Key Takeaways From Stockholm+50

The two-day “Stockholm+50: a healthy planet for the prosperity of all — our responsibility, our opportunity” was convened by the United Nations General Assembly to commemorate 50 years of UN Conference on the Human Environment (in 1972). The revolution that began 50 years ago made environment a pressing global issue for the first time.

Five decades later, after 113 countries adopted a series of principles on the environment, including the Stockholm Declaration and Action Plan for the Human Environment which led to the creation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Stockholm+50 called for urgent environmental and economic transformation, and a just transition to sustainable economies. A much needed plan in place!

Stockholm+50 has emphasized the global interconnectedness of the environment and the need to collectively address the triple crises of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution for present and future generations.

The conference also underlined the urgent need for bold and deliberate actions as well as clear political will to accelerate action on these commitments, to strengthen the multilateral system, increase ambition and solidarity, and set us on a credible path towards a healthy planet for all, leaving no one behind.

The conference concluded with statements from co-hosts Sweden and Kenya that contained several recommendations for an actionable agenda among others, placing human well-being at the center of a healthy planet and prosperity for all; recognizing and implementing the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment; adopting systemwide changes in the way our current economic system works, and accelerate transformations of high impact sectors.

Other recommendations call for strengthening the implementation of existing national commitments for a healthy planet, and for aligning public and private financial flows with environmental, climate and sustainable development commitments. These recommendations envision a new world order, to “rebuild relationships of trust for strengthened cooperation and solidarity” and “reinforce and reinvigorate the multilateral system.”

Stockholm+50 called for recognition of intergenerational responsibility as a cornerstone of sound policymaking. The statement recommended taking forward the conference outcomes “through reinforcing and reenergizing the ongoing international processes, including a global framework for biodiversity, an implementing agreement for the protection of marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction, and the development of a new plastics convention,” and engaging with relevant conferences such as the UN Ocean Conference, COP27 and the Summit of the Future.

We have witnessed the adoption of several multilateral environmental agreements and commitments since 1972 including the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda. The recommendations from Stockholm+50 reflect the resolve of the participants to accelerate the implementation of commitments for global prosperity. The fulfilment of all the objectives and commitments of these agreements would certainly take humanity towards a path of securing a healthy planet for all, but the question remains the same: When?

About the Author:

Rituraj Phukan is an environmental writer, adventurer & naturalist based out of Assam. He serves as the National Coordinator for Biodiversity, Climate Reality India and is a member of the IUCN.

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