Presidents' Final Remarks to Plenary: Key recommendations for accelerating action towards a healthy planet for the prosperity of all

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In our capacity as Presidents, the following key recommendations emerged from Member States and Stakeholders, through the Plenary and Leadership Dialogues at the Stockholm+50 International Meeting.

The recommendations reflect the resolve of the participants to urgently accelerate the implementation of commitments for a healthy planet for the prosperity of all, in the context of the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development - including a sustainable recovery from the coronavirus (COVID19) pandemic – and taking into account the outcomes from the fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly and from the special session of the United Nations Environment Assembly to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), held 3 - 4 March 2022 in Nairobi, Kenya.

Since the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in 1972, the global community has adopted a wealth of Multilateral Environmental Agreements as well as other relevant commitments, including the SDGs and the 2030 Agenda. Fulfilment of the objectives and commitments of all these agreements would take us a long way towards securing a healthy planet for all.

Stockholm+50 has emphasized the global interconnectedness of the environment and the need to collectively address the triple crisis of our common environment – climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution – for present and future generations. Stockholm+50 has also underlined the urgent need for bold and deliberate actions as well as clear political will to accelerate action on these commitments, strengthen the multilateral system, increase ambition and solidarity, and set us on a credible path towards a healthy planet for all – leaving no one behind.

The discussions during Stockholm+50, reaffirmed the importance of local realities and national implementation, and the need for a combination of incentives and policies, finance and capacity support to achieve sustainable development. We have heard the following recommendations for actions to accelerate implementation.

1. Place human well-being at the centre of a healthy planet and prosperity for all, through recognizing that a healthy planet is a prerequisite for peaceful, cohesive and prosperous societies; restoring our relationship with nature by integrating ethical values; and adopting a fundamental change in attitudes, habits, and behaviours, to support our common prosperity.

2. Recognize and implement the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, through fulfilling the vision articulated in principle 1 of the 1972 Stockholm Declaration.

3. Adopt system wide change in the way our current economic system works to contribute to a healthy planet, through defining and adopting new measures of progress and human wellbeing, supported by economic and fiscal policies that account for the value of the environment; investing in infrastructure, developing effective policy and encouraging a global dialogue to promote sustainable consumption and production; and promoting phase out of fossil fuels while providing targeted support to the poorest and most vulnerable in line with national circumstances and recognizing the need for financial and technical support towards a just transition.

4. Strengthen national implementation of existing commitments for a healthy planet, through enhancing environmental national legislation, budget, planning processes and institutional frameworks; promoting evidence-based policymaking, including by enhanced collaboration between academic disciplines and thematic scientific panels, drawing on insights and expertise from indigenous and traditional knowledge; and scaling-up capacity support and development, access to and financing for environmentally sound technologies.

5. Align public and private financial flows with environmental, climate and sustainable development commitments, through developing and implementing well-designed policies to repurpose environmentally harmful subsidies; redirecting, mobilizing and scaling up the availability of public and private financial flows to support economic diversification; and adopting recovery and stimulus measures, blended sources of capital, and de-risking instruments that augment financial flows.

6. Accelerate system-wide transformations of high impact sectors, such as food, energy, water, buildings and construction, manufacturing, and mobility, through adopting and implementing policies to promote circularity, resource efficiency, regenerative production approaches and nature-based solutions in value chains, and adopting frameworks that enhance and reinforce transparency and accountability by business; promoting just transitions through support for impacted youth, labour, and local communities by strengthening capacities and skills for the creation of green jobs and for micro, small and medium enterprises; and transforming food systems by promoting regenerative farming and fisheries approaches that provide healthy diets and minimize food waste, including investments in the ocean economy.

7. Rebuild relationships of trust for strengthened cooperation and solidarity, through recognizing the importance of developed country leadership in promoting sustainability transitions; supporting capacity building and technology transfer for national efforts by developing countries to implement internationally agreed environmental agreements, taking into account national circumstances, including honouring the commitment to mobilize $100 billion every year for climate finance for developing countries; and enabling all relevant stakeholders including youth, women, rural communities, indigenous peoples, interfaith groups and local communities to participate meaningfully in policy formulation and implementation at both national and international level.

8. Reinforce and reinvigorate the multilateral system, through ensuring an effective rules-based multilateral system that supports countries in delivering on their national and global commitments, to ensure a fair and effective multilateralism; strengthening environmental rule of law, including by promoting convergence and synergies within the UN system and between Multilateral Environmental Agreements; strengthening the United Nations Environment Programme, in line with the UNEP@50 Political Declaration.

9. Recognize intergenerational responsibility as a cornerstone of sound policy-making, through engaging with the Stockholm+50 Global Youth Task Force Policy Paper; highlighting the important need of building the capacity of young people to engage with financial institutions; recognizing the critical role of young people in environmental action, and highlight that progress has been made on fostering meaningful youth engagement, and calling upon the multilateral environmental funds to include youth-inclusive parameters in funding schemes, and further take steps to ensure ease of access of funds for environmental action for youthled organizations.

10. Take forward the Stockholm+50 outcomes, through reinforcing and reenergizing the ongoing international processes, including a global framework for biodiversity, an implementing agreement for the protection of marine biodiversity beyond national jurisdiction, and the development of a new plastics convention; and engaging with the relevant conferences, such as the 2022 UN Ocean Conference, High Level Political Forum, the 27th Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, and the Summit of the Future.

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