Delivering on the vision of the 1972 Stockholm Declaration and achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; A UN System Contribution to Stockholm+50; Summary for Policymakers.
Reflections on Achievements and Challenges in Delivering on Stockholm 1972 On 24 May 2021, the UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted Resolution 75/280 to convene an international meeting entitled “Stockholm+50: a healthy planet for the prosperity of all – our responsibility, our opportunity”, in Stockholm on 2 and 3 June 2022 to commemorate the 50 years since the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres issued an urgent call last year for global solidarity to address “the greatest cascade of crises in our lifetimes.” His 2021 report “Our Common Agenda” made clear that the economic security, social welfare, and political stability of countries, as well as the human rights of peoples, are intricately bound up with the health of the national and global ecosystems on land and sea, and that challenges in these should be addressed together. He called for enhanced multilateral cooperation driven by global solidarity and framed by a more inclusive and networked multilateralism to navigate this complex landscape and deliver effective solutions. The principles, commitments, and plans of action and implementation agreed upon by UN Member States in the multilateral policy areas of environment, economics, disaster risk reduction and sustainable development since the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm (Stockholm 1972) provide the global community with invaluable perspectives, frameworks, and guidance as it reflects at Stockholm+50 on the achievements and challenges in creating a better relationship between humanity and our natural world. By recognizing the importance of multilateralism in tackling the Earth’s triple planetary crisis – climate, nature, and pollution – Stockholm+50 could serve as the springboard to accelerate the implementation of the UN Decade of Action for delivering the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Stockholm 1972 was the first world conference to address the environment as a major issue. The conference marked the start of a dialogue among UN Member States on the link between economic growth, the pollution of the air, water, and oceans, and the well-being of people around the world. It agreed on an Action Plan and the creation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It spurred multilateral environmental diplomacy and triggered the active participation of civil society and the recognition of the role of science in policymaking. Stockholm 1972 was the first acknowledgment by the international community of “new principles of behaviour and responsibility which must govern their relationship in the environmental era,” providing a normative framework for both the UN and national governments to comprehensively consider environmental issues and the urgency of addressing them. The Stockholm Declaration put on a par the three basic goals of humanity: protection of the human environment, peace, and global economic and social development.