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What is Stockholm +50?

Context:

Stockholm+50 is being held in Stockholm, Sweden.

  • It will commemorate the 50 years since the 1972 United Nations (UN) Conference on the Human Environment (also known as the Stockholm Conference).

Relevance:

GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Conservation of environment, International Agreements & Groupings regarding conservation of Environment)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Stockholm +50?
  2. Stockholm Conference, 1972
  3. Issues at the 1972 Stockholm Conference
  4. About United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
  5. Functions of UNEP

What is Stockholm +50?

  • Stockholm +50 is an international environmental meeting hosted by the United Nations General Assembly is being held in Stockholm, Sweden.
  • The theme of Stockholm+50 is “a healthy planet for the prosperity of all – our responsibility, our opportunity.
  • The United Nations Meeting on the Environment was held in Stockholm in 1972, and it was effectively the first conference to address environmental issues at the appropriate level.
  • The United Nations is returning to Stockholm fifty years later to honour that significant milestone.

Stockholm Conference, 1972

  • The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment was held in Stockholm, Sweden in 1972 and is referred to as the Stockholm Conference.
  • The United Nations Environment Programme, or UNEP, was created as a result of this conference.
  • The Stockholm Conference motivated countries around the world to monitor environmental conditions as well as to create environmental ministries and agencies.
  • The meeting agreed upon a Declaration containing 26 principles concerning the environment and development; an Action Plan with 109 recommendations, and a Resolution.

The 26 Principles of the Stockholm Declaration:

  1. Human rights must be asserted, apartheid and colonialism condemned
  2. Natural resources must be safeguarded
  3. The Earth’s capacity to produce renewable resources must be maintained
  4. Wildlife must be safeguarded
  5. Non-renewable resources must be shared and not exhausted
  6. Pollution must not exceed the environment’s capacity to clean itself
  7. Damaging oceanic pollution must be prevented
  8. Development is needed to improve the environment
  9. Developing countries therefore need assistance
  10. Developing countries need reasonable prices for exports to carry out environmental management
  11. Environment policy must not hamper development
  12. Developing countries need money to develop environmental safeguards
  13. Integrated development planning is needed
  14. Rational planning should resolve conflicts between environment and development
  15. Human settlements must be planned to eliminate environmental problems
  16. Governments should plan their own appropriate population policies
  17. National institutions must plan development of states’ natural resources
  18. Science and technology must be used to improve the environment
  19. Environmental education is essential
  20. Environmental research must be promoted, particularly in developing countries
  21. States may exploit their resources as they wish but must not endanger others
  22. Compensation is due to states thus endangered
  23. Each nation must establish its own standards
  24. There must be cooperation on international issues
  25. International organizations should help to improve the environment
  26. Weapons of mass destruction must be eliminated

Despite these institutional accomplishments, including the establishment of UNEP, the failure to implement most of its action programme has prompted the UN to have follow-up conferences such as:

  1. The Rio Earth Summit 1992,
  2. The 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg and
  3. The 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20)

Issues at the 1972 Stockholm Conference

  • The Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact nations boycotted the conference due to the lack of inclusion of East Germany, which was not allowed to participate as it was not a full member of the UN.
  • The Chinese delegation proved hostile to the United States at the conference, issuing a 17-point memorandum condemning United States policies in Indochina.
  • Multiple countries including Pakistan, Peru, and Chile issued statements that were anti-colonial in nature, further worrying the United States delegation.

About United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

  • The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is a leading global environmental authority established in 1972 and Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya.
  • It sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the sustainable development within the United Nations system, and serves as an authoritative advocate for global environment protection.
Functions of UNEP
  • It promotes environmental science and related information.
  • It finances and implements developmental projects related to the environment.
  • It engages with national governments, NGOs, etc. in relation to environmental policy and implementation.
  • The UNEP also formulates treaties and guidelines in the domain of international trade in harmful chemicals, international waterways pollution and transboundary pollution of air.
  • It also awards and honours individuals as well as institutions that do stellar work in this field.
  • The UNEP engages in developing global conventions on the environment and related issues. It hosts the secretariats of various conventions such as the Minamata Convention, CITES, Montreal Protocol etc.
The UNEP Publishes:
  • Emission Gap Report,
  • Global Environment Outlook,
  • Frontiers,
  • Invest into Healthy Planet.

-Source: Down to Earth


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