Speed up deal on climate, Uhuru says at Stockholm+50

President Uhuru Kenyatta Stockholm+50 Sweden

President Uhuru Kenyatta makes his remarks during the opening of the international environment meeting dubbed ‘Stockholm+50’ which he co-chaired with Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson in Stockholm, Sweden.
 

Photo credit: PSCU

Stockholm, Sweden

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has challenged nations to speed up a climate deal in his address to delegates in Stockholm, Sweden.

President Kenyatta arrived in Stockholm on Thursday to co-chair the two-day “Stockholm+50” meeting alongside Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson. The meeting also commemorates the 50th anniversary of the United Nations’ Conference on the Human Environment.

He called for a dramatic “pace and quality of our actions” as the world consolidates efforts to solve global environmental issues.

“By the time we head to Cop27 (the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference to be held in Egypt later this year) we should aim to have developed a comprehensive, holistic and transformative package of environmental actions,” he said.

“One that pulls together the outcomes of COP26, UNEA 5.2 (Fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly), Stockholm+50 where we are today, and the upcoming UN ocean conference in Lisbon.”

Green transition

For her part, PM Andersson said: “We must ensure that no country is left behind in the green transition; we must ensure that no person is left behind. The transition can only be done if it’s made in a social and inclusive way, this is our moral obligation.”

Ms Inger Anderson, the executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme (Unep) agreed with Mr Kenyatta.

“Further inaction is inexcusable. We know now more than ever the consequences of marching blithely down the carbon-intensive development path. But we also know what we must do. Let us unleash a paradigm shift for the benefit of future generations,” said the Unep director.

The theme of this year’s meeting is “A healthy planet for the prosperity of all – our responsibility, our opportunity”.

In 1972, some 113 countries adopted what is known as the Stockholm Declaration and Action Plan for the Human Environment that placed environmental issues at the forefront of international concerns.

Opportunity to reflect

“Stockholm+50 marks a milestone in our collective journey toward a healthy planet. It offers the opportunity to reflect on, celebrate and build upon 50 years of environmental action,” the UN explains.

A triple planetary crisis consisting of three interlinked issues is threatening human and environmental health: climate change, nature and biodiversity loss, and pollution and waste.

The climate crisis is causing more frequent extreme weather events such as droughts, which worsen food and water scarcity according to UN researchers.

Track record poor

“Research shows that to stave off a climate catastrophe, the world must have annual greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 to reach net-zero by 2050, human activities have modified 77 percent of land (excluding Antarctica) and 87 percent of the ocean,” the researchers say. They also say 11 million metric tonnes of plastic waste enters the oceans every year “despite the fact that at the same time we produce 50 million tonnes of e-waste”.

In a new report, experts say the track record on delivering on the ambitions of half a century ago remains poor.

“Looking back at the past 50 years, the world has changed in many ways – but not in the direction called for in June 1972,” they say.

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