United Nations Conference on the Human Environment
When the UN General Assembly decided to convene the 1972 Stockholm Conference, at the initiative of the Government of Sweden to host it, UN Secretary-General U Thant invited Maurice Strong to lead it as Secretary-General of the Conference, as the Canadian diplomat (under Pierre Trudeau) had initiated and already worked for over two years on the project.
The conference was opened and addressed by the Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme and secretary-general Kurt Waldheim to discuss the state of the global environment. Attended by the representatives of 113 countries, 19 inter-governmental agencies, and more than 400 inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations, it is widely recognized as the beginning of modern political and public awareness of global environmental problems.
Sweden first suggested to ECOSOC in 1968 the idea of having a UN conference to focus on human interactions with the environment. ECOSOC passed resolution 1346 supporting the idea. General Assembly Resolution 2398 in 1969 decided to convene a conference in 1972 and mandated a set of reports from the UN secretary-general suggesting that the conference focus on "stimulating and providing guidelines for action by national government and international organizations" facing environmental issues.
The meeting agreed upon a Declaration containing 26 principles concerning the environment and development; an Action Plan with 109 recommendations, and a Resolution. Principles of the Stockholm Declaration:
1. Human rights must be asserted, apartheid and colonialism condemned
2. Natural resources must be safeguarded
3. The Earth’s capacity to produce renewable resources must be maintained
4. Wildlife must be safeguarded
5. Non-renewable resources must be shared and not exhausted
6. Pollution must not exceed the environment’s capacity to clean itself
7. Damaging oceanic pollution must be prevented
8. Development is needed to improve the environment
9. Developing countries therefore need assistance
10. Developing countries need reasonable prices for exports to carry out environmental management
11. Environment policy must not hamper development
12. Developing countries need money to develop environmental safeguards
13. Integrated development planning is needed
14. Rational planning should resolve conflicts between environment and development
15. Human settlements must be planned to eliminate environmental problems
16. Governments should plan their own appropriate population policies
17. National institutions must plan development of states’ natural resources
18. Science and technology must be used to improve the environment
19. Environmental education is essential
20. Environmental research must be promoted, particularly in developing countries
21. States may exploit their resources as they wish but must not endanger others
22. Compensation is due to states thus endangered
23. Each nation must establish its own standards
24. There must be cooperation on international issues
25. International organizations should help to improve the environment
26. Weapons of mass destruction must be eliminated
One of the seminal issue that emerged from the conference is the recognition for poverty alleviation for protecting the environment. The Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in her seminal speech in the conference brought forward the connection between ecological management and poverty alleviation. It is to be noted that she was the only other speaker in the conference other than the hosting country prime minister.
Some argue that this conference, and more importantly the scientific conferences preceding it, had a real impact on the environmental policies of the European Community (that later became the European Union). For example, in 1973, the EU created the Environmental and Consumer Protection Directorate, and composed the first Environmental Action Program. Such increased interest and research collaboration arguably paved the way for further understanding of global warming, which has led to such agreements as the Kyoto Protocol and also this has given a foundation of modern environmentalism .
- Earth Summit 1992
- Earth Summit 2002
- Johannesburg Declaration
- Habitat International Coalition
- United Nations Climate Change Conference 2009
- United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development
- Minamata and Minamata disease
- Strong, Maurice; Introduction by Kofi Annan (2001). Where on Earth are We Going? (Reprint ed.). New York, London: Texere. pp. 120–136. ISBN 1-58799-092-X.
- John Baylis, Steve Smith. 2005. The Globalization of World Politics (3rd ed). Oxford. Oxford University Press. P.454-455
- DeSombre, Elizabeth (2006). Global Environmental Institutions. Rutledge. pp. 22–23.
- Source: Clarke and Timberlake 1982
- Björn-Ola Linnér and Henrik Selin The Thirty Year Quest for Sustainability: The Legacy of the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment, Paper presented at Annual Convention of International Studies Association, Portland, Oregon, USA, 25 February – 1 March 2003, as part of the panel “Institutions and the Production of Knowledge for Environmental Governance” (co-author Henrik Selin).p. 3
- John McCormick, The Global Environmental Movement (London: John Wiley, 1995)
- Schulz-Walden, Thorsten (2013): Anfänge globaler Umweltpolitik. Umweltsicherheit in der internationalen Politik (1969–1975), Oldenbourg Verlag, München, ISBN 978-3-486-72362-5 [Rezension bei: http://hsozkult.geschichte.hu-berlin.de/rezensionen/2014-1-019]
- Report from the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm, 1972
- Introductory note by Günther Handl, procedural history note and audiovisual material on the Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm Declaration) in the Historic Archives of the United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law