Carl XVl Gustaf, the King of Sweden, delivered the opening remarks at the international meeting in Stockholm to commemorate fifty years since the landmark United Nations Conference on the Human Environment. The two-day meeting, “Stockholm+50: A healthy planet for the prosperity of all,” opened Thursday, 2 June, with a “Commemorative Moment” of dance and multimedia performance, and the election of the Co-Presidents, Magdalena Andersson, Prime Minister of Sweden, and Uhuru Kenyatta, President of Kenya. Delegates proceeded to adopt the agenda and organization of work and elect officers.
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The opening plenary heard contributions by the UN Secretary-General António Guterres, and Secretary-General of Stockholm+50 and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme Inger Andersen.
An afternoon plenary session for general debate followed in parallel with the first of three Leadership Dialogues, which was on the urgent need for actions to achieve a healthy planet and prosperity of all. With regular rounds of applause greeting contributions to the Dialogue panel, participants signaled an intent to rise to the prompts from the organizers by “speaking with courage” and departing from the conventional language of “calculation” and “positioning” to speak truth to power.
In a remarkable convergence of inter-generational messaging, a seasoned US diplomat and a youth delegate from Uganda displayed a meeting of minds on the state of climate politics.
Vanessa Nakate, founder of the youth-led Rise Up Movement, Uganda, called for honest acknowledgement that leaders, presented with best available science, have denied and delayed action and risk handing young people a broken world. John Kerry, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, US, agreed with Nakate, stating that some leaders in the twenty major economies have been indifferent to the math and physics of climate change. He also noted that the war in Ukraine was being used by people who prefer the energy status quo, when the message of the war is about energy independence and freedom from the threat of petro-dictators. He cautioned that the world risked drifting into a “suicide pact”.
All ENB photos are free to use with attribution. For Stockholm+50, please use: Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth.
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