shared important insights into the effects of the pandemic for children, in both the short and long terms. I hope that this overall picture has left us all a little better informed.
"Despite the significant needs and difficulties we face, you also convey energy, ideas and a desire to fight for children, both during and after the pandemic. That gives me hope.
"Thank you very much for your tireless work during this unique time. And thank you for taking part in this meeting today."
SOS Children's Villages Sweden was also invited, but was unable to attend.
The Royal Family are keen to show their support for the initiatives being carried out by society to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Royal Family are staying informed about how the pandemic is affecting Sweden via discussions, digital meetings and visits.
These visits are planned based on current recommendations, and every effort is being made not to take up time and resources unnecessarily.