Lessons from Stockholm+50 Conference
Stockholmsmässan, Stockholm, Sweden
2 and 3 June 2022,
Robert Omondi cmf
CMF Representative to ONU-Environment Nayrobi
As a follow up to the UN General Assembly resolution 75/280 of 25 May 2021, the Global environmental community gathered in Stockholm, Sweden between the 2nd and 3rd of June 2022 for an international environmental conference entitled “Stockholm+50: a healthy planet for the prosperity of all – our responsibility, our opportunity. The meeting was graced by UN Secretary-General António Guterres who reiterated the need for leadership in the effort to “end a suicidal war against nature” so as to “rescue us from our environmental mess
We as Claretians participated in this meeting under our UNEP accredited name of Fondazione Proclade Internazionale-Onlus. Bro. Robert Omondi cmf, who is coordinating the Claretian presence @ the UNEP, was assigned by the General Prefect of Apostolate to represent the congregation.
While the meeting was principally designed to commemorate the passage of 50 years since the inception of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment and its outcome documents, it also strategically sought to optimize the dividends of multilateralism towards environmental protection in order to respond to the Triple Planetary crisis of – Climate Change, Threat to Biodiversity and Pollution. The event also sought to act as an acceleration platform towards the implementation of the UN Decade of Action for the realization of Sustainable Development Goals, included in the 2030 Agenda, Paris Agreement on climate change, the Post 2020- post-2020 global Biodiversity Framework, with a view to encouraging the adoption of green post-COVID-19 recovery plans.
The meeting had over 3000 participants, representing diverse voices, entities, and interests including State parties, Civil societies [NGOs; Faith-based Organizations, Youth and women organizations as well as indigenous people organizations, business and science communities].
Aware that the 1972 Stockholm Declaration recognized and referred to the necessity of spiritual growth of humans towards living in harmony with nature; we joined our voices by signing the statements from both Faiths for Earth Initiative and the Major Groups in the UNEP. From the many elaborate statements and presentations made in the plenary meeting, side events, webinars and action hubs, it was clear that Faith and Indigenous leaders and actors have the potential to play an essential role in shaping global environmental governance and policy making. [Copy of the statement will be attached here]
As the intense meeting comes to its close, we have thus learned that
- Faith communities represent the vast majority of human populations especially the populations which are significantly at risk. Therefore, our presence and impact in national and international forums should not just be an outcome of preferential options for the poor but from the urgency of our prophetic duty to protect the poor and our common home.
- That the youth constituency, who had convened a powerful Youth Assembly in Stockholm three days before the beginning of the main conference, have a capacity to organize themselves and articulate environmental issues from their perspective. This presents a challenge to us as cmf @UNEP, on our organizational capacity to mobilize our youths in matters SDG and care of our Common Home.
- That the Indigenous Peoples are coming out as a unique and powerful voice in national and international forums on their own motion and efforts. We must recognize this capacity and adapt our approaches to facilitate of their organization and participation so as to allow them to express themselves for they can articulate their issues clearly. Given that their worldviews are contained in their languages, preservation of the language should form an integral part of our apostolate. [We had strong Indigenous Peoples’ presentations from Latin America, India, and the Philippines].
- We must acknowledge the role of the Business and Science Communities on the subject of the environment. We must forge ways toward mutual ethic-based engagement with them if we are to make any significant changes to the current trajectory in the environmental crisis.
- Given the complex and transboundary nature of current environmental challenges, we must enhance the new synergies [both with high-ranking decision-makers and vulnerable communities] of networking and partnerships to deepen and widen our approaches towards mobilization and actions for the protection of our common home. We had educative and memorable inputs by High court Judges on the theme of “Judges, the Environmental Rule of Law and a Healthy Planet since the 1972 Stockholm Declaration, like [justice José Igreja Matos (Court of Appeal of Portugal) Justice Antonio Herman Benjamin (National High Court of Brazil ) Justice Nambitha Dambuza (Supreme Court of South Africa) Justice Ricardo Lorenzetti (Supreme Court of Argentina) Justice Sapana Pradhan Malla (Supreme Court of Nepal) Justice Syed Mansoor Ali Shah (Supreme Court of Pakistan).
- The themes of defending Environmental Rights Defenders gained prominence in this meeting with a strong presentation from Indonesia, the Philippines, and Latin America. In this regard, I met the former UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment David R. Boyd who is open to helping us in awareness rising on this subject. It was noted too that special attention needs to be taken towards women and girls’ environmental human rights defenders who suffer disproportionately and in a differentiated way as Environmental Rights Defenders.
- That the shift from the current extractive economic paradigm must be accompanied by robust programs toward financing just and peaceful transitions to eco-centric and circular paradigms. If there are no alternative and gainful green jobs and sources of livelihood, changing of human behaviors would be difficult.
- A decade of actions cannot be realized with words and endless action-less reflections. There is a need for concrete, consistent, and documented actions for our common home.
Robert Omondi cmf
The meeting ended on the evening of the 3rd of June 2022, just a day before we usher in World Environmental Day. In her concluding remarks, the Secretary-General of Stockholm+50 and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme Inger Andersen, said … “knowing that if we do not change, the triple planetary crisis will make our world less fair, equitable and prosperous. We have laid out what it will take. Now, we must carry our energy forward not in words but in deeds. It is in our hands, let’s get it done”
Robert Omondi cmf