The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment was held in Stockholm, Sweden, from June 5–16 in 1972.
When the United Nations General Assembly decided to convene the 1972 Stockholm Conference, taking up the offer of the Government of Sweden to host it,UN Secretary-General U Thant invited Maurice Strong to lead it as Secretary-General of the Conference, as the Canadian diplomat (under Pierre Trudeau) had initiated and already worked for over two years on the project.
The United Nations Environment Programme, or UNEP, was created as a result of this conference.
Sweden first suggested to the United Nations Economic and Social Council ECOSOC in 1968 the idea of having a UN conference to focus on human interactions with the environment. ECOSOC passed resolution 1346 supporting the idea. General Assembly Resolution 2398 in 1969 decided to convene a conference in 1972 and mandated a set of reports from the UN secretary-general suggesting that the conference focus on "stimulating and providing guidelines for action by national government and international organizations" facing environmental issues.Preparations for the conference were extensive, lasting 4 years, including 114 governments, and costing over $30,000,000.
The Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact nations boycotted the conference due to the lack of inclusion of East Germany, which was not allowed to participate. Neither East or West Germany were members of the UN at that time, as they had not yet accepted each other as states (which they agreed upon later by signing Basic Treaty in December 1972.
The conference was not welcomed by countries like Britain, the US, Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and France, which formed the so-called Brussels Group and attempted to stifle the impact of the conference.
At the conference itself, divisions between developed and developing countries began to emerge. The Chinese delegation proved hostile to the United States at the conference, issuing a 17-point memorandum condemning United States policies in Indochina, as well as around the world. This stance emboldened other developing countries, which made up 70 of the 122 countries attending. Multiple countries including Pakistan, Peru, and Chile issued statements that were anti-colonial in nature, further worrying the United States delegation. So harsh was the criticism that Rogers Morton, at that time secretary of the interior, remarked "I wish the Russians were here", to divert the attention of the Chinese criticisms.China being a new member of the United Nations didnt take part in the preparational talks. To include their views they reopened at the conference the declaration, which was negotiated at the preparational talks, introducing text to counter language of the declaration regarding population as a threat to the environment and cause of its degradation.
In 1972, environmental governance was not seen as an international priority, particularly for the Global South. Developing nations supported its creation of the UNEP, not because they supported environmental governance, but because of its headquarters' location in Nairobi, Kenya, as the UNEP would be the first UN agency to be based in a developing country.
The meeting agreed upon a Declaration containing 26 principles concerning the environment and development; an Action Plan with 109 recommendations, and a Resolution.
Principles of the Stockholm Declaration:
One of the seminal issues that emerged from the conference is the recognition for poverty alleviation for protecting the environment. The Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in her seminal speech in the conference brought forward the connection between ecological management and poverty alleviation.
The Stockholm Conference motivated countries around the world to monitor environmental conditions as well as to create environmental ministries and agencies.Despite these institutional accomplishments, including the establishment of UNEP, the failure to implement most of its action programme has prompted the UN to have follow-up conferences. The succeeding United Nations Conference on Environment and Development convened in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 (the Rio Earth Summit), the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg and the 2012 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) all take their starting point in the declaration of the Stockholm Conference.
Some arguethat this conference, and more importantly the scientific conferences preceding it, had a real impact on the environmental policies of the European Community (that later became the European Union). For example, in 1973, the EU created the Environmental and Consumer Protection Directorate, and composed the first Environmental Action Program. Such increased interest and research collaboration arguably paved the way for further understanding of global warming, which has led to such agreements as the Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement, and has given a foundation of modern environmentalism.
Environmental law is a collective term encompassing aspects of the law that provide protection to the environment. A related but distinct set of regulatory regimes, now strongly influenced by environmental legal principles, focus on the management of specific natural resources, such as forests, minerals, or fisheries. Other areas, such as environmental impact assessment, may not fit neatly into either category, but are nonetheless important components of environmental law. Previous research found that when environmental law reflects moral values for betterment, legal adoption is more likely to be successful, which usually happens in well-developed regions. In less-developed states, changes in moral values are necessary for successful legal implementation when environmental law differs from moral values.
The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is responsible for coordinating responses to environmental issues within the United Nations system. It was established by Maurice Strong, its first director, after the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Stockholm in June 1972. Its mandate is to provide leadership, deliver science and develop solutions on a wide range of issues, including climate change, the management of marine and terrestrial ecosystems, and green economic development. The organization also develops international environmental agreements; publishes and promotes environmental science and helps national governments achieve environmental targets.
The World Summit on Sustainable Development 2002, took place in South Africa, from 26 August to 4 September 2002. It was convened to discuss [sustainable development] organizations, 10 years after the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.
The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, often shortened to Rio Declaration, was a short document produced at the 1992 United Nations "Conference on Environment and Development" (UNCED), informally known as the Earth Summit. The Rio Declaration consisted of 27 principles intended to guide countries in future sustainable development. It was signed by over 175 countries.
Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants is an international environmental treaty, signed in 2001 and effective from May 2004, that aims to eliminate or restrict the production and use of persistent organic pollutants (POPs).
Environmental education (EE) refers to organized efforts to teach how natural environments function, and particularly, how human beings can manage behavior and ecosystems to live sustainably. It is a multi-disciplinary field integrating disciplines such as biology, chemistry, physics, ecology, earth science, atmospheric science, mathematics, and geography. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) states that EE is vital in imparting an inherent respect for nature among society and in enhancing public environmental awareness. UNESCO emphasises the role of EE in safeguarding future global developments of societal quality of life (QOL), through the protection of the environment, eradication of poverty, minimization of inequalities and insurance of sustainable development. The term often implies education within the school system, from primary to post-secondary. However, it sometimes includes all efforts to educate the public and other audiences, including print materials, websites, media campaigns, etc.. There are also ways that environmental education is taught outside the traditional classroom. Aquariums, zoos, parks, and nature centers all have ways of teaching the public about the environment.
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The United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) is a high-level intergovernmental policy forum. The forum includes all United Nations member states and permanent observers, the UNFF Secretariat, the Collaborative Partnership on Forests, Regional Organizations and Processes and Major Groups.
Proposals for the creation of a United Nations Environmental Organization (UNEO) have come as some question the efficacy of the current United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) at dealing with the scope of global environmental issues. Created to act as an anchor institution in the system of Global Environmental Governance (GEG), it has failed to meet those demands. The UNEP has been hindered by its title as a Programme as opposed to a specialized agency like the WTO or WHO, in addition to a lack of voluntary funding, and a location removed from the centers of political power, in Nairobi, Kenya. These factors have led to widespread calls for UNEP reform, and following the publication of Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC in February 2007, a "Paris Call for Action" read out by French President Chirac and supported by 46 countries, called for the UNEP to be replaced by a new and more powerful United Nations Environment Organization, to be modelled on the World Health Organization. The 52 countries included the European Union nations, but notably did not include the United States and BRIC, the top five emitters of greenhouse gases.
Felix Dodds is an author, futurist and activist. Born as Michael Nicholas Dodds he took the name Felix Dodds when he was 18. He stood in Mid Derbyshire for the Liberal Democrats in the 2019 General Election. He has been instrumental in developing new modes of stakeholder engagement with the United Nations, particularly within the field of sustainable development. His latest book is Stakeholder Democracy: Represented Democracy in a Time of Fear. In 2019 he was the UK candidate to be the Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme. Dodds was the Executive Director of Stakeholder Forum for a Sustainable Future from 1992–2012. He is probably best known as the author of How to Lobby at Intergovernmental Meetings: Mine is a Café Latte, written with co-author Michael Strauss.
A few nations have codified ecocide as a crime. Activities that might constitute ecocide in these nations include substantially damaging or destroying ecosystems or by harming the health and well-being of a species, including humans.
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Environmental adult education is recognized as a "hybrid outgrowth of the environmental movement and adult education, combining an ecological orientation with a learning paradigm to provide a vigorous educational approach to environmental concerns."
Environmental governance is a concept in political ecology and environmental policy that advocates sustainability as the supreme consideration for managing all human activities—political, social and economic. Governance includes government, business and civil society, and emphasizes whole system management. To capture this diverse range of elements, environmental governance often employs alternative systems of governance, for example watershed-based management.
The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD), also known as Rio 2012, Rio+20, or Earth Summit 2012 was the third international conference on sustainable development aimed at reconciling the economic and environmental goals of the global community. Hosted by Brazil in Rio de Janeiro from 13 to 22 June 2012, Rio+20 was a 20-year follow-up to the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in the same city, and the 10th anniversary of the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg.
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