Stockholm+40 – Sustainable Solutions on the Agenda

20/04/2012 / Kaj

On 23-25 April 2012 Sweden’s Ministry of Environment and Ministry for Foreign Affairs opens an international conference, Stockholm+40 – Partnership Forum for Sustainable Development. The discussions, which will attract a number of the world’s leading political figures, mark the 30th anniversary of the first UN Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm in 1972.

But will the conference deliver any meaningful messages ahead of the Rio Earth Summit in June? 

Summits in CopenhagenDurban and other world cities have been tasked with discussing national governments’ ambitions to find global agreements on sustainable development, Millennium Development Goals and climate change. Despite this, the climate deal is still up in the air and in my view there are no clear signs of a breakthrough. Instead, I see passive national governments that are not engaged enough to bring us closer to any solid agreements.

But at the same time, we’ve seen more cities working together with businesses and their stakeholders to act positively and deliver solutions on sustainable development. It is these initiatives that have been most successful in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and finding ways to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels.

It seems fitting that the conference is being hosted by Sweden, a country that has benefited from such programs. The Swedish now use more bio energy than fossil fuel so perhaps when discussions start on Monday, the participants will be inspired by the sort of Swedish initiatives highlighted in the new edition of Sustainable Solutions magazine. It highlights some of the country’s most innovative solutions that have been successful because they embrace local perspectives and involve all stakeholders.

The real question therefore, is whether the Swedish Government will take the lead ahead of the Summit and bring these powerful local solutions from its cities to the negotiating table in Rio? That question will be answered by Wednesday when the Stockholm+40 conference draws to a conclusion.

Kaj Embren

PS Click here to participate in the Rio+ LinkIn group


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  1. There are many good ideas either in the area of technology but that is not enough. While individuals are often motivated and bring in changes in their lives and communities, the issue of climate change needs action in the public domain and some countries/leaders need to take charge. Since it is perceived as an intractable issue, most leader, with half their attention on elections back home are slow to lead. We as citizens need to push them in that direction as well.

  2. As the End of Growth starts and its collapse looms into the paradigm of those that for 50 years have neglected to do anything about it; all one can do is to start preparing yourself. Nothing can stop it. But we will sure waste a bunch of time discussing it.

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