In May 2021, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution calling for a major international environmental meeting in Stockholm, Sweden, on June 2 and 3, 2022, the week of World Environment Day.
It will mark 50 years since the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, which for the first time made the environment a pressing global issue. Participants from 122 countries adopted a set of environmental principles, including the Stockholm Declaration and Action Plan for the Human Environment. As a result of the conference, the United Nations Environment Programme was established. The event’s lasting message, according to Mr Maurice Strong, Secretary-General of the 1972 event, was a “realization that man has come to one of those seminal points in his history where his own activities are the primary determinants of his own future.”
Now, 50 years after that meeting in Stockholm, the world is facing a triple planetary crisis of climate change, pollution and waste, loss of nature and biodiversity, and other planetary ills that are affecting current and future prosperity and wellbeing. As the world has seen all too clearly in COVID-19, an unhealthy planet endangers human health, prosperity, equality, and peace. It also jeopardizes the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The triple planetary crisis, according to UN Secretary-General António Guterres, is “our number one existential threat” that requires “an urgent, all-out effort to turn things around.”
The event allows leaders to draw on 50 years of multilateral environmental action to achieve the bold and urgent action required to secure a better future on a healthy planet.
Recognizing the importance of multilateralism in addressing the Earth’s triple planetary crisis – climate, nature, and pollution – the event serves as a springboard to accelerate the implementation of the UN Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals, including the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement on climate change, the post-2020 global Biodiversity Framework, and the adoption of green post-COVID-19 recovery plans.
The meeting has also reinforced the messages and outcomes of the event commemorating UNEP’s 50th anniversary, which will be held in Nairobi in March 2022.
The United Nations has convened Stockholm+50, which is being hosted by Sweden with backing from the Kenyan government.
Per Bolund, Sweden’s former Environment and Climate Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, stated, “Our goal is clear: we want Stockholm+50 to make a meaningful contribution to expediting the transition to a sustainable future.” This gathering is being held to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1972 conference. We are running out of time and must act quickly. These are global concerns that require a worldwide response to spur action on the ground.”
“We need to immediately work to transform our economies and communities,” stated Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP and Secretary-General of the Stockholm+50 international summit, “but our branches will grow only as far as our roots are deep.” By commemorating Stockholm at 50, we also recall how the globe came together in 2013 to heal the ozone layer, phase out leaded fuel this year, and prevent endangered species from becoming extinct. By meeting in Stockholm, we also reaffirm our commitment to human and planetary health, responsibility, prosperity, equality, and peace, as demonstrated by COVID-19.”
A healthy planet for the prosperity of all – our responsibility, our opportunity
Principles of engagement
Rebuild relationships of trust
Accelerate system-wide actions for a sustainable and inclusive recovery
Connect and build bridges across agendas
Rethink conceptions and measures of progress and wellbeing
Support a universal recognition of the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment
Explore rights of nature
Mainstream alternative knowledge systems
Enhance youth, women, IPLC engagement in decision making around sustainability transitions.
Stockholm+50 will be collaborative and multi-stakeholder in nature, with all participants welcome to exchange experiences and projects to safeguard the planet and contribute to sustainable and equitable development, including a long-term recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
An introductory session, four plenary meetings, three leadership dialogues, and a closing portion will comprise the meeting.