German Environment Minister Steffi Lemke sees the UN Stockholm+50 Conference as a positive signal for global environmental protection.
At the conclusion of the UN Stockholm+50 Conference, Environment Minister Steffi Lemke urged the countries of the world to increase their efforts in the fight for more environmental protection, nature conservation and climate action. The two day international conference wraps up today in Stockholm and was held under the header "A healthy planet for the prosperity of all – our responsibility, our opportunity". The event coincided with the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, held in 1972, which was the first event establishing global environmental protection as part of the United Nations’ mission. At Stockholm+50, measures were discussed for making progress on socio environmental transformation, circular economy and intergenerational equity.
German Environment Minister Steffi Lemke, who was co-chair of a key conference segment, stressed: "Stockholm+50 is sending a strong message. We need an integrated approach to jointly tackle the triple crisis of climate change, pollution and biodiversity loss. We have neither the time nor the resources to address these crises individually and one at a time. These issues are too pressing for such an approach. Luckily, the whole world has recognised this. We also need to step up our efforts to preserve a liveable planet for ourselves and for the younger generation. This was the prevailing spirit of Stockholm+50. The idea that we must make considerable progress on circular economy, for example, has now been broadly established at international level. Better recycling and more durable products help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, prevent waste and protect nature and biodiversity."
The meeting, hosted by Sweden and Kenya in cooperation with the UN, had many participants, including some prominent individuals. The speakers included King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, the Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, UN Secretary-General António Guterres and John Kerry, the US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate.
The issue of intergenerational equity came up repeatedly in the discussions. Environmental protection and climate action are among the most important societal issues, especially for young people – many prominent studies have shown this. This places an obligation on policy-makers. The German Environment Ministry’s team at the Stockholm+50 Conference included two youth delegates, who are in continuous dialogue with the ministry. Germany’s youth delegates and those from other countries voiced the demands of young people at the conference.
The transition to a sustainable circular economy played a key role at the Stockholm+50 Conference. Fundamental changes to how we manage and consume resources are the only way to reach climate targets and put a stop to biodiversity loss and pollution. If everyone in the world consumed as much as people in Germany, we would require three planet Earths. Before the meeting in Stockholm, the G7, a group of countries whose consumption is especially high, met and adopted a key goal. In their Berlin Roadmap, the leading industrialised countries agreed a three-year plan with ambitious measures for greater resource efficiency.
At the Stockholm+50 Conference, calls were made to continue the dialogue on circular economy, sustainable consumption and production at international level. A proposed outcome of the dialogue could be a roadmap for circular economy addressed to all stakeholders, from governments to private businesses. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development called for a global circular economy protocol containing clear targets and a transparency mechanism specifically for businesses.
The recommendations of the Stockholm+50 Conference, which will be presented in the Chair’s Summary in the coming weeks, will serve as preparation for the UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP27) and the UN Biodiversity Conference (CBD COP 15) this year. At the latter, a new global biodiversity framework will be adopted. Minister Lemke underscored the urgency of this framework in light of rapidly advancing biodiversity loss. She commented that the international community cannot afford any additional delay. The G7 countries also acknowledged the urgency at the meeting of environment, climate and energy ministers in recent weeks, which took place in Berlin at Minister Lemke’s invitation.
The German Environment Ministry is taking related action and will invest four billion euros in its Action Plan on Nature-based Solutions for Biodiversity and Climate until 2026. The plan is intended to restore forests, peatlands and floodplains. The Environment Ministry will utilise a species recovery programme to take precautionary measures to protect species affected by the generation of renewable energy.