Red Cross Red Crescent at Stockholm+50: Environmental crises as humanitarian crises

Red Cross Red Crescent at Stockholm+50: Environmental crises as humanitarian crises
6 June 2022

By the Climate Centre

A joint statement Friday by hosts Sweden and Kenya at the end of the Stockholm+50 conference “emphasized the global interconnectedness of the environment and the need to collectively address the triple crisis of our common environment – climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution – for present and future generations.”

Stockholm+50, which marks 50 years since the 1972 UN conference that first made the environment a pressing global issue, “also underlined the urgent need for bold and deliberate actions as well as clear political will to accelerate action on these commitments,” the statement added, and “strengthen the multilateral system, increase ambition and solidarity, and set us on a credible path towards a healthy planet for all – leaving no one behind.”

The statement, drawn from states and stakeholders who took part in the two-day meeting in the Swedish capital, also includes recommendations for an agenda that included “placing human well-being at the centre of a healthy planet and prosperity for all”, implementing a “right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment”, and “system-wide transformations of high-impact sectors [and] resource efficiency, regenerative production approaches and nature-based solutions”.

                                      ‘Something must change’

Stockholm+50 included four plenary sessions that heard calls for action to accelerate implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as leadership dialogues, and hundreds of side-events and webinars.

A side event, Environmental Crises as Humanitarian Crises, was jointly organized by the IFRC, ICRC (joint key messages), the Kenyan and Swedish Red Cross, UNEP, OCHA and WWF, which last week launched a new partnership with the International Federation centred on nature-based solutions.

It covered “how planetary crises are contributing to humanitarian crises, especially for vulnerable and marginalized communities and groups, and in fragile contexts,” organizers said, as well as “actions…to reduce risks through working with nature.”

It was opened by Xavier Castellanos, IFRC Under Secretary General for National Society Development and Operations Coordination, who tweeted that an “elevated sense of urgency for climate and environmental action is crucial”, and moderated by Swedish Red Cross President Anna Hägg-Sjöquist.

ICRC Vice-President Gilles Carbonnier, Kenya Red Cross Secretary General Asha Mohammed, WWF International Director General Marco Lambertini, and Charlotta Benedek of the UNEP/OCHA Joint Environment Unit also spoke.

‘Triple crisis’

Keriako Tobiko, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, said last week: “The variety of voices and bold messages that have emerged from these two days demonstrate a genuine wish to live up to the potential of this meeting and build a future for our children and grandchildren on this, our only planet.

“We didn’t just come here to commemorate, but to build forward and better, based on the steps taken since 1972.”

“Something must change,” added Inger Andersen, Secretary-General of Stockholm+50 and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme.

“We came to Stockholm 50 years after the UN Conference on the Human Environment knowing that…if we do not change, the triple planetary crisis of climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste will only accelerate.

“Now we must take forward this energy, this commitment to action to shape our world.”

Noor Johan, from the northern Bangladesh district of Kurigram, is a beneficiary of the Swedish-supported National Resilience Programme. Her picture and the two countries’ story of 50 years through 50 voices were tweeted yesterday by Sweden’s ambassador in Dhaka, Alex Berg von Linde, to mark World Environment Day and the end of Stockholm+50. (Photo: social media)