Stockholm+50 opens with calls to accelerate climate action

Stockholm, June 2 (IANS) Fifty years after Sweden hosted the first-ever United Nations Conference on Human Environment, and with the world facing a triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution, governments, civil society groups, young people and the private sector on Thursday gathered for an international meeting — Stockholm+50 — to spur urgent action for a healthy planet for the prosperity of all.

Thousands of participants are attending the two-day meeting — convened by the UN and co-hosted by Sweden and Kenya — with speakers ranging from King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, President Azali Assoumani of Comoros, President Mohamed al-Menfi of Libya, Prime Minister Abubakar Tafawa Balewa of Nigeria, UN Secretary-General Antanio Guterres to John Kerry, US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate.

“The crisis for our environment and climate affects people all around the world. The developed countries are the ones who pollute and have polluted the most. But the poorest are hit the hardest,” Andersson said in her opening remarks.

“We must ensure that no country is left behind. And we must ensure that no person is left behind. The climate transition can only be done if it’s made in a social and inclusive way. This is not just an option. This is our moral obligation,” she added.

Speakers stressed the need for decisive action to transform the global economy and humanity’s relationship with nature for the people and planet to thrive.

“We have an exceptional opportunity to turn climate and environmental commitments into action, if we work together as a community of nations. Heightened ambition in financing and implementation should be at the core of these actions,” said President Kenyatta of Kenya, which has hosted the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) since it was established following the 1972 Stockholm Conference.

Guterres warned that “global well-being is in jeopardy, in large part because we have not kept our promises on the environment”.

“We need to change course now and end our senseless and suicidal war against nature,” he said.

Stockholm+50 will feature four plenary sessions in which leaders will outline the bold and urgent action needed to safeguard planetary health and accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.