The Stockholm+50 environment conference came to a close on Friday with a call for real commitments to urgently address global environmental concerns, and for a just transition to sustainable economies, that work for all.
“We came to Stockholm 50 years after the UN Conference on the Human Environment knowing that something must change. Knowing that, if we do not change, the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste, will only accelerate,” said Inger Andersen, Secretary-General of Stockholm+50, and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).
The UNEP chief urged the participants to “take forward this energy, this commitment to action, to shape our world.”
General Assembly President Abdulla Shahid reminded that the policies we implement today “will shape the world we live in tomorrow”.
Governments and the private sector have an important role to play in rethinking strategies to target structural barriers that have hindered women’s participation in labour forces, he said.
“The workplace of the future must be rooted in equity and free of discrimination and harmful stereotypes about women’s skills, work ethic, leadership abilities or intellect.”
Success means instilling gender equity practices embodied in legal protections, robust enforcement mechanisms, and deep structural and cultural change, he added.
Mr. Shahid urged everyone to discuss constructively “how we can secure not only a more gender equal recovery – but a gender equal world.”
Goal: Healthy planet
The two-day international meeting concluded with a statement from co-hosts Sweden and Kenya, which recommended placing human well-being at the centre 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.
“We believe that we have – collectively – mobilized and used the potential of this meeting. We now have a blueprint of acceleration to take further,” said Sweden’s Minister for Climate and the Environment, Annika Strandhäll.
“Stockholm+50 has been a milestone on our path towards a healthy planet for all, leaving no one behind.”
Rebuild for future generations
Three Leadership Dialogues, hundreds of side events, associated events and webinars and a series of regional multi-stakeholder consultations in the run-up to the meeting, enabled thousands of people around the world to engage in discussions and put forward their views.
“The variety of voices and bold messages that have emerged from these two days demonstrate a genuine wish to live up to the potential of this meeting and build a future for our children and grandchildren on this, our only planet,” said Keriako Tobiko, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for the Environment.
“We didn’t just come here to commemorate, but to build forward and better, based on the steps taken since 1972.”