“Man has the fundamental right to freedom, equality and adequate conditions of life, in an environment of a quality that permits a life of dignity and well being.”
Every country wants to grow and develop more and more. Almost all the countries of the world desire to become supreme power. To achieve this ambition, countries are putting all their efforts for development of their own. The main focus is laid on the industrial development and besides that, there are many other ways that are followed by the countries for the growth and development of their nations. But in this process of growth and development, the nations are avoiding its impact on the environment. No doubt, development is important for every nation, but that does not mean that environment can be neglected.
Not only the development, but there are many other reasons that lead to the degradation of our environment. So, understanding the relationship between healthy environment and the economic condition of people, a lot of efforts have always been undertaken by the nations nationally and internationally. These efforts were not initiated a long time back, but in 1972 when an International conference was convened for alarming and raising awareness to protect and improve the environment.
The conference known as the Stockholm conference put the environmental issue on international agenda for the first time. After this conference, the environment started getting importance and getting consideration as a major concern or a stakeholder while taking all the major and minor decisions for the nation.
WHAT IS STOCKHOLM CONFERENCE?
United Nations conference on human environment, popularly known as Stockholm conference was an international meeting under United Nations convened in 1972 to laid down the groundwork for progress in environment and development. The conference was held from June 5 to June 16 in 1972 with participation of 114 countries. It is known as Stockholm Conference as this conference took place in Stockholm of Sweden.
Convened as the catalyst for several environmental initiatives, this was United Nation’s 1st major conference on International Environmental Issues providing a holistic approach for protection and improvement of environment for the first time.
The motto of the conference was “Only one Earth” and its objective was to inspire and guide the people of world for the preservation and enhancement of human environment.
The conference was concluded with Stockholm declaration consisting of 26 principles concerning the environment and development and a detailed resolution on Institutional and financial arrangements along with the creation of the United Nations Environment Program [UNEP].
The day of initiation of this conference i.e., 5th June was declared as World Environment Day to raise global awareness and take positive environmental action to protect nature and earth. This day is celebrated every year with a new host country and a new theme. Last year, it was hoisted by Colombia with the theme of ‘Time for Nature’.
The conference was convened on the initiative of Sweden Government. In 1968, the Swedish Government sent a proposal to the United Nations stating the emergency of addressing the degradation of World environment at that time. Sweden suggested to UN Economic and Social Council ECOSOC, the idea of having UN conference to focus on human interactions with environment.
Swedish Government took this initiative after observing the degradation of World Environment at that time due to the ongoing cold war, and the industrial or economic development undertaken by many western countries. There was risk of nuclear radiation along with the rise in pollution and burden on environment that led to the initiation of this first international conference for environment protection.
ECOSOC passed the resolution of Swedish government supporting their idea. Hence, UN General Assembly decided to convene an international conference and proposed to Sweden for its hoisting.
UN secretary general U Thant invited Maurice Strong to lead the conference as its Secretary General because of the Canadian Diplomat [under Pierre Trudacu] who had initiated and already worked for over two years on the project.
UNITED NATIONS ENVIRONMENT PROGRAMME [UNEP]
UNEP is an Institutional Organization that coordinates UN environmental activities assisting the developing countries in implementing environmentally sound policies and programmes.
UNEP was created to coordinate global efforts to promote sustainability and safeguard the natural environment. It plays an important role in convening and organizing meetings to negotiate global environmental treaties.
Stockholm declaration is the document consisting of 26 principles that were agreed upon in the conference concerning the environment and development.
The declaration was divided into two parts with the objective of passing our mother earth to coming generation in clean and healthy conditions. The first part was consisted of seven truths about man in relation to the environment and it contained general observations. And the second part was consisted of 26 principles providing basis of an international policy for protection & improvement of environment.
Also known as Magna Carta on Human Environment, 26 principles of the declaration put their emphasis on both environment and protection.
ENVIRONMENTAL ACTION PLAN
The Conference produced a ‘Framework for Environmental Action’ in the form of a resolution consisting of 109 specific recommendations. The resolution was covering the overall aspects with special emphasis on human settlements, natural resource management, pollution, educational and social aspects of environment, development and international organizations.
CHAMPION OF EARTH AWARD
It is the UN’s highest Environmental Honor that is presented every year to outstanding leaders from Government, Civil Society and Private Sector whose actions have had a positive impact on the environment and who make great contributions for the protection and improvement of the environment.
Stockholm Conference laid down the foundation of modern environmentalism. This was the initiation of the efforts undertaken to protect and improve the environment. The Conference marked a turning point in the development of international environmental politics. On the lines of this Conference, many more initiatives were undertaken like Earth Summit (1992), Montreal Protocol, Kyoto Protocol, etc. Brundtland Commission provided the concept of Sustainable Development defining it as the development of present that do not compromise with the growth and needs of future generation. It is essential for every nation to understand the relationship between healthy environment and economic conditions of the people.