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The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (also known as the Stockholm Conference) was an international conference convened under United Nations auspices held in Stockholm, Sweden from June 5-16, 1972. It was the UN's first major conference on international environmental issues, and marked a turning point in the development of international environmental politics.[1]

When the UN General Assembly decided to convene the Stockholm Conference, at the initiative of the Government of Sweden, UN Secretary-General U Thant invited Maurice Strong to lead it as Secretary-General of the Conference.

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.[1]

The meeting agreed upon a Declaration containing 26 principles concerning the environment and development; an Action Plan with 109 recommendations, and a Resolution.[1]

One of the key issues addressed was the use of CFCs (haloalkanes), which seemed to be responsible for the depletion of the ozone layer. Global warming was mentioned, but in this matter nothing of substance was achieved at this Conference.

Apart from increasing awareness of environmental issues among public and governments (for example, many governments subsequently created Ministries for the Environment and/or national agencies for environmental monitoring and regulation), the Stockholm Conference laid framework for future environmental cooperation; led to the creation of global and regional environmental monitoring networks and the creation of the United Nations Environment Programme.[1]

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 would later become 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.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d John Baylis, Steve Smith. 2005. The Globalization of World Politics (3rd ed). Oxford. Oxford University Press. P.454-455
  • John McCormick, The Global Environmental Movement (London: John Wiley, 1995)

External links



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