In addition to celebrating the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment, the Stockholm+50 meeting marks the founding of the UN Environment Programme. The 1972 Conference gave UNEP a mandate to coordinate responses to environmental issues within the United Nations system.
In recent years, virtually every UN body has expanded its portfolio of environment-related activities within its particular field of competence. As a result, the need for intra-UN (interagency) coordination on environment and sustainable development is more important today than ever.
To strengthen UNEP’s capacity for promoting coordination, the UN General Assembly established the Environment Management Group in 2001. Chaired by the UNEP Executive Director, the UN Environment Management Group (EMG) provides a neutral platform where its 51 UN-system members can align their environmental activities and build synergies. This is achieved through issue-specific dialogues, consultations and issue management groups.
In late 2021, the EMG organized a two-part UN-wide dialogue on how Stockholm+50 can empower the UN system to collectively move forward. The Dialogue highlighted the personal reflections of a diverse array of people who have worked with the UN system in many different capacities on lessons learned since 1972. It also explored their recommendations on the future implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development.
Building on the outcome of the dialogues, the EMG will prepare a report conveying a collective UN stakeholder perspective, including key messages for the Stockholm+50 international meeting.
The EMG has contributed to many UN processes and documents that, in turn, will help to shape the Stockhom+50 agenda. Some recent results include:
- Responding to an invitation from the UN Environment Assembly, the EMG published An Inventory of UN Activities and Initiatives related to Marine Litter and Microplastics: A UN system-wide contribution to support Member States.
- Concerned about how the COVID-19 pandemic could affect the Sustainable Development Goals, the EMG published Inclusive Green Recovery: An Essential Post-COVID-19 Paradigm Shift to Build Back Better.
- The Strategy for Sustainability Management in the UN System aims to mainstream fundamental environmental and social sustainability principles into every aspect of the UN system.
- Supporting The Global Biodiversity Agenda highlights the relevance of biodiversity to the work of UN entities and its multiple benefits across the SDGs.
Since the 1972 Stockholm Declaration, there has been increased attention and multilateral efforts to address intersecting environment and development issues. Despite this, the world still faces numerous complex crises such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution. The Stockholm+50 international meeting offers an opportunity to reflect on the Stockholm Declaration and recommit to a UN system-wide approach to addressing the triple planetary crisis. This report offers an in-depth analysis of the global achievements since Stockholm, challenges, and recommendations for inclusive action to ensure a healthy planet for future generations.
The Summary for Policymakers offers a condensed analysis of the achievements and challenges related to the Stockholm Declaration, and provides an overview of recommendations for leveraging a system-wide approach to tackle the triple planetary crisis.
This report synthesizes interviews with heads of UN agencies, funds, and multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) regarding the impacts, challenges, and future of the 1972 Stockholm Declaration. The Stockholm Conference ushered in an era of multilateral cooperation and treaty-making on global environmental issues. It catalyzed environmental action at the local, national, and global levels. Nevertheless, numerous challenges such as a lack of finance, human resources, awareness, and capacity that countries require fully implement MEAs. This report includes recommendations for tackling the triple planetary crisis, including the need for greater collaboration and coordination across the UN system.