31 March 2022
Stockholm+50 Aims to Close Implementation Gap of Sustainability Commitments
Stockholm, Sweden
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A one-day preparatory meeting signaled leaders' expectations for the Stockholm+50 meeting in June 2022, which will be co-hosted by Sweden and Kenya.

The three leadership dialogues at Stockholm+50 are expected to produce a platform for progress.

Sweden is calling on all Member States to include youth in their delegations to the international meeting.

Governments, stakeholders, and youth representatives participated in a preparatory meeting for the Stockholm+50 international meeting. Speakers stressed that protecting nature is one and the same with protecting humankind, and called for meaningful engagement with youth, for whom they said the stakes of environmental crises are highest. Stockholm+50 will convene from 2-3 June 2022, on the theme of on ‘a healthy planet for the prosperity of all – our responsibility, our opportunity.’

The preparatory meeting took place in the UN General Assembly (UNGA) hall on 28 March 2022, convened by the UNGA President. Statements indicated expectations for Stockholm+50 to mobilize concrete action around the topics of three dialogue sessions that will take place during the meeting in June.

Andersen suggested the need for a new compass for welfare, as the world rethinks measures of progress and wellbeing.

Sweden’s Minister for Climate and the Environment, Annika Strandhäll, opened the meeting noting that Stockholm+50 will be an opportunity to reflect on how to close the “implementation gap” of commitments that have already been made, including through financing. She called for showing that “investing in the planet means investing in people.” She also called for the meeting to focus on systemic actions that bridge agendas and silos, and to look beyond growth. She stressed the need to include youth, citing the commitment to future generations in the 1972 Stockholm Declaration – the outcome of the UN Conference on the Human Environment. Strandhäll called on all Member States to include youth in their delegations to the international meeting in June.

She added that Stockholm+50 should serve as an accelerator of commitments and actions ahead of three milestone events in 2022 – the second UN Ocean Conference, COP 15 of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the Sharm El-Sheik Climate Change Conference (COP 27) – and the Summit of the Future in 2023.

Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for the Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Keriako Tobiko, said the Stockholm+50 meeting must build on recent successes such as the agreement to negotiate a legally binding global agreement on plastics. He said youth have a greater stake in the health of our planet, and leaders must create opportunities for youth to provide leadership. He concluded by remarking, “we mess with nature, nature will mess us up.”

A statement on behalf of UNGA President Abdulla Shahid highlighted the “moment for nature” that Shahid will convene in the UNGA Hall later in 2022 as another opportunity to map out how more progress can be made.

In a recorded statement, UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said that in 1972 the world first recognized connections among poverty, the environment, and sustainable development, and united under the concept of “only one earth” and environmental multilateralism, saying those recognitions are even more apparent today. 

Mohammed also echoed the importance of young people for making progress: without them, the world “cannot make peace with nature or achieve the SDGs,” she said. She called for financing, partnerships, and coalitions to deliver the right to a healthy environment, the 2030 Agenda, and climate goals.

Inger Anderson, Executive Secretary of UNEP and Secretary General of the International Meeting Stockholm+50, described the vision and concept of the meeting. She said milestones in 1972, 1992, and 2012 brought the environment agenda closer to integration with development and the social agenda, but “we’re not quite there,” as this interconnection is not yet mainstreamed in policies and actions.  

Andersen also noted that we have a human right to a healthy and clean environment and said the meeting should produce a “real recognition and commitment to” this newly agreed right. She called for building bridges across global agendas and suggested the need for a “new compass for welfare” as the world rethinks measures of progress and wellbeing.

She said each leadership dialogue during Stockholm+50 should produce a platform for progress. These must provide for: addressing unsustainable consumption and production; aligning COVID-19 recovery financing with environmental goals, such as by transforming harmful subsidies into “pro-poor and environmentally healthy” subsidies; and acceptance of the One Health approach that treats human, animal, and planetary health as one and the same.

The preparatory meeting also discussed the three leadership dialogues that will take place in Stockholm, beginning with a presentation of the background papers on each one. The dialogues aim to mobilize accelerated, innovative action in three areas:

  • Leadership dialogue 1: Reflecting on the urgent need for actions to achieve a healthy planet and prosperity of all (co-chaired by Canada and Ecuador);
  • Leadership dialogue 2: Achieving a sustainable and inclusive recovery from the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) (cochaired by Germany and Indonesia); and
  • Leadership dialogue 3: Accelerating the implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development in the context of the Decade of Action and delivery for sustainable development (co-chaired by Egypt and Finland).

Closing the preparatory meeting, Shahid said Stockholm+50 will enable the world to strengthen environmental multilateralism and build towards a future that is both sustainable and inclusive, noting that this is also the vision of the future expressed in the UN Secretary-General’s report on ‘Our Common Agenda.’ [Preparatory meeting website and background papers] [Meeting webcast]

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