(The spoken version shall take precedence)
President Temer and First Lady,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
As the Honorary Chairman of the Global Child Forum, it is my great pleasure to open the 9th Global Forum on South America.
We note with delight that you have put children’s rights high on the agenda.
When we launched the Global Child Forum in 2009, our idea was to develop a platform for discussion for leaders from business, civil society, government and academia. A meeting place, for them to come together and discuss how to support children’s rights.
At the time, the Children’s Rights and Business Principles had not yet been introduced; and we were still seven years away from the launch of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Our vision is a world where children’s rights are respected within all parts of society. When it comes to health, safety and wellbeing of children, there is no room for modest ambitions. We have an obligation to strive for the best.
Governments and NGOs are important actors for children’s rights. However: to achieve lasting progress, companies too must get involved. Business is an engine – not only for economic growth but also for social prosperity. That is why the Global Child Forum focuses on the corporate sector.
Through Childhood Brasil – founded by Her Majesty the Queen – we have a long-standing commitment to children’s rights in Brazil. With today’s Forum we will expand this commitment to include the whole region.
We focus today on South America; a region with more than 420 million inhabitants. Furthermore, almost 25 percent of them are children under the age of 15.
Over the last decades, economic growth has attracted many companies and investors to this region.
While this is a positive development, it also raises some questions:
When conducting business – how do we ensure that children’s rights are respected?
How can new technology help advance those rights?
And what can companies do to integrate children’s rights into their core operations?
These are some of the important questions that we will discuss today.
Providing all children with equal opportunities is at the core of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Agenda and its 17 global goals were adopted just a year and a half ago. Yet, leading companies and organisations are already using them as a guiding framework. I am delighted to see that some of those important actors are here today, to share their experience and to inspire others.
I urge all of you strongly to do the same. Share your knowledge. Learn from each other. And most importantly: take this opportunity to connect and to exchange ideas.
To conclude, I would like to warmly welcome all speakers, experts, delegates, supporters and friends. Your presence here is highly appreciated, as well as your willingness to find solutions to the difficulties facing children today.
A special thank you to our collaborators and regional partners, whose cooperation and friendship have made this Forum possible.
I look forward to participating in today’s discussions, and I am convinced that we will have both a productive and rewarding day together!