Stockholm+50 must demonstrate progress towards environmental and climate justice
Ahead of Stockholm+50 – the global UN environmental conference held in Stockholm 2-3 June – Swedwatch together with 25 other organisations, all members of CONCORD Sweden, call for the conference to demonstrate radical steps towards global environmental and climate justice.
Below is the full statement (originally posted on CONCORD´s website on the 5th of May 2022).
We, the undersigned organisations, call for Stockholm+50 to demonstrate radical steps towards global environmental and climate justice. The conference must result in bold and tangible outcomes that meet the urgency of the climate and biodiversity crises, while integrating the following principles:
Equity, equality and justice: The unjust distribution of benefits from natural resources and burdens of climate change and environmental degradation must be addressed. Countries and communities that have contributed the least to the environmental and climate crises are often hit the hardest by their consequences. All countries and stakeholders must take responsibility for their historic and current destructive practices. High-income countries and powerful stakeholders that contribute with high emissions and large footprints of production and/or consumption need to show leadership. Principles of equity, equality and justice must guide the conference recommendations.
Intergenerational and gender justice: Globally, women and girls are disproportionately affected by the consequences of climate change and ecosystem degradation. Patriarchal power structures are among the root causes of the crises and they limit women’s and girls’ influence in shaping the solutions. The responses must aim to be gender transformative and address gender inequalities and intersecting power relations. Similarly, children and youth are least responsible for the destruction of our planet, yet current and future generations of children and young people will live the longest with the effects. Decision-making should be guided by their best interests, and they must be guaranteed influence.
Human rights-based approach: The newly adopted right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment (HRC Resolution 48/13) needs to be safeguarded as a fundamental human right. A rights-based approach must be used in all environment and climate solutions. This includes support and protection of environmental rights defenders at risk, and promotion of the rights of indigenous people and local community members to enjoy a healthy environment and to participate in decision-making on environmental matters. It also means taking action against human rights violations caused by environmental degradation and ensuring access to justice and remedies.
Meaningful and inclusive participation: Decisions that influence climate and environmental action, at all levels, must be made through transparent processes and with fair and meaningful participation of people and communities. The Stockholm conference in 1972 was ground-breaking in engaging a broad range of stakeholders. In the same spirit, Stockholm+50 should engage civil society and local communities in a meaningful and intersectional way, and result in recommendations that guarantee fair and inclusive decision-making.
With the above principles in mind, the leadership dialogues must put forward bold and concrete recommendations that speed up action and alter the disastrous effects of the environmental and climate crises. Some suggestions for such action include:
- Advance a Nature Positive goal and an economy that fits within planetary boundaries: Recognising the urgency of the triple and intertwined planetary crisis of climate change, chemical pollution and waste, and biodiversity loss; a Nature Positive goal for 2030 with respect to biodiversity, and a goal for chemical pollution and waste could be set alongside the existing target to limit global warming to 1.5 C. To meet such goals, the conference should call for a commitment to an inclusive just transition to a nature-positive economy before 2030.
- Guarantee both nature- and rights-based solutions: As calls for nature-based solutions gain momentum, the conference should propose a more specific definition of the concept that guarantees both climate and biodiversity benefits, while ensuring respect for the human rights of indigenous peoples and local communities. All investments in nature-based solutions must be based on functional and sustainable local solutions, and be developed together with indigenous peoples and local communities, in line with free, prior and informed consent (FPIC).
- Ensure food sovereignty: The recovery from COVID-19 offers opportunities for transformation of the global food systems to strengthen long-term resilience, promote sustainably managed production, and reduce poverty and hunger. This includes shifting to agriculture based on agro-ecological principles, such as agro-forestry, and low impact small-scale fisheries, while ending harmful subsidies to industrial fisheries and chemical-intensive agriculture practices.
- End the fossil fuel era: All public investments and subsidies that are harmful to nature and climate must be cancelled and redirected towards activities that contribute to a green and just transition. The conference should support the call for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty that aims to put an end to all exploration of fossil fuels, phase out existing production and fast-track real solutions for a just transition.
- Hold the private sector to account: Processes of developing international, legally binding frameworks that require companies to adopt the highest human rights and environmental standards should be supported. Companies, investors and development banks must take part in the green and just transition, not only through financial contributions, but also as stakeholders with responsibility for human rights, the environment and the climate. Transparency, accountability, influence in decision-making and access to redress mechanisms must be guaranteed when people and nature are negatively affected by private sector activities. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.
- Make mass damage of ecosystems an international crime: Severe, wide- spread and long-term destruction of ecosystems is a root cause of the current climate and environmental crises. The conference should support calls for making such mass damage, also known as ecocide, an international crime.
- Scale up finance: A drastic increase in climate and biodiversity finance is needed, not least for adaptation, and loss and damage in low-income countries. Such finance should primarily come as grants and not loans, and be additional to ODA commitments. Furthermore, it must be ensured that the funding reaches communities that are hardest hit by the climate crisis and environmental degradation, not least small-scale farmers and fisheries, as well as women-dominated sectors. Climate and biodiversity finance must apply a rights-based perspective, as well as the principles of locally led adaptation.
- Ensure recovery packages for an inclusive just transition: COVID-19 recovery packages must meet the urgency of the climate and biodiversity crises and be guided by goals of an inclusive just transition, taking distribution and gender equality into account. Recovery packages should be developed together with representatives of civil society, including unions, environmental defenders, women’s rights groups, youth and children.
- Set climate targets for the military: The climate crisis is the biggest security threat of our time, and one that can not be met by military means. While the environmental and climate crises are and will creasingly be contributing factors to conflicts, increased militarisation and conflict, in turn, causes environmental destruction and large-scale emissions. The conference should suggest target-setting for the environmental impact and greenhouse gas emissions of the military sector.
ActionAid Sweden, Afrikagrupperna, Amazon Watch Sweden, Barnfonden, Church of Sweden, Diakonia, ForumCiv, Framtidsjorden, The Hunger Project Sweden, IM Swedish Development Partner, The Kvinna till Kvinna Foundation, LM International (Läkarmissionen), Olof Palme International Center, Plan International Sweden, PMU, The Swallows India Bangladesh, SweFOR, SMC - Faith in Development, The Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society, Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, Swedwatch, United Nations Association of Sweden, Vi-skogen/Vi Agroforestry, We Effect, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) Sweden, WWF Sweden