Published 2017-10-31

This post is also available in Swedish

Royal talks on environment and development

In 1992, King Carl XVI Gustaf invited scientists and decision makers from various parts of the world to a discussion on pressing environmental issues. Since then, the Royal Colloquium has been a regular event. This year, Mistra’s CEO Åke Iverfeldt joined in discussing the environment as a public issue.

Collecting a chosen circle of experts from near and far to discuss important environmental issues is an idea King Carl XVI Gustaf had back in 1992. The event, held every other year since then, is known as the ‘Royal Colloquium’.

This year, the Colloquium’s 25th (silver) anniversary was celebrated at Confidencen, Ulriksdal Palace Theatre. As host of the meeting, the King took the opportunity to welcome the attendees with words of encouragement and exhortation.

‘A great deal has happened within society in 25 years — and this has also had a significant influence on our views on the environment. The geopolitical map has been redrawn. The European Union has been a key factor. There have been dramatic developments in technology. And not forgetting the fact that there are now two billion more people on our planet.

‘Certain problems that were discussed a couple of decades ago are no longer as topical. I could mention the acidification of our seas, the thinning of the ozone layer or the threat from environmental toxins such as DDT. At the same time, other challenges have become increasingly evident. Without doubt, the most important example is climate change. Here, research and decision-making require knowledge and cooperation — not least at an international level.’

During the day, environmental concerns were discussed in a historical perspective in parallel with the climate issue as a future challenge.

Mistra’s CEO Åke Iverfeldt participated in a conversation with digital transformation strategist Darja Isaksson and Swedish Television’s foreign correspondent Erika Bjerström on the theme of the environment as a social issue and the nature of our present-day agenda.

Jointly, they highlighted the consequences of climate change, current progress in tackling it and, not least, the need for all stakeholders to work together, as well as to exploit the great potential of digitisation in disseminating knowledge.

The day was rounded off by Johan Kuylenstierna and Marie Jurisoo of the Stockholm Environment Institute. Their programme item was our legacy and the message for the next generation. According to them, we need to raise topics such as the creation of sustainable cities, but they also emphasised the value of empathy and solidarity.

To commemorate the anniversary a book, En värld i förändring (‘A Changing World was also released. In it, the King describes his 25 years’ experience of holding royal environmental colloquia.

Text: Per Westergård