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50 years of the Stockholm Conference

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Environmental Conservation-related issues.


Source: DTE

 Context: “Stockholm+50: A healthy planet for the prosperity of all — our responsibility, our opportunity” was held in the year 2022 to mark the 50 years of the Stockholm Conference ( Report of United Nations Conference on the Human Environment).


About Stockholm Conference, 1972

  • This was the first global convergence on the planetary environment and natural resources.
  • Also termed the “Swedish Initiative”, the idea of the Stockholm Conference was first proposed by Sweden.
  • The theme was ‘Only One Earth’.
  • Stockholm Declaration: To build the “interconnections between development, poverty and the environment”.
  • Action Plan for the Human Environment
    • Global Environmental Assessment Programme (watch plan)
    • Environmental management activities
    • International measures to support assessment and management activities carried out at the national and international levels.


Three Dimensions of the Conference:

  • Countries agreed to not “harm each other’s environment or the areas beyond national jurisdiction”.
  • An action plan to study the threat to Earth’s environment.
  • Establishment of an international body called the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to bring cooperation among countries.



  • The Stockholm Conference of 1972 put environmental issues on the global agenda for the first time.
  • No country had an environment ministry until 1972.
    • Today, over 176 countries have environmental framework laws; 150 countries have enshrined environmental protection or the right to a healthy environment in their constitutions; and 164 countries have created cabinet-level bodies responsible for environmental protectio
  • After 1972, the environment started making headlines and public consciousness increased.
  • Many of today’s conventions on environmental crises trace their origin to the Stockholm Declaration.



  • An uncoordinated response from the nations: The world is on track to warm at least 3˚C above pre-industrial levels by 2100.
  • Poverty is the biggest hurdle in the way of adopting sustainable measures for a healthy environment, as poverty can’t be eradicated without the use of science and technology.

Please Note:
Stockholm Conference is different from Stockholm Convention
Stockholm Convention
: It is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from persistent organic pollutants (POPs).


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50 years since the Stockholm conference