Summary report, 2–3 June 2022
Fifty years after the landmark 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment—the first ever UN conference on the environment—Stockholm was once again the gathering point to take stock of the state of the human environment and collectively brainstorm on how to move forward. Amidst a global pandemic and a triple planetary crisis of climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss, there was a renewed sense of urgency around “implementation, implementation, implementation” predicated on fairness and inclusion.
The two-day meeting, Stockholm+50: A Healthy Planet for the Prosperity of All – Our Responsibility, Our Opportunity, featured an interactive series of free-flowing dialogues focused on three key themes: achieving a healthy planet and prosperity for all; a sustainable and inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic; and implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development. These Leadership Dialogues, along with the statements in plenary, yielded interesting insights and conversations both on the past 50 years and action needed going forward. The main outcome from the meeting was a series of recommendations focused on the right to a healthy and sustainable environment, changing our economic system, accelerating implementation of existing commitments, rebuilding trust, and strengthening multilateralism.
The meeting also marked a moment of ascendancy for the leadership of young people, personified by the role of the Ugandan climate leader, Vanessa Nakate, who brought the ethical demands of future generations and lively debate to the table.
Many delegates left the meeting feeling that the organizers had skillfully struck a balance between keeping faith with the “children of the 1972 Stockholm Conference,” namely the institutions and treaties created since 1972, and shaping new conversations for an upcoming series of multilateral environmental agreement meetings and summitry in the near future.
Stockholm+50 took place from 2-3 June 2022 in Stockholm, Sweden. Over 4,000 people, including several Heads of State and Government and more than 60 ministers, participated in the conference, over 50 side events, and the Action Hub.
A Brief History of Stockholm+50
The 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment began a new era of multilateral cooperation and treaty-making in response to growing public alarm over environmental risks associated with industrial society and the post-World War II development model. The Stockholm Conference accelerated the greening of UN institutions, notably with the establishment of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Early attempts to engage developing countries, which were skeptical of a neo-colonial agenda, were addressed in the 1971 Founex Report on Development and Environment. This would be the first of many attempts to address deep-rooted tensions and a suspicion that the new environmental agenda would be used to re-impose constraints on developing countries’ right to determine how they use their natural resources and their priority of lifting their populations out of poverty.
The Stockholm Conference produced three major sets of decisions:
- the Stockholm Declaration.
- the Stockholm Action Plan comprising 109 recommendations for governments and international organizations on international measures against environmental degradation.
- a group of five resolutions calling for: a ban on nuclear weapon tests, an international databank on the state of the environment, and the need to address actions linked to development and environment, international organizational changes, and the creation of an environmental fund.
The Stockholm Declaration provided the first agreed global set of principles for future work in the field of the human environment. It was a considerable contribution to the development of international environmental law and its key concepts formed the basis of the 1992 Rio Declaration, which was adopted at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The UN General Assembly accepted the Stockholm Declaration and Action Plan in resolution 2995(XXVII). At the subsequent inaugural meeting of the UNEP Governing Council in 1973, governments established Earthwatch, a programme to coordinate, harmonize, and integrate observation, reporting, and assessment activities across the UN system. UNEP took the lead in developing numerous international environmental treaties and was instrumental in the establishment of major science-policy bodies: the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).
In 2021, the United Nations General Assembly, through resolution 75/280, decided to convene an international meeting in Stockholm to commemorate 50 years since the landmark 1972 Conference. A preparatory meeting was held on 28 March 2022 at UN Headquarters and inputs were also made by the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA), including at its first special session for the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of UNEP, in March 2022.
In preparation for Stockholm+50, a series of preparatory meetings were held, including national consultations that generated recommendations and links to national policy frameworks. Regional multi-stakeholder consultations were organized in April and May 2022. These facilitated engagement of stakeholders in Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and West Asia. Informal working groups were also organized around the themes of the leadership dialogues. In addition, a group of young people from different youth constituencies and youth-focused entities convened in the Stockholm+50 Youth Task Force.
Stockholm+50 opened on Thursday, 2 June. In his welcoming address, King Carl XVI Gustav of Sweden recalled attending the UN Conference on Human Environment in Stockholm, which in 1972 first built public awareness of environmental issues. Cautioning that we “do not have 50 more years to turn development around,” he said the next few years will be critical.
Following a musical and theatrical performance showing the need for action and collaboration to address the global environmental crisis, delegates elected President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and the Prime Minister of Sweden, Magdalena Andersson, as Presidents of Stockholm+50.
Prime Minister Andersson said we are at a crossroads. Listing the many threats to our environment, she said our first step should be to live up to existing commitments and urged political leadership and accelerated action.
President Kenyatta said Stockholm+50 provides an opportunity to “pause” to take stock of progress since 1972 and reflect on how to make progress in the future. Noting the challenges faced by developing countries, he urged partners to honor commitments to double climate finance.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged everyone to “end our suicidal war against nature” since we know what to do and we have the tools. He proposed investing in renewable energy and nature-based solutions, and moving beyond gross domestic product (GDP) as a measure of wellbeing.
Abdulla Shahid, President of the United Nations General Assembly, recalled that the outcomes of the 1972 Stockholm Conference have provided a template for every environmental treaty and continue to inspire new generations of activists and policymakers.
Collen Vixen Kelapile, President of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), highlighted the challenge of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Inger Andersen, Secretary-General of Stockholm+50 and Executive Director, UNEP, recalled the exhortations of Olof Palme, Indira Gandhi, and Jomo Kenyatta and stated that we have not been able to do everything they invited the world to do when they addressed the 1972 Conference. She called for a paradigm shift where youth, the most vulnerable, and Indigenous Peoples are regarded as more important than the wealthy.
Heads of State and Government, ministers and other senior officials delivered statements over the two-day meeting, both in person and through pre-recorded messages. Key topics that emerged included:
- progress since 1972;
- the challenge of the triple planetary crisis;
- the need for political will and for countries to honor their existing commitments;
- the importance of multilateralism and stakeholder engagement;
- economic issues;
- the importance of financial and technological assistance for developing countries;
- the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic;
- legal issues;
- war and conflict, including the Russian invasion of Ukraine; and
- national and regional actions.
Some discussed the recent launch of negotiations on a plastics treaty, while others noted the “One Health” approach connecting humanity with the environment. Many speakers also highlighted inclusivity, equity, and the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities.
Progress since 1972: Many speakers noted successes over the past 50 years, with GABON and NEW ZEALAND highlighting progress on ozone protection. However, virtually all stressed the triple planetary crisis and need for urgent action. On the opportunity for reflection provided by Stockholm+50, KENYA said the world should reflect on gaps, opportunities and challenges, learn lessons, and listen to the science. NEW ZEALAND welcomed the Stockholm+50 stocktaking, highlighting a Māori proverb that describes “the action of walking backwards into the future, with one’s eyes fixed on the past.”
Noting the impact of COVID-19 in slowing progress, NORTH MACEDONIA urged accelerated action on the SDGs. The US asked, “What if Stockholm 1972 had not taken place?” but then expanded upon this, asking “What if the world does not meet the current ‘Stockholm moment’?”
Triple planetary crisis: Many speakers highlighted the triple planetary crisis. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, UK, said the multiple crises the world now faces demand we “double down” on achieving sustainability and tackling climate change, adding that we must “show we have the will” to act. The EU urged using the multilateral system to its maximum extent. NAMIBIA highlighted that inequality and poverty need to be addressed to make the SDGs achievable.
SPAIN said the “challenges” of 50 years ago are now “crises” and called for “action, action, action!” The MALDIVES said it did not wish its people to become climate refugees. The INTERNATIONAL UNION FOR CONSERVATION OF NATURE (IUCN) highlighted nature-based solutions. The CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY (CBD) noted that the Glasgow Climate Change Conference gave more attention to biodiversity than ever before.
Political will: Many speakers stressed the need for greater political will. Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, Prime Minister of FIJI, said the global community must commit to urgent change and provide financial resources. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali, ETHIOPIA, highlighted how Stockholm in 1972 connected poverty, development, and the environment. GERMANY said the fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the CBD must create an ambitious framework in 2022, without any further delays. GHANA urged progress on Article 6 of the Paris Agreement (market and non-market mechanisms) and a plastics treaty. BELGIUM proposed making “ecocide” a crime.
The SCIENTIFIC AND TECHNOLOGICAL COMMUNITY MAJOR GROUP called for a “watershed moment” to meet and implement the many global targets and agreements that could deliver sustainable development, urging accelerated actions, science-based decision making, and multi-stakeholder engagement.
Multilateralism: NEPAL urged effective collaboration beyond boundaries. COSTA RICA noted its leadership in the High-Ambition Coalition for Nature, consisting of countries championing a deal to protect 30% of the world’s land and ocean by 2030, which was also supported by JAPAN and the US. JAPAN pointed to the Global Climate and SDG Synergy Conference, to be held in Tokyo in July 2022 to raise ambition toward meeting the 1.5℃ goal and the SDGs.
BARBADOS urged reaffirmation of all international environmental commitments, including the Rio Conventions, the Paris Agreement, and the regional maritime Barbados Agreement. SRI LANKA highlighted the No New Coal alliance. CHINA emphasized multilateralism, global partnerships, and sustained action.
The OZONE SECRETARIAT noted the Vienna Convention and Montreal Protocol’s impact on protecting the ozone layer and also helping combat climate change, especially through the recent Kigali Amendment. The INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTE FOR DEMOCRACY AND ELECTORAL ASSISTANCE urged strengthening democratic institutions and a free flow of information in supporting climate action.
The UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME (UNDP) reported on consultations in 50 countries in preparation for Stockholm+50, which connected the dots among many environmental challenges and produced recommendations for actions through multilateralism. The CBD affirmed that agreement on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework at COP15 must be ambitious, have adequate means of implementation, and address direct and underlying drivers of biodiversity loss, including unsustainable production and consumption. The INDIGENOUS PEOPLES’ MAJOR GROUP reminded governments to honor their existing pledges in multiple environmental agreements.
Many countries urged rapid progress on the new initiative for a legally-binding instrument on plastics pollution. The MARSHALL ISLANDS said it is awash in plastic waste, much from other side of world. PERU noted its championing of a resolution on a legally-binding instrument.
Financial and technological assistance: Many countries called for financial or technological assistance. Pakistan, on behalf of the GROUP OF 77 AND CHINA, urged developed countries to meet their historic responsibilities and provide new and predictable financial and technological support. She called for a better balance between financing for mitigation and adaptation, specific funding for loss and damage, mobilizing USD 100 billion per year for climate finance for developing countries, and setting a new, higher financing goal by 2025.
Morocco, on behalf of the AFRICAN GROUP, urged more efficient and less complex practices to access finance. President Mokgweetsi Masisi, BOTSWANA, requested developed countries and international financial institutions to support its biodiversity work. President Iván Duque, COLOMBIA, called for Latin America and the Caribbean to be prioritized in climate finance. President Azali Assoumani, COMOROS, urged concrete contributions to the most vulnerable states. TANZANIA requested research assistance on green technology, particularly solar and wind power. The PHILIPPINES called for climate justice, saying climate finance should be unlocked immediately. JAMAICA highlighted the need to build skills to create and participate in the green economy, emphasizing not only North-South but also South-South and triangular cooperation. ARGENTINA highlighted the polluter pays principle. LAO PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC discussed international funds and private sector investment. CÔTE D’IVOIRE called for a massive mobilization of resources under the national Abidjan Legacy Program announced during UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) COP15.
Stakeholder engagement: Many speakers stressed the importance of multi-stakeholder engagement. Several speakers, including the NETHERLANDS, DENMARK, and INDONESIA, highlighted the role of youth in multilateral processes. BELIZE highlighted intergenerational responsibilities and true multilateralism, equity and justice. GHANA drew attention to public-private partnerships. GEORGIA emphasized “environmental democracy” and domestic stakeholder engagement. MEXICO supported prior and informed consent for Indigenous Peoples, and participation of local communities, women, and youth. AZERBAIJAN highlighted UNEP’s role and value in fostering global partnerships. SLOVENIA congratulated UNEP for its achievements and expressed support for its future activities. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION said UNEP’s activities must not be politicized, “remain neutral,” and not be a tool for green protectionism.
NEW ZEALAND said we must listen to the voices of those too-often ignored and must place youth and Indigenous Peoples at the heart of decision-making, highlighting the Māori concept of guardianship. The REPUBLIC OF KOREA supported nature-based solutions to climate change. The COUNCIL OF EUROPE and the UNIVERSITY FOR PEACE highlighted the importance of environmental education. The MAJOR GROUP FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH urged inclusive processes that allow full participation, highlighting a youth policy paper, urging immediate action. She said Stockholm+50 must be a “turning point.” A consortium of NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS highlighted an upcoming report, “The People’s Environment Narrative,” to be released in September 2022. Stating that “we have the knowledge, we have the money, and in most contexts, we know what to do,” he called for urgent action.
Economic issues: Many countries, including CHINA, FINLAND, and LATVIA, highlighted the circular economy. ITALY, with SINGAPORE, said we need a radical transformation away from our current linear economy model towards circularity. Many countries, including AUSTRIA, CAMEROON, and others, noted that circularity means managing waste. ARGENTINA, CUBA, NICARAGUA, FINLAND, SOUTH AFRICA, and others urged action to address unsustainable consumption and production. COSTA RICA noted the Latin American and Caribbean Group’s consultations on use of development matrices beyond GDP for post-pandemic recovery and sustainable consumption and production. President Emmanuel Macron, FRANCE, highlighted redirecting financial goals towards climate and biodiversity, noting that trade agreements can no longer be negotiated as they were 30 years ago.
BOLIVIA placed responsibility on the capitalist system for damaging Mother Earth, urging a paradigm shift. BHUTAN noted that its Gross National Happiness measurement shows that prosperity does not have to come at the expense of biodiversity and the environment. VANUATU cited global market failures, calling global cooperation essential to stop the production of fossil fuels. TUVALU urged combatting climate change at its source, namely by addressing fossil fuel use and supporting a just transition to renewables. NORWAY called for deep decarbonization and transformational change incorporating a faster just transition.
The BUSINESS AND INDUSTRY MAJOR GROUP urged addressing harmful subsidies and supported harmonized standards for environmental, social, and corporate governance. The CONVENTION ON THE CONSERVATION OF MIGRATORY SPECIES OF WILD ANIMALS (CMS) contrasted the millions of dollars provided to fund carbon sequestration with the severe undervaluing of migratory species as indicators of the state of the natural world. The INTERFAITH GROUP said faith communities bring a moral voice to the table about the structural greed and apathy that have caused our existential crisis, saying we have failed as the stewards of nature. The INDIGENOUS PEOPLES MAJOR GROUP said urgent policy action for transformational change is required to alter harmful economic and social models. The MAJOR GROUP FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH called for a sustainable and just recovery through transformation of the high-impact economic activity of big agri-business and international corporations and for building a green economy. The WOMEN’S MAJOR GROUP called for increased support for women farmers and gender-responsive social protection systems.
Legal rights and measures: VANUATU noted its campaign for legal protection, with a request for an opinion from the International Court of Justice on the right to protection from climate change for present and future generations. The BAHAMAS called for recognition and support for loss and damage suffered by small island developing states (SIDS). The OFFICE OF THE UN HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS, with the REPUBLIC OF KOREA, called for urgent action on the human right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment, as agreed in Human Rights Council resolution 48/13, noting the IPCC’s conclusion that rights-based approaches reduce climate vulnerability and lead to more legitimate and concrete action. The INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT LAW ORGANIZATION reported numerous activities to promote the rule of law’s contribution to tackling climate change. The WOMEN’S MAJOR GROUP noted women’s right to land tenure. The MAJOR GROUP FOR CHILDREN AND YOUTH called for including treating ecocide as a crime and establishing a legally-binding agreement for a non-fossil fuel future.
Conflict and security: Many speakers highlighted wars and conflicts. The Russian invasion of Ukraine was highlighted by many speakers as a cause of deep concern, including by the EU, US, GERMANY, FRANCE, SWEDEN, POLAND, CROATIA, CANADA, BRAZIL, ESTONIA, NEW ZEALAND, among others. LATVIA said there can be no sustainable development without peace. MOLDOVA cited Ukraine as the largest immigration and humanitarian crisis, but said this cannot distract countries from their responsibility to ensure their citizens’ right to a healthy environment. The RUSSIAN FEDERATION defended its “special military operation” in Ukraine, which he said aimed at “demilitarizing and de-Nazifying” the country.
Mohamed al-Menfi, Head of the Presidential Council, LIBYA, called for attention to environmental issues in conflict and in post-conflict countries. PALESTINE criticized Israel’s negative impact on its water security. BANGLADESH noted that population displacements through coastal submersion are a security issue, urging a focus on migrants, not new weapons. YEMEN expressed concerns over a decrepit tanker containing one million barrels of oil that is stranded in the Red Sea, thus posing a huge risk to environmental and food security.
National and regional actions: Many speakers also highlighted national efforts, while some reflected on regional actions. National initiatives ranged from banning single-use plastic bags to embracing renewable energy, the circular economy, and reforestation. President Alexander Van der Bellen, AUSTRIA, highlighted the European Green Deal for a circular, climate neutral, and resource-efficient future. Prime Minister Aymen Benabderrahmane, ALGERIA, emphasized his country’s championing of renewable energy. HUNGARY highlighted support for national parks and afforestation. TÜRKIYE highlighted national and regional action on plastics and marine litter.
AUSTRALIA highlighted the climate crisis and the new Australian Government’s commitment to net zero by 2050, plans for a new nationally determined contribution (NDC) under the Paris Agreement, and ambitious green energy goals. GREECE highlighted green shipping and tourism. POLAND and UN-HABITAT noted the role of cities in sustainable development. SOUTH AFRICA drew attention to regional measures in Africa. The UN ECONOMIC COMMISSION FOR EUROPE highlighted the value of technical assistance to Member States.
Stockholm+50 featured three Leadership Dialogues aimed at encouraging candid, open and in-depth discussions on key issues facing the world in the coming months and years.
Dialogue One: Reflecting on the urgent need for actions to achieve a healthy planet and prosperity of all: The first Leadership Dialogue was held on Thursday afternoon, 2 June. Co-Chairs Steven Guilbeault (Canada) and Gustavo Rafael Manrique Miranda (Ecuador) introduced the background paper (A/CONF.238/4).
Panel One: Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans, and Fisheries, called for sustainable supply and value chains and for international fora on the circular economy. Azza Karam, Secretary General of Religions for Peace, described the unparalleled influence of faith leaders and communities in cultivating human behavior change. Achim Steiner, Administrator, UNDP, addressed the important linkage between trust and fair multilateral platforms.
Vanessa Nakate, 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.” She called for no new investment in coal, oil and gas; scaled-up grant funding for the energy transition in the Global South; and agreement on a loss and damage fund by UNFCCC COP27. John Kerry, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, US, agreed with Nakate, stating that some leaders in the 20 major economies have been indifferent to the math and physics of climate science. He noted that the war in Ukraine was being used by some 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 risks drifting into a “suicide pact.”
Discussion: In the ensuing discussion, participants highlighted the linkage between people’s health and the health of the planet, the need to seize the post-pandemic moment for a sustainable and inclusive recovery, and the need to end harmful fossil fuel and agricultural subsidies. One participant called for national policies and platforms to drive change, with the participation of youth. In a reference to Stockholm’s 50th anniversary, another delegate noted that “50 years of age is the age of reason and we need to understand that.”
Guilbeault summarized key recommendations raised during interventions from the floor, including on:
- meaningful engagement with civil society partners in implementation and leadership roles;
- human rights, especially for Earth defenders;
- a shift from a cost-benefit approach to the environmental crisis towards an expanded framework of ethics and higher principles;
- the link between effectiveness and trust in institutions;
- the difficult choices on coal, oil and gas implicit in the just transition;
- scaling up clean energy subsidies;
- a “Paris moment” for biodiversity; and
- a multilateral system that is fair and committed to urgent implementation of existing obligations.
Panel Two: In the second panel discussion, Antonio Herman Benjamin, Justice of the National High Court of Brazil and President of the Global Judicial Institute on the Environment, spoke about the importance of strengthening the capacity of the environmental rule of law. He noted the absence of judges from the 1972 Stockholm and 1992 Rio conferences, saying their presence at Stockholm+50 sends the message that enforcement and implementation are increasingly important, since rules are worthless without them. Sunita Narain, Director General of the Center for Science and Environment, stressed that inclusivity is needed for sustainable growth and justice, which is fundamental for transformational action. She highlighted the urgency to act if we are not to repeat the mistakes of the past.
Dario Mejía Montalvo, Leader, National Indigenous Organization, Colombia, said that regarding “rights” Indigenous Peoples are lagging behind, but they are on the frontline when it comes to “duties.” He stressed that the need to protect ecosystems should not come at the cost of ignoring the governance systems of Indigenous Peoples. He called for humility to understand that “life,” “spirituality” and “energy” are synonyms.
Discussion: In the subsequent discussion, participants observed that multilateralism is essential in a world that has no boundaries, and there is a need to create a just transition, taking the needs of developing countries into account. Co-Chair Manrique drew attention to participants’ observations that forests and people have a complex relationship, and sometimes cutting a tree is a matter of survival. He also highlighted that working towards a solution on plastics is critical.
Dialogue Two: Achieving a sustainable and inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic: On Friday morning, 3 June, the second Leadership Dialogue was convened to consider achieving a sustainable and inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Steffi Lemke, Federal Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection, Germany, and Tri Tharyat, Director General for Multilateral Cooperation, Indonesia, who co-chaired the Dialogue, introduced the background paper (A/CONF.238/5). Based on recommendations from informal stakeholder meetings, the background paper noted that since the beginning of the pandemic over 100 million people have been pushed into extreme poverty. The background paper also calls for more international solidarity and a new kind of relationship with nature alongside equitable use of resources.
Panel One: Dominic Waughray, World Business Council for Sustainable Development, outlined the Council’s business action agenda on value chains, calling for: co-development of an accountability and transparency mechanism to measure how business is progressing against science based-targets; a global circularity “protocol” on materials innovation, including a definition of circularity as a financial asset class; and skills innovation.
Reem Al-Saffar, Middle East and North Africa Youth Network, noted huge discrepancies in access to green technologies between developed and developing countries, inviting participants to acknowledge the historical roots of those discrepancies in “merciless” colonial histories. She also underlined the impact of the pandemic on education for young people in rural areas lacking access to online infrastructure. Gonzalo Muñoz, TriCirclos, urged small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) to join his climate partnership hub and put purpose at the center of their lives and mission. Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, African Union Commission, underlined agricultural transformation in Africa.
Discussion: Many countries agreed that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their capacity to address challenges, including the triple planetary crisis. Some highlighted the need to mobilize financial resources for developing countries, and to address the technology and digital gap between rich and poorer countries. Speakers also called for stimulus measures to address the root causes of the pandemic and to move towards sustainable consumption and production patterns. There was some agreement between countries and other stakeholders on the need to strengthen agrifood systems and move towards a nature-positive economy, and also to strengthen accountability.
Panel Two: The second panel session addressed the question of how the human right to a clean environment can support action towards addressing the triple planetary crisis. David Boyd, UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, said a human rights-based approach can be a catalyst towards a new economic system. Carlos Manuel Rodríguez, CEO, Global Environment Facility, urged countries to protect nature in the same way they protect their financial capital. Joan Carling, Executive Director, Indigenous Peoples Rights International, called for a shift in consumption and production patterns that is not dictated by the narrow interest of the few but the needs of all. Janez Potočnik, International Resource Panel, said that “if we want to avoid the extinction of elephants in nature, we need to extinguish the elephant in this room” by honoring existing commitments.
Discussion: In the ensuing discussion, many countries agreed about the need to move towards a circular economy and to accelerate action. Some participants promoted nature-based solutions to address threats such as climate change. Others called for a green and just transition towards a healthier environment. One participant addressed systemic and historic inequalities, including colonialism and racism, which stand in the way of achieving a peaceful and healthy planet for all.
SAUDI ARABIA called for climate-friendly growth and investment in activities that reduce emissions such as carbon capture and removal, and a circularity approach to the carbon economy. A representative of NORMATIVE.IO cautioned that in ten years’ time all businesses will claim to be carbon neutral while climate emissions will continue to surge due to unintentional greenwashing caused by bringing together good intentions and bad math. He urged business to adopt a collaborative approach to value chains where the bulk of emissions occur. SRI LANKA noted the impact of external shocks resulting in social unrest and called for global action to prevent future pandemics.
Invited to offer three words to sum up the most important elements of recommendations, panelists identified: “resilience, resilience, resilience”; “accountability, equity and transformation;” “policy coherence;” and “transform the system – respect human rights.”
Co-Chairs Tharyat and Lemke summarized the main recommendations from the Leadership Dialogue, including:
- strengthening the global value chain to ensure resilient global economy, ensuring access and capacity building for SMEs in developing countries, SIDS and least developed countries (LDCs);
- the vital role of women and children and access to education;
- an inclusive platform to address the digital divide and literacy while managing the negative impacts of digital technology on energy consumption;
- building back better to include green and energy transitions;
- the transformational role of the circular economy and the need for a road map for all stakeholders;
- a global circularity “protocol” for business with clear and measurable targets to track progress;
- the importance of the demand side of the economy, including responsibility and equity, product labelling and consumer information; and
- the need to end harmful subsidies, increase investment in sustainable practices and strengthen the resilience of value chains, especially those whose vulnerability has been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine.
Dialogue Three: Accelerating the implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development in the context of the Decade of Action: The third Leadership Dialogue was convened on Friday afternoon, 3 June, by Co-Chairs Emma Kari, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Finland, and Yasmine Fouad, Minister of Environment, Egypt. The Co-Chairs introduced the background document (A/CONF.238/6).
Co-Chair Fouad underlined the importance of scaling up finance, integrating environmental awareness in education systems, and multilateralism. Co-Chair Kari challenged the meeting to be as bold as the visionaries who had met in Stockholm 50 years earlier. She summarized the recommendations from the informal consultations that preceded the meeting, including on:
- the need to align public and private finance flows with the objectives of the Paris Agreement and the CBD;
- the fulfilment of climate change finance commitments;
- strengthening taxation capabilities and combating illicit and harmful financial flows;
- transparent procurement practices;
- the phase-out of fossil fuels and a plan for a global, just transition; and
- the need for governments to address the spillover effects of consumption and production.
She described how Finland has incorporated “Doughnut Economics” into economic planning and the need for all governments to consider the appointment of a young persons and future generations ombudsperson.
Panel One: Arunabha Ghosh, Council on Energy, Environment and Water, called for a paradigm shift away from talk of technology transfer and towards technology co-development, with shared ownership of intellectual property. He also called for a global clean investment risk mitigation mechanism to pool risk across countries and bend the risk curve.
Johan Rockström, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, declared that 50 years after the Stockholm Conference the scientific verdict is that we have failed and are at risk of destabilizing the entire planet. He called for a new definition of justice based on every child’s birthright to be born on a planet that is as livable as that into which their parents are born. He called for the global commons, including ice sheets, forests, and oceans, to be managed collectively with rights for Indigenous communities to receive compensation for their role in sustaining these systems.
Catherine Odora Hoppers, UN System Advisor, cited the French philosopher Michel Foucault’s observation that a philosophy of the future must be born outside of Europe, or equally, born in consequence of meetings at the interface between Europe and non-Europe. She called for a fundamental shift in mindset away from hierarchy and competitiveness, adding that: “It is incumbent to expand our understanding and bring in what modernity left out, namely non-Western knowledge systems, if we are to find a different way of thinking and being and relating to the environment.” She explained that modern science does not constitute the only form of knowledge and called for an intercultural debate in order to link modern Western scientific thinking into the broader knowledge heritage of humankind. She further argued that the idea of a single approach to knowledge was misguided and we should talk about “knowledges” in the plural—thus respecting different world views.
Roy Steiner, Food and Agriculture Programme, Rockefeller Foundation, called for food system transformation using regenerative approaches, and a move away from existing patterns of production that undermine the nutritional value of food.
Discussion: In the subsequent discussion, ALBANIA recalled that her daughter had suggested that her future had been taken hostage. The UN INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT ORGANIZATION (UNIDO) called for a dedicated forum on circularity. The WORLD TRADE ORGANIZATION (WTO) and INTERNATIONAL TRADE CENTRE highlighted the finance and jobs that can be generated by a nature-positive transition by 2030. THE B-TEAM, a business and civil society organization, called for corporate accountability reporting for capital markets. The FORUM FOR DEVELOPMENT AND ENVIRONMENT called for a significant change in relationships with nature and a shift to a wellbeing economy within planetary boundaries. The FOSSIL FUEL NON-PROLIFERATION TREATY initiative criticized the criminalization of environmental activists.
In closing remarks, panelists highlighted: “crisis amnesia” and the need to listen to those “not at the table”; the need for governments, businesses, and financiers to move beyond election cycles and quarterly reports; and the need to rethink how and why we consume food.
Panel Two: The second panel was opened by Ibrahim Thiaw, Executive Secretary, UNCCD, who spoke about how the Abidjan Legacy Program can serve as a model to achieve sustainable development. He reminded participants that “the best asset we have is land” and many issues, including climate change, biodiversity loss, and poverty reduction, can be tackled by sustainable land management. He also questioned the way we use subsidies that are harmful to nature.
Christianne Zakour, UNEP Regional Facilitator for SIDS’ Major Group for Children and Youth, said we cannot respond to today’s crises using the tools from yesterday. She shared three key actions to measure value and risk: strengthen transparency and accountability; end fossil fuel dependence; and integrate intergenerational and intersectoral dimensions into policy-making. Karthik Balakrishnan, President and Co-Founder of Actual, recommended examining the root causes of inaction, such as geographical and intergenerational barriers.
Valerie Hickey, Global Director of Environment, Natural Resources and Blue Economy, World Bank, spoke on scaling financing towards a sustainable planet for all. She recommended strengthening transparency, reducing risk, and increasing innovation. She said the fact the world spends about USD 800 billion in “bad” subsidies while having a USD 700 billion gap in biodiversity finance is “the wrong kind of net zero.” She also urged reimaging paperwork so the multiple available funds go to those needing them, not only those that “write the best proposals.”
Discussion: Participants agreed on the need to scale up finance to unprecedented levels to effectively tackle the triple planetary crisis. Many highlighted the challenges developing countries face in addressing these crises and called for predictable, adequate, and transparent financial flows, as well as a commitment to honor the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities. One youth participant said he had heard “nothing more than empty words and broken promises” and that the warning against leaving people behind is being “intentionally ignored.” He urged governments to “step up or step aside” since “our lives depend on it.”
Co-Chairs Fouad and Kari summarized key recommendations, inter alia:
- recognizing that the triple planetary crisis is also a humanitarian crisis;
- making a paradigm shift on the use of natural resources;
- transitioning to a circular, just economy;
- changing the way we plan societies;
- establishing a “sustainable consumption and production forum” under ECOSOC;
- realigning harmful subsidies and compensating those affected by reforms;
- reducing inequalities in and between countries;
- ensuring economic growth is mutuality supportive;
- including sustainable development in educational programmes;
- considering a just phase-out on existing fossil fuel production;
- creating opportunities for children and youth and involving them in political decision-making;
- establishing partnerships with Indigenous Peoples and local communities;
- scaling up finance in quality, quantity, and access;
- respecting the right of countries to achieve development while preserving their national resources; and
- respecting national capacities and different circumstances of countries.
The closing plenary was held on Friday evening, 3 June. Delegates adopted the report of the Credentials Committee (A/CONF.238/8) and accepted several additional credentials added orally.
Delegates then considered the outcome of the meeting, starting with key messages from the Leadership Dialogues that the Co-Chairs proposed to include in the report of the meeting.
Leadership Dialogue One: Reflecting on the urgent need for actions to achieve a healthy planet and prosperity of all: Dialogue Co-Chair Gustavo Rafael Manrique Miranda summarized the discussions. He noted panelists’ call for a paradigm change, concerns that those with the power to make a difference seem indifferent, and faith that we can make the changes needed. He highlighted the participation of youth, who called for multilateralism and multi-stakeholder inclusion. He drew attention to comments that we must accept, not dispute, the IPCC’s findings. He also noted a clear sense in the discussions that Indigenous Peoples, including their ancestral knowledge and sense of guardianship, must be respected. He highlighted comments that the main enemy of our forests is not people, but poverty.
Leadership Dialogue Two: Achieving a sustainable and inclusive recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic: Co-Chair Tri Tharyat, Indonesia, highlighted several themes emerging from the Dialogue, including the:
- need to strengthen the global value chain, including enhancing capacity of SMEs, SIDS, and LDCs;
- role of sustainable consumption and production and the circular economy in accelerating transformation of global value chains;
- importance of businesses in achieving circularity;
- role and influence of consumers;
- significance of the food sector for sustainability;
- need to end harmful subsidies;
- green energy transition;
- vital role of women, youth, Indigenous Peoples, and local communities; and
- the need for a platform for the digital economy.
Leadership Dialogue Three: Accelerating the implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development in the context of the Decade of Action: Co-Chair Yasmine Fouad, Egypt, highlighted key issues from the Dialogue, including:
- the urgent need for scaled-up action;
- ensuring actions are aligned with climate goals;
- ensuring synergies among action on climate change, biodiversity loss, and desertification;
- reforming governance structures to better recognize women, youth, and Indigenous Peoples;
- addressing fossil fuel use;
- ensuring an equitable and just transition;
- accelerating technology and transfer; and
- respecting countries’ different capacities and historic responsibilities.
She also noted comments from youth participants about the need to restore faith in the multilateral system. Thanking Co-Chair Kari for the excellent spirit of collaboration, she expressed pleasure at the prospect of welcoming everyone to UNFCCC COP27 in Egypt, which she said would be “the implementation COP.”
Report of the Meeting: Keriako Tobiko (Kenya) and Annika Strandhäll (Sweden), speaking for the Stockholm+50 presidents, introduced the report of the meeting (A/CONF.238/L.1). Outlining the contents of the report, they explained that it emphasizes the triple planetary crisis and the need to accelerate implementation. They also outlined the report’s ten key recommendations, as follows:
- place human well-being at the center of a healthy planet and prosperity for all;
- recognize and implement the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment;
- adopt system-wide change in the way our current economic system works to contribute to a healthy planet;
- strengthen national implementation of existing commitments for a healthy planet;
- align public and private financial flows with environmental, climate and sustainable development commitments;
- accelerate system-wide transformations of high impact sectors, such as food, energy, water, buildings and construction, manufacturing, and mobility;
- rebuild relationships of trust for strengthened cooperation and solidarity, including honoring the commitment to mobilize USD 100 billion every year for climate finance for developing countries, and enabling all relevant stakeholders to participate meaningfully in policy formulation and implementation nationally and globally;
- reinforce and reinvigorate the multilateral system, including strengthening UNEP in line with the [email protected] Political Declaration;
- recognize intergenerational responsibility as a cornerstone of sound policy-making, including engaging with the Global Youth Task Force Policy Paper; and
- take forward the Stockholm+50 outcomes through reinforcing and reenergizing ongoing processes and implementing emerging ones such as a new plastics convention, as well as the agreement for the protection of marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction, and engaging with relevant upcoming conferences.
Delegates then adopted the draft report of the meeting (A/CONF.238/L.1). In addition to the recommendations and messages outlined above, the report includes a brief summary of organizational matters, the Credentials Committee’s report, and attendance at the meeting, as well as information on plenary statements and the Leadership Dialogues.
Closing Statements: Stockholm+50 Secretary-General Inger Andersen thanked all stakeholders who had taken part. She recalled how the original Stockholm Conference had begun building a tent, which has gathered more people under its roof each year. She highlighted a number of themes that emerged during the process, including the human right to a clean and healthy environment, intergenerational equity, decarbonization and circularity, and making good on financial commitments.
Andersen told participants how she had left the conference venue at lunchtime to listen to the powerful and impatient voices of youth at a Fridays for Future climate demonstration in Stockholm. She believed youth must be listened to and the Stockholm+50 Youth Task Force had made it clear that a sick environment was unacceptable. She concluded that the 1972 Conference in Stockholm had spurred the birth of UNEP and environmental multilateralism, and the question today after Stockholm+50 is “What is it that we will do now?” Telling participants that the answer is in our hands she urged them collectively to “get it done.”
Tobiko noted the rich quality of the discussion and the diversity of voices. He recalled the original plans for the Stockholm+50 meeting: to build trust, initiate system-wide action to build forward better after the pandemic, connect and build bridges across the multilateral agenda, and rethink measurements of wellbeing to provide a new economic compass. He also paid tribute to the in-depth preparatory series of workshops that laid the basis for discussion. Giving a special mention to the work of the Stockholm Youth Task Force, he said “tomorrow’s leaders must not only have a voice but must also be listened to when decisions are made affecting their tomorrows.”
In her concluding remarks, Strandhäll highlighted the need to rethink and redefine how to measure economic growth and success, align MEAs, scale up finance, work towards a political recognition of the right to a clean and healthy environment, and rebuild trust in the multilateral system. She added that work must continue at home because national implementation is key, and expressed optimism for a decision on a global biodiversity framework, a convention on plastics pollution, and advancement on climate commitments.
Congratulating participants on collectively mobilizing the potential of the meeting, she said we now have a blueprint of acceleration and have marked a milestone on our path forward.
Tobiko and Strandhäll together gaveled the meeting to a close at 7:13 pm.
A Brief Analysis of Stockholm+50
A coffee break—or, if you prefer, a tea break—is common to many cultures. In Sweden, the practice is a quintessential part of national identity, a non-negotiable part of being Swedish. The word for it is “fika.”
For the Swedes, fika implies more than just a quick, caffeinated break for refreshment. In fact, coffee is arguably the least important part of a much more refined and layered ritual. To the Swedish aficionado, one’s latte or cappuccino must be paired with a particular pastry or other delicacy. More than that, fika is about taking a “pause”—either alone or with colleagues or friends—to step outside the business of the day, to chat or think, to reflect on recent events, or plan ahead. One might describe it as the creation of a clearing, a space that gently interrupts routinized patterns received from the past and refreshes our sense of purpose and engagement with the tasks ahead.
This was the balance the Swedish and Kenyan organizers of Stockholm+50 had set themselves: to mark the past while also looking to a future focused on accelerated action around implementation of commitments generated since the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment, held in Stockholm 50 years ago. This included inviting participants to confront some tough choices, including addressing the deep connection between justice and our capacity to enable collective action and effective implementation.
Stocktaking in Stockholm
In some ways, Stockholm+50 was the ultimate fika moment. In the opening plenary, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said Stockholm+50 would provide an opportunity to step out of delegates’ usual negotiating mode, to “pause” and take stock of progress since 1972, and reflect on what is emerging in all its complexity in 2022. What could be more fika than that?
Was this the right approach? And did the strategic pause serve the organizers’ plan to harvest and honor the achievements of the 1972 Stockholm Conference while also moving us into a new era of implementation-focused multilateralism in support of system-wide societal and economic transitions ushered in by the triple planetary crisis?
The design of the pause entailed a significant investment in the pre-meeting preparation that involved a comprehensive series of informal workshops, notably those convened around the themes of three Leadership Dialogues. In a sense this was not a two-day meeting but the culmination of a carefully enabled series of conversations tapping into new constituencies immersed in the discourses and leadership of just transitions. Pre-meeting deliberations involved 230 national conversations and some 50 countries, with up to 50,000 participants. There was also a major investment by the Swedish co-hosts in a Youth Taskforce, in recognition that part of the historical moment of Stockholm+50 is about restoring trust through fairness in the multilateral process in the face of a critical gaze personified by the Vanessa Nakate and Greta Thunberg generation.
Regional consultations with stakeholders also played a major role. In these meetings the need to fulfill commitments with accelerated actions was a key theme. There were also calls for new commitments on issues such as eliminating fossil fuel subsidies and recognizing the rights of nature, although the Swedish and Kenyan co-hosts’ aim for Stockholm+50 was not to launch new goals or targets.
Nevertheless, expectations on the first morning of the meeting reflected a sense of uncertainty about the event and its aims. The event attracted many government ministers and senior officials, however, heads of state and government were thin on the ground, suggesting to some that many government priorities lay elsewhere. For practiced delegates from multilateral negotiations accustomed to more transactional rituals of negotiating [bracketed trade-offs], often late into the night, the event seemed refreshingly free of controversy or challenge, with lots of time to catch a good night’s sleep, connect with colleagues, and enjoy the hospitality of the conference.
Just like a break for fika, the time to connect was the entire point of Stockholm+50. “This is a commemoration and a conversation, not a negotiation,” concluded one delegate at the end of the first day.
This approach began to yield results, especially during the second day. With no pressure to generate a negotiated outcome text, many delegates clearly felt they could lower their usual diplomatic guard and engage in honest, real conversations.
This was particularly the case in the Leadership Dialogues, which led to some stimulating and, on occasion, even inspiring moments of intergenerational solidarity. The moment when seasoned US Climate Envoy, John Kerry, and Ugandan youth activist, Vanessa Nakate, had a “meeting-of-minds” over greenwashing and the need for genuine climate action by leading industrialized countries was powerful. It reflected a strong theme that emerged throughout the meeting: the importance of intergenerational equity and the need to engage genuinely and deeply with young people in shaping the future they will soon inherit. “Do not hand us a “broken world,” Nakate told delegates. No one disagreed. As one moderator noted, citing the poet David Whyte, “a conversation is listened into existence more than it is spoken.”
Even in the more conventional plenary sessions of pre-written ministerial speeches, many governments appeared open to listening to each other’s views in a constructive exchange. One or two set aside their pre-prepared remarks to talk more frankly to the moment.
And that was the point of Stockholm+50. For all the achievements made possible by the 1972 Conference and its iconic pioneers there was an ever-present undercurrent of opinion in the 2022 conference rooms and in the corridors that there is a clear and present danger: the trajectory of the world’s multilateral environmental negotiations has been too deeply enmeshed and compromised by inherited legacies of Western colonialism and systemic inequality. As some participants asserted, it is too siloed and dislocated from the real drivers of crises that are to be found in the sacred canopy of neo-liberal capitalism and the “holy grail” of economic growth. In a powerful intervention, UN expert adviser, Catherine Odora Hoppers, Uganda, challenged the conference to engage in a genuine learning encounter with alternative, non-western approaches and systems of knowledge. .
The idea of a triple planetary crisis of climate change, pollution, and biodiversity loss was universally recognized and discussed in depth. Because of some well-chosen global thought leaders, there were also the beginnings of a deeper analysis of the underlying drivers of the crisis in the realms of corporate accountability, and a just transition underpinned by a right to a healthy, clean and sustainable environment. This, they said, should be the first point of departure for all decisions that impact nature.
Another set of ideas emerged around circularity and “doughnut economics”—popularized by Dr. Kate Raworth—about the need to integrate economic policy within planetary boundaries.
In addition, the impact of other crises featured prominently and received few, if any, conflicting views. There was no obvious North-South disagreement over how the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other international goals, even if a few countries pointed specifically to vaccine equity issues. Likewise, the war in Ukraine was widely mentioned with regret, even if Western countries were more likely to condemn it as an unacceptable act of aggression while others tended to focus more squarely on the need for a ceasefire to end the tragic consequences.
There was also little obvious disagreement over the need to increase financial and technological support for the Global South, even if this call featured more prominently among developing country speakers. Many endorsed multilateralism and a deepening multi-stakeholder participation and collaboration as the key to implementation, which is surely a positive. Some also recalled developing countries’ right to pursue their own paths to development, mirroring an important inflection of a theme of the 1972 conference.
Skepticism, of course, is also built into these meetings because they perform a kind of ritualized choreography that always shortchanges the future “we” want. Some NGO and trade union responses immediately following Stockholm+50 were scathing and dismissed the event as a “talkfest” and confirmed the organizers’ early fears that elements of civil society would likely judge the event against a mandate (for example, new commitments) that it had not received from the UN General Assembly.
Constructive Conversation or Idle Chatter?
Clearly, this fika conference yielded some interesting dialogue and gave rise to a relatively ambitious set of actionable recommendations. So far, so good.
Some delegates seemed to feel the timing of the event was also providential. With COVID-19 preventing many in-person meetings for the better part of two years, Stockholm+50 was one of the first fully in-person events since early 2020. Despite the many virtual conferences and even negotiations that have taken place, there is no escaping the need for face-to-face talks to make the necessary breakthroughs in the delicate business of international rule-setting.
In addition, Stockholm+50 presented a model of how government representatives may be exposed to new ideas by having the opportunity to step into a Leadership Dialogue where creative minds and practitioners were rehearsing solutions “out of the box.” The format of Stockholm+50 was designed to be part of the message: a managed encounter between practiced negotiators and the thought leaders and activist and epistemic communities who are essential for the task of aligning multilateralism with the findings of scientific experts, such as those from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Since diplomats were in a non-negotiating mode, they did not have to adhere to their country’s negotiating position. This seemed, on occasion, to enable government representatives to keep open minds about what they were hearing and express their own thoughts, knowing it would not compromise their negotiating positions in other fora.
There was clearly a strong sense in Stockholm that global negotiations in many multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs) have both been dangerously delayed and, at times, out of step with the science. The latest IPCC report demonstrates the existential risk of inaction. Progress on the SDGs has slowed or even reversed. And there is a sense of increasing urgency heading into upcoming negotiations on biodiversity, the ocean, and plastics. That sense that we are running out of time—and we need to move rapidly from negotiation into implementation mode—was absolutely clear in Stockholm. This message was perhaps best captured by Spain’s Teresa Ribera Rodriguez. She told delegates that “We have all the agreements and frameworks we need; now is the time for action, action, action!”
Now that the world is opening up again, many MEAs are gearing up for a series of critical (and often delayed) in-person gatherings aimed at shifting into implementation mode. Meetings like the Second UN Ocean Conference, the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, the Convention on Biological Diversity’s fifteenth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP), and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s COP 27, all present critical opportunities in the coming months to deliver strong outcomes. Meanwhile, negotiations have started on a plastics treaty, while the UN system is strongly focused on getting the SDGs back on track.
Stockholm+50 has arguably helped kick-start normalized in-person gatherings. If fika is an antidote to the stresses of everyday life, Stockholm+50 was an antidote, too, presenting a low-key, low-stress opportunity to talk, get re-accustomed to being together again under one roof, and begin to rebuild those individual relationships and sense of mutual trust and understanding that are essential for success in the critical meetings in the months ahead. Indeed, participants at the meeting were repeatedly invited to cultivate a new relationship with nature, through listening and, as one activist described, by embodying the earth’s presence in the discussions.
Pausing to Move Forward
Will the Stockholm+50 “pause” yield the results needed for our planet? Or will it be remembered as little more than a nostalgic moment that will be overwhelmed by the weight of the 1972 Stockholm Conference’s struggle to bring something new into the world? Only time will tell.
With the candid and constructive exchange that were a feature of Stockholm+50’s extended fika, this meeting in Sweden may have played a useful role in helping delegations remind themselves what is at stake in the months ahead, when there will be little time to pause for coffee, tea, or even a delicious pastry...unless it’s served with a side order of “doughnut economics.”