By Emelie Öhlander, Climate Action Program Manager
I could easily state 50 things you need to know about Stockholm +50—but let’s keep it simple and boil it down to 5 essential things to know.
What is Stockholm +50?
This is the easiest to answer—Stockholm +50 is an international environmental meeting hosted by the United Nations General Assembly to be held in Stockholm, Sweden from 2-3 June 2022. See, nice and straight forward!
To dive a bit more below the surface, the theme of Stockholm+50 is “a healthy planet for the prosperity of all – our responsibility, our opportunity.” This high-level meeting will follow months of consultations and discussions with individuals, communities, organizations, and governments around the world.
So wait--what does Stockholm +50 even mean?
In 1972, the United Nations Conference on the Environment in Stockholm was held, and it was essentially the first conference that managed to address environmental issues on the right level. Fifty years later, the United Nations is back in Stockholm to commemorate that important milestone. Also pretty straight forward!
In 1972, some 122 countries attended, and participants adopted a series of principles on the environment, including the Stockholm Declaration and Action Plan for the Human Environment. The United Nations Environment Programme was created as a result of the conference.
Now, 50 years after that Stockholm meeting, it’s time to reflect: have we done as much as we could have?
Why is Stockholm +50 important?
There was a lot of media attention around COP26 last year where world leaders gathered to continue the work to uphold the actions promised by the Paris Agreement, 2015. Later this year, there will be COP27 in Egypt, where organizers will aim to make the conference "a radical turning point in international climate efforts in coordination with all parties, for the benefit of Africa and the entire world"
While there may be less attention on Stockholm +50, that does not mean the event won’t be important to global climate action and other environmental issues like biodiversity.
On a personal level, it's mind-blowing to think that the first world conference about the environment happened 50 years ago. When you think about it from a scientific perspective, it’s not very long ago at all. As early as 1896, Swedish chemist Svante Arrenhius described the Earth’s energy budget, understanding that if we burned enough fossil fuels, we would impact the Earth's temperature. He was one of the first to start the scientific discovery of global warming. However, progress on these insights was slow, and it was not until the 1970’s that the policymakers started to address some of the environmental problems humans have created.
While many milestones have been reached over these past 50 years, to specific environmental hazards such as the Montreal Protocol, tackling ozone hole depletion. There is still much to be achieved, especially when it comes to climate action. Around 50 years ago, CO2 levels in the atmosphere stood about 323 parts per million (ppm). Currently, we are at 417 ppm. Human activities have increased the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere, amplifying Earth's natural greenhouse effect. We have already heated the Earth's mean temperature by 1.1 °C and our aim is to limit it to 1.5 °C.
Earlier this year, the UN released the latest IPCC report, which reaffirmed the urgent need for global action on climate change NOW. Emissions are higher than ever, but the rate of increase is slowing a bit— the world has one last chance to realize the 1.5°C ambition. We are facing a tri-planetary catastrophe. Climate change, waste and the loss of nature and biodiversity threaten the livelihoods and lives of billions of people.
It is evident that we need transformational changes to address the climate and planetary crisis - a transformation that will rely on technology, innovation, and true collaboration through the public and private sectors.
What will be happening at Stockholm +50?
The event in the beginning of June will see representatives from around the world gather in Stockholm to discuss how to achieve a sustainable and inclusive future for all. The world has taken great strides to protect and conserve our environment since 1972, but at this crucial moment for climate action, Stockholm +50 could usher in a much-needed new boost to environmental awareness and action for the next half-century, just as it did five decades ago.
Stockholm+50 is designed to be a stepping-stone to accelerating ground-breaking international agreements and reinventing how we can achieve the goals of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Paris Agreement, and the Global Biodiversity Framework. While the key focus of the event is high-level dialogue, we believe this dialogue is the foundation to inspire concrete changes and action from companies, countries, and individuals.
Just as the 1972 Stockholm Conference demonstrated, environmental and climate challenges will be more difficult to solve if the world continues to operate in silos. The only way to save our planet and ourselves from climate catastrophe is to look back while also looking forward together.
Stockholm+50 will be collaborative and multi-stakeholder in nature, open to accredited participants who will be invited to share experiences and initiatives to protect the planet and contribute to sustainable and inclusive development, including a sustainable recovery from the COVID -19 pandemic.
The meeting will comprise an opening segment, four plenary meetings and three leadership dialogues, and a closing segment. Ericsson is a part of the leadership dialogues, that focus on:
- Reflecting in the urgent need for actions to achieve a healthy planet and prosperity of all
- Achieving a sustainable and inclusive recovery from the COVID 19 pandemic
- Accelerating the implementation of the environmental dimension of Sustainable Development in the context of the Decade of Action
What is Ericsson doing at Stockholm +50?
So why is Stockholm +50 important for Ericsson? For the same reason climate action, nature restoration and acting on the global pollution is important for all of us.
It is evident that we need transformational changes to address these challenges. The transformation we need will rely on technology, innovation, and true collaboration through the public and private sectors.
For more than a century, Ericsson’s technologies have transformed every sector of society. Through research, science and industry ecosystems, we know digitalization and 5G can help tackle climate change and other environmental issues.
In particular, the ICT sector has the unique potential to enable other industrial sectors to move towards a low-carbon economy – a move that is central to meeting Sustainable Development Goal 13, which focuses on combatting climate change and its impacts. We also know that without digitalization, we can't manage to create the circular economy we need to tackle other challenges like waste and pollution. ICT solutions such as sensors, AI and machine learning can for example support in nature conservation efforts, like improving survival rates of mangrove saplings by giving the right environmental parameters, spotting animal species in habitats and maybe even detecting illegal loggers.
At Stockholm +50, we’ll be working with our partners to make sure that other companies and policy makers join us in the work for broader adoption of solutions to enable exponential reduction of carbon emissions globally.
One way we are planning to do this is by being the host for the sixth Exponential Climate Action Summit, driven by We Don’t Have Time - the world’s largest social network for climate action and Exponential Roadmap initiative. Our 5th summit this Earth Day, had over 8.5 million viewers on Twitter, and we hope we will get as many active listeners this time as we feature important conversations with innovators, disruptors and transformers. We know the solutions are out there, we just need to scale them now by taking action.
Ericsson takes its 2040 Net Zero ambition seriously—with a first milestone of achieving Net Zero emissions from our own activities – as well as reducing emissions by 50% in our portfolio and supply chain – by 2030.
Stockholm +50: Five things you need to know
- What is Stockholm +50?Stockholm +50 is an international environmental meeting hosted by the United Nations General Assembly to be held in Stockholm, Sweden from 2-3 June 2022
- What does Stockholm +50 mean?The first United Nations Conference on the Environment was held in Stockholm in 1972. Now it’s fifty years later, and we’re back in Stockholm.
- Why is the event important?While many milestones have been reached over these past 50 years, there is still much to be achieved. The latest IPCC report reaffirmed the urgent need for global action on climate change now. Emissions are higher than ever, but the rate of increase is slowing — the world has one last chance to realize the 1.5°C ambition.
- What will happen at Stockholm +50?Representatives from around the world gather in Stockholm to discuss how to achieve a sustainable and inclusive future for all. The only way to save our planet and ourselves from climate catastrophe is to look back while also looking forward together.
- What is Ericsson doing?Ericsson will be working with our partners to make sure that other companies and policy makers join us in the work for broader adoption of solutions to enable exponential reduction of carbon emissions globally. One activation will be being the host for the sixth Exponential Climate Action Summit, driven by We Don’t Have Time - the world’s largest social network for climate action and Exponential Roadmap initiative.
Read more about Ericsson’s work with sustainability and corporate responsibilityRead more on how Digitalization with 5G enables further acceleration of climate action
Read our blog post, The Great Reset: the power of collaboration.