Fri. Jul 1st, 2022

Stockholm, 2 June 2022

Federal Minister Steffi Lemke attends UN Conference on the Human Environment Stockholm +50. One priority of the conference: intergenerational equity

Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke expects the UN Stockholm +50 Conference to give a major boost to global environment policy. The international conference is taking place on 2 and 3 June 2022 in Stockholm under the heading “A healthy planet for the prosperity of all – our responsibility, our opportunity”. Stockholm+50 will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, which is considered the birth of international environmental policy. The 1972 Conference lay the groundwork for the establishment of the United Nations Environment Programme. The goal of Stockholm +50 is to draw attention to areas of international environmental policy such as circular economy, chemicals policy and green and digital technologies, which are just as pressing as well-established UN processes like climate and biodiversity. One guiding principle of the conference is intergenerational equity. Lemke is attending the Stockholm+50 Conference on 2 and 3 June.

Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke: “Time is running out. If we are to give young people a world that is still worth living in, we have to swiftly steer the course towards climate and biodiversity friendly economic practices. In addition to the global energy transition and nature-based climate solutions, we need to advance circular economy more rigorously than ever. Stringent recycling and better product durability curb resource consumption and help to drastically cut greenhouse gas emissions. They also help conserve biodiversity and nature. I firmly believe that we need fresh momentum for global environmental policy. The Stockholm+50 Conference will direct more international attention towards these important policy areas.”

As co-chair of the Leadership Dialogue “Achieving a sustainable and inclusive recovery from the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19)”, Federal Environment Minister Steffi Lemke will be involved in shaping a key segment of the conference. The economic and social impacts of the pandemic make implementing the SDGs of the 2030 Agenda all the more urgent. The SDGs are considered internationally and in Germany as a compass for guiding the way out of the crisis. In order to respect the planet’s ecological boundaries, carbon emissions and the material footprint along entire value chains have to be significantly reduced.

The results of a study supported by the BMUV carried out by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) show that implementation of the SDGs is an essential prerequisite for achieving climate and biodiversity targets. Conversely, the implementation of the climate and biodiversity targets is a prerequisite for the transition to sustainable development. According to the study, for example, carbon pricing would lower emissions and thus help mitigate climate change. At the same time, the revenues could be used for poverty reduction or investments in education, healthcare or sustainable infrastructure. The study also concluded that more sustainable agriculture and eating less meat would not only protect ecosystems, but also human health. More detailed information can be found in the study published yesterday by the PIK: (Soergel et al. 2022, Link: https://doi.org/10.48485/pik.2022.003).

Building on the findings of recognised studies like the Dasgupta Review[1] and the UNEP “Making Peace with Nature” report[2], the focus of the conference is the relationship of our economic practices to nature. A large share of our prosperity is generated from the unsustainable use of the environment e.g. fishing and land use. To ensure continued prosperity, economic parameters such as GDP need to take the depreciation of nature’s services into greater account.

The conference is also addressing the transition to circular economy. Research shows that roughly half of all global greenhouse gas emissions and 90 percent of biodiversity loss and water scarcity are caused by the extraction and processing of resources. There is potential for significant progress if circularity is established for more resources. Intergenerational equity is another major topic of the Stockholm+50 Conference. Today’s governments are responsible for ensuring that future generations are also given the opportunity to enjoy a good quality of life.

The recommendations drawn up during the international preparatory meetings for the three Stockholm+50 Leadership Dialogues and the discussions in Stockholm will be recorded in an outcome document (Chair’s Summary) to be prepared by the Conference Chair. The complete Chair’s Summary will not be available until some time after the conference.

Further information about the international meeting can be found on the official website: https://www.stockholm50.global/.