Decisive and bold action is needed urgently. Our relationship with nature needs to shift from appropriation and extraction towards protection and care. Human -nature connectedness should be strengthened in social norms and value systems, and in physical terms in how we live our everyday lives. All these are highlighted in the report Stockholm+50: Unlocking a Better Future which was published ahead of Stockholm – 50 meet.
The report stated that humans are causing unprecedented change to the climate and ecosystems, and those who contributed the least to the planetary crisis are suffering its worst impacts. “The planetary crisis and the extreme inequality require transformative action and addressing our economic systems as the core driver of many of these problems. The growing inequalities extend to future generations and the quality of their lives with accelerating environmental change and risk of tipping points being breached,” the report said.
It said that unsustainable production and consumption patterns put a healthy planet and sustainable development at risk. Moreover, the use of resources and their benefits is unevenly distributed across countries and regions. The poorest half of the global population owns barely 2% of the total global wealth, while the richest 10% owns 76% of all wealth.
Compared to 1972, over development and affluence, rather than underdevelopment and scarcity, are the drivers of unsustainable resource use. No country at present is delivering what its citizens need without transgressing the biophysical planetary boundaries, the report stated.
The report also stated that High-income countries must drastically reduce their footprints, especially in light of their cumulative footprints over time,
In the Foreword, UN Environment Programme Executive Director and Secretary-General for the Stockholm+50 international meeting Inger Andersen said that the environmental movement has travelled far since the UN Conference on the Human Environment, held in Stockholm in 1972. However, she said that the world still faced urgent challenges, “Climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste – the triple planetary crisis – are threatening the future of peace, prosperity and equity envisioned in the 2030 Agenda,” she said.
“As we mark a half-century of action since the 1972 Stockholm Conference, we must prepare to act now for the future, and to lay the groundwork for the kinds of systemic changes we need for a healthy planet and a better world for all,” she said.
In the Preface to the report, Stockholm Environment Institute Executive Director Mans Nilsson and Council on Energy, Environment and Water CEO Arunabha Ghosh said, “Time is running out for safeguarding our living planet, and to meet socio-economic development needs around the world.”
Half way between the adoption of the Sustainable Development Gools and their target year 2030, the report noted that Decade of Action needs much more momentum. “This report is not just a call for changer but is a manifesto to enable change. Now and over the longer term, actions can be taken for redefining the relationship between humans and nature; ensuring lasting prosperity for all and investing in a better future,” they said.
They further pointed out; “Stockholm-50 is an opportunity to move beyond gridlocked international negotiations. We know what to do, why and how. But for a renewed multilateralism, we must imagine a different world- and contemplate the consequences of not acting on time and collectively.”
- Action gap is significant. Since 1972, only around one tenth of the hundreds of global environment and sustainable development targets agreed by countries have been achieved or seen significant progress, it is not enough. The knowledge and the means of solving our problems are known and available; implementation is missing.
- Better equipped for change than ever. By harnessing momentum for change – the growing public support, faster uptake of clean technology, inclusive and innovative finance, and the robust scientific evidence on positive co-benefits of acting now – 2022 can be a new watershed moment for pursuit of sustainable future on Earth.
- Bold and science-based decision-making is needed to accelerate the pace of change.
- keys to unlock a better future: The synthesis of scientific research and new ideas points to three broad shifts that require immediate actions now to redefine relationship with nature, ensure prosperity that lasts for all and invest in a sustainable future. If these actions are initiated now, they can seed transformative change.
- Relationship with nature needs redefining, from one of extraction to one of care. Human-nature connectedness should be strengthened in social norms and value systems, and in how we live our everyday lives, by integrating nature in our cities; protecting animal welfare and shifting to more plant based diets, increasing nature based education for children and youth; and recognizing and drawing on indigenous local knowledge.
- It is only possible to ensure prosperity that lasts for all by completely rethinking our way of living, and by creating the enabling infrastructures and inspiring new supportive social norms. Transformative change can be unlocked by making sustainable lifestyles the overwhelmingly preferred choice; scaling business models that focus on services delivered, not on products made; making supply chains better for both humans and the environment; aligning national statistics with sustainability goals; and shaping our innovation systen after sustainability criteria.
- Invest in a better future, with the strongest support of our governments. More private capital is available today than ever for sustainability investments, yet funding gaps persist in low- and lower-middle income countries. To invest in a better future, we must recognize and enhance governments foundational role in innovation Incentivize private finance to bring innovation to the market and raise it to the needed scale; and reduce the risks to sustainability while also raising the costs of unsustainability.
- The conditions for change must improve. The institutions and governance system that solved the challenges of the past may have contributed to: creating the challenges of the present. There are ample opportunities for leaders to tackle structural barriers that hold back effective action by improving policy coherence and ensuring strong and consistent incentives for action; renewing multilateralism by rebuilding solidarity for the common challenges we face; and by creating a culture of accountable promipromise.
CALLS TO ACTION
- Integrate nature in cities and urban areas.
- Protect animal welfare by mainstreaming it in sustainable development governance.
- Expand and invest in nature-based education.
- Recognize Indigenous local knowledge and the Rights of Nature
- Make a sustainable lifestyle the easy choice.
- Purchase function, not product
- Make supply chains better for both humans and the environment and ensure that integrated supply chains bridge the technology and economic gap between developed and developing economies.
- Align national statistics with sustainability goals.
- Change the selection environment for innovation
- Recognize and enhance public funding of innovation and co-development for technology
- Incentivize active engagement in private finance
- Reduce risks to sustainability, enhance risks of unsustainability
- With more actors and stakeholders participating in global governance today, many more routes are available to taking action. However, conflicts of interest and uneven power relationships must also be recognized
- Governments and international organizations must make their policy mixes coherent and consistent towards sustainability goals, in order to increase incentives for action, by adopting new practices and tools for more integrated and systemic policymaking.
- Need new imaginative mechanisms for nurturing constructive accountability, which incentivizes and leads to bold action and change, rather than threatens and leads to pre-emptive action and reduced ambition.