By Emma Berglund
This week in Stockholm, the commemoration of the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment will celebrate 50 years of global environmental action. “Stockholm+50: a healthy planet for the prosperity of all – our responsibility, our opportunity” will bring together nations and stakeholders to collaborate, share expertise and work towards accelerate the implementation of the “UN Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals, including the 2030 Agenda, Paris Agreement on climate change, the post-2020 global Biodiversity Framework, and encourage the adoption of green post-COVID-19 recovery plans” (Stockholm+50).
However, while recognizing the many efforts that have been made for environmental protection over the last decades, this is not the time to celebrate. We are standing at a turning point in human history, facing a triple planetary crisis of pollution, climate change, and biodiversity loss and the window of opportunity to limit global warming and strengthen resilience and adaptive capacities of our communities is growing smaller and smaller.
It is imperative that Stockholm +50 does not become “just another meeting”, but actually a turning point in which direct and decisive action may be taken for a sustainable transformation and climate justice.
Over the last two days prior to the Stockholm +50 meeting, almost a hundred young people from all over the world have met for the Youth Environmental Assembly. To collectively finalize the Youth Policy Paper, support the draft of speaking points for youth delegates who will speak during the plenary sessions, as well as hosting capacity building and networking for young climate activists. The Policy Paper will be launched on Friday, but the third draft version can be found here.
As youth activists, we stand on the shoulders of thousands of climate champions, who have fought for climate justice over the past 50 years, here in Stockholm and all over the world. Instead of commemorating 50 years of fruitless high-level UN meetings, I want to instead commemorate those who are not here today, those who stand at the forefront of environmental degradation and face the immediate effects of climate change. Those who are facing threats, violence and imprisonment as environmental defenders and activists. We demand climate justice for all.
Emma Berglund is the Co-Chair of ACT Alliance Youth Community of Practice and Agera volunteer within Act Church of Sweden.
“Ageravolontärerna” (Act volunteers) is a network of internationally engaged youth within Act Church of Sweden and Church of Sweden Youth. From the left Lovisa, Elvira, Alicia, Zandra and Emma.