IUCN Director General's Statement on Stockholm+50 and World Environment Day
Exactly 50 years ago, countries gathered in Stockholm for the first time around a common goal: to protect the global environment. As the world marks half a century of multilateral environmental action, IUCN calls for urgent, bold efforts towards a truly sustainable global economy.
Photo: Tommie Hansen
As IUCN Director General Dr Bruno Oberle noted during the Stockholm+50 Leadership Dialogue: “Governments globally spend around 1.5 trillion a year on subsidies for fossil fuels and agriculture that are harmful to nature. We could instead use these funds to develop new and better technologies, invest in building a new, sustainable agriculture, invest in Nature-based Solutions to many of our problems. We have the means to create a sustainable economy. We need the political will to make the change.”
IUCN welcomes the 10 key recommendations for accelerating action towards a healthy planet for the prosperity of all, which emerged from the conference. In particular the recommendation to align public and private financial flows with environmental, climate and sustainable development commitments will accelerate progress.
This fully aligns with the IUCN Position on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework that calls to identify and eliminate subsidies and incentives harmful for biodiversity, reducing them by at least US$ 500 billion per year.
To overcome the triple planetary crisis of nature loss, climate change, and pollution, our actions must be based on collaboration, adaptation and innovation. Crucial to this endeavour are Nature-based Solutions (NbS), as defined by IUCN Members in 2016 and recently corroborated by the United Nations Environment Assembly 5.2 in March 2022. As reflected in the Stockholm+50 recommendations, accelerating system-wide transformations of high impact sectors, such as food, energy, and water, through adopting policies promoting circularity, resource efficiency, regenerative approaches and nature-based solutions in value chains, will be key towards securing a healthy planet for all.
Great strides were made over the last 50 years, instigating the recovery of our planet’s ozone layer and the phasing out of leaded fuel amongst many others. The close links between the environment, human wellbeing and prosperity have now become clearer than ever. By re-convening in Stockholm, we commit to multilateral action towards planetary health and peace.
IUCN congratulates the Kingdom of Sweden and the Republic of Kenya for convening the Stockholm+50 meeting, as well as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) - created as a result of the 1972 conference - on its 50th anniversary. As we look towards World Environment Day, we are inspired by its theme of ‘Only One Earth’, the same slogan as that of the 1972 Stockholm Conference. Now, 50 years on, it reminds us that this planet is our only home.
IUCN has from the onset been a close ally, contributor and partner of UNEP. No less than three high-level officials have both served as UNEP and IUCN Director-Generals, marking the extraordinary close collaboration between both organisations that continues to this day.
IUCN looks forward to working with UNEP and the international community to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. As Stockholm+50 highlights, multilateral action towards a common objective can deliver powerful results for the planet and for human wellbeing. A truly sustainable economy is within our reach.