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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Stockholm+50: We need new momentum for global environmental policy – Lemke

German Environment Minister, Steffi Lemke, expects the UN Stockholm+50 conference to give global environmental policy a strong boost.

Steffi Lemke
Steffi Lemke, German Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection

The international conference, which takes place from June 2 to 3, 2022 in Stockholm with the theme: “A healthy planet for the prosperity of all – our responsibility, our opportunity”, is the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Environment Conference in 1972, which birthed international environmental policy, such as the founding of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The aim of the conference is to draw attention to fields of international environmental policy that are also of outstanding importance in addition to well-established UN processes such as climate and biodiversity, such as circular economy, chemicals policy or green and digital technologies.

Lemke said: “Time is of the essence. In order to give young people a world worth living in, we must quickly switch to a climate and biodiversity-friendly economy. In addition to the global energy transition and nature-based solutions for climate protection, it is above all the circular economy that must be promoted much more consistently than before.

“Consistent recycling and longer product durability use fewer resources and not only help to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They also promote the preservation of biodiversity and protect our nature. I’m sure we need new momentum for global environmental policy. The Stockholm+50 conference will draw more international attention to these important policy areas.”

In her role as co-chair of the Leadership Dialogue “Achieving a sustainable and inclusive recovery from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic”, Lemke will help shape one of the major conference segments. The economic and social consequences of the pandemic make it all the more urgent to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda, which are described internationally as in Germany as a compass for the way out of the crisis. In order to comply with the ecological limits of the earth, in addition to reducing carbon emissions, the material footprint along the value chains must also be significantly reduced.

The results of a study funded by the BMUV, and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) show that the implementation of the SDGs is an essential prerequisite for achieving the climate and biodiversity goals, just as, conversely, the implementation of the climate and biodiversity goals is a prerequisite for the transition to sustainable development is.

According to the study, for example, a CO 2-Price Reduce emissions and thus protect the climate. At the same time, the income could be used to fight poverty or invest in education, health care or sustainable infrastructure. In addition, according to another result of the study, more sustainable agriculture and a diet with less meat would not only protect ecosystems, but also benefit human health.

Building on the findings of recognised reports such as the Dasgupta Review or the UNEP report “Making Peace with Nature”, the focus of the conference is on the relationship between our economy and nature. Much of our prosperity is based on unsustainable use of the environment, e.g. B. by fishing and land use. In order to continue to ensure prosperity, the depreciation of nature’s services must be better taken into account in economic indicators such as GDP.

The conference also addresses the transition to a circular economy. Research shows that approximately half of all global greenhouse gas emissions and 90 percent of species extinction and water scarcity are related to resource extraction and processing. As more resources are recycled, there is potential for significant advances. Another major theme of Stockholm+50 is intergenerational equity. Today’s governments are responsible for ensuring that future generations also have the chance of a life worth living.

The recommendations developed during the international preparatory meetings for the three Stockholm+50 Leadership Dialogues and the discussions in Stockholm are to be recorded in a result document (Chair’s Summary) to be drawn up by the conference chair. The full Chair’s Summary will not be available until some time after the conference.

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