Stockholm+50

  • The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment is convened

    The United Nations Conference on the Human Environment is convened
    Held in Stockholm, Sweden, this landmark conference places the environment on the global agenda and leads to the formation of UNEP. It culminates in the adoption of the Stockholm declaration and Action Plan for the Human Environment, which starts a dialogue between industrialized and developing countries on the links between the environment, economic growth and human well-being. Photo Credit: UN Photo/Yutaka Nagat
  • UNEP opens first headquarters

    UNEP opens first headquarters
    In October, Kenyan President Jomo Kenyatta inaugurates UNEP’s headquarters in Nairobi. The organisation is mandated to monitor the state of the environment, inform policymaking with science and to coordinate global responses to environmental challenges. UNEP’s establishment marked the first time an international organization was based in the Global South.
  • States adopt the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora

    States adopt the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora
    A cornerstone of international conservation efforts, the accord would come to regulate, and in some cases ban, the trade of more than 38,000 animals and plants, including some of the planet’s most endangered species. Close to 1 million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction fueled by the US$ 23 billion illegal wildlife trade. To date, no CITES-listed species has gone extinct.
  • World Environment Day makes its debut

    World Environment Day makes its debut
    On 5 June, the world celebrates the first World Environment Day under the theme of “Only One Earth.” The event raises awareness about the fragility of the planet and showcases how environmental degradation is undermining prosperity. Since then, World Environment Day has been celebrated annually, galvanizing action to protect the Earth and underscoring the connection between human and planetary health. Photo Credit: UNEP
  • Regional Seas Programme established

    Regional Seas Programme established
    The programme brings neighbouring countries together to reduce ocean pollution and protect marine life. Over 143 states participate in the programme and its related conventions which cover 18 regions, from the Mediterranean to the Caribbean to the South-East Pacific. In many places, the programme has helped arrest the decline of the oceans. Photo: UN Photo/Michos Tzovaras
  • States adopt Convention on Migratory Species

    States adopt Convention on Migratory Species
    Also known as the Bonn Convention, the accord would come to protect more than 600 migratory creatures, including bats, gorillas, great white sharks, monarch butterflies and waterbirds. Many of those species help provide food and income opportunities through tourism to local and Indigenous communities. UN Photo/Miguel Gonzalez
  • States sign Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution

    States sign Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution
    Launched amid a public outcry over acid rain and its health implications, the treaty helped dramatically reduce the amount of noxious chemicals, including sulphur and nitrogen oxide, hanging over cities. The convention prevents 600,000 premature deaths annually in Europe, and led to cleaner air, healthier forests and more productive soils in North America. Photo credit: UNEP
  • UNEP launches the Montevideo Programme

    UNEP launches the Montevideo Programme
    Adopted by UNEP’s Governing Council, the programme would set priorities for global environmental law-making and lead to major agreements, including the Basel, Stockholm and Rotterdam conventions, and the Montreal Protocol.
  • World adopts the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer

    World adopts the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer
    The landmark multilateral environmental agreement phases out nearly 100 chemicals that deplete the ozone layer, in which a continent-sized hole had been brewing. The ozone, which shields the Earth from harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun, is now expected to heal by the 2060s. Every year, the protocol helps protect 2 million people from skin cancer. Photo credit: UNEP
  • Our Common Future is published

    The landmark publication, also known as the Bruntland Report, defines sustainable development as "Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." The report brought together environment and development as crucially interconnected issues.
  • Launch of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

    Launch of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
    Launched by UNEP and the World Meteorological Organization, the IPCC provides governments with scientific research to guide policy-making. Its latest report, a “code red for humanity”, found that global warming is affecting every region and that in some places, climate change has become irreversible. IPCC’s reports have cast a spotlight on the climate crisis and led to the creation of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in 1990. Photo Credit: IPCC
  • States adopt Basel Convention

    States adopt Basel Convention
    Signed by 183 states, the treaty places strict rules on the movement and disposal of hazardous waste. It would help prevent the jettisoning of dangerous chemicals in the developing world, including in Africa which had seen an epidemic of toxic dumping. The convention’s Plastic Waste Partnership and Small Grants Programme is supporting some 50 developing countries to strengthen their capacities to manage plastic waste.
  • Global Environment Facility Launches

    Global Environment Facility Launches
    Unveiled on the eve of the Rio Earth Summit, the facility is designed to tackle the planet’s most pressing environmental problems. Since then, it has provided more than $21.7 billion in grants and mobilized an additional $119 billion in co-financing for more than 5,000 projects and programmes. Many of those have emphasized the link between a healthy environment and human prosperity.
  • UN holds Earth Summit

    UN holds Earth Summit
    The UN Conference on Environment and Development, also known as the Earth Summit, takes place in Rio de Janeiro on the 20th anniversary of the 1972 Stockholm conference. About 175 countries adopt the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development and launch Agenda 21, a plan to achieve sustainable development in the 21st century. Photo credit: We Canada
  • Leaders sign Convention for Biological Diversity

    Leaders sign Convention for Biological Diversity
    The convention governs the conservation of biological diversity, sustainable use of its components and equitable sharing of benefits from the use of genetic resources.
    Since 2010, protected areas covering 21 million km2 have been created to safeguard biodiversity and ecosystems. In 2022, a post-2020 framework for biodiversity will be released which highlights the link between biodiversity, human and planetary health. Photo: UNEP
  • UNEP releases first Global Environment Outlook

    UNEP releases first Global Environment Outlook
    The Global Environment Outlook presents a clear assessment of the state of the environment and outlines the biggest challenges facing the planet. Photo Credit: UN Photo/Evan Schneider
  • States adopt Rotterdam Convention

    States adopt Rotterdam Convention
    The convention would help developing countries make informed decisions about whether to import a range of pesticides and industrial chemicals, preventing them from unwittingly accepting potentially dangerous pollutants. Photo credit: pic.int
  • States adopt Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants

    States adopt Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants
    The treaty protects human health and the environment from dangerous chemicals by restricting and eliminating their production, trade and use.When established,the convention identified 12 chemicals as persistent organic pollutants, with more expected to follow.The convention’s POPs Review Committee has since listed another 18. Photo: UN Photo/Mark Garten
  • States adopt Carpathian Convention

    States adopt Carpathian Convention
    This treaty helps to protect the Carpathian Mountains, a region home to some of Europe’s oldest forests and more than half of the continent’s bears and wolves. The convention has spawned efforts across the mountain range to protect biodiversity and support communities that depend on the peaks for their livelihoods. Photo: UNEP
  • Climate panel wins a Nobel Prize

    Climate panel wins a Nobel Prize
    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for charting the effects of anthropogenic climate change and laying the foundation for global action to limit greenhouse gas emissions. Through the scientific reports it has issued over the past several decades, the IPCC has laid bare the potentially devastating effects of climate change on the planet and on humanity. Photo credit: IPCC
  • UN-REDD is launched

    UN-REDD is launched
    This multi-agency partnership supports 65 countries in reducing forest-related emissions, enhancing forest carbon stocks and strengthening indigenous rights. Its work has cast a spotlight on the devastating effects of deforestation on human health and development. It also championed the Green Gigaton Challenge, an ambitious public-private partnership to catalyse funding to deliver 1 gigaton of emissions reductions by 2025 and annually after that.
  • States establish the Inter-governmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services

    States establish the Inter-governmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
    The independent body provides policymakers with credible information on biodiversity and its impact on development and economies. In a landmark 2019 report, it found that 1 million species are threatened with extinction.
  • World leaders sign the Paris Agreement

    World leaders sign the Paris Agreement
    The 21st Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP 21, leads to a landmark climate agreement. At the meeting in Paris, France, 196 parties commit to a legally-binding treaty to limit global warming to well below 2, preferably to 1.5 degrees Celsius, compared to pre-industrial levels. Photo: UN Climate Change
  • States adopt the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals

    States adopt the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals
    Humanity’s blueprint for a better future, the 17 goals are part of a new global agenda on sustainable development. Several focus specifically on environmental issues, but it is evident that the environmental dimension is critical to the achievement of the SDGs. Photo credit: UN
  • World commits to a pollution free planet

    World commits to a pollution free planet
    At the third session of the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, the world committed to a pollution free planet to improve the lives of billions across the globe by cleaning our land, air and water. Photo: UNEP/Igor Riabchuk
  • Secretary-General makes State of the Planet address

    Secretary-General makes State of the Planet address
    António Guterres delivers a landmark speech urging nations to dramatically scale up ambition on the environment. He says that “making peace with nature is the defining task of the 21st century.” Photo credit: UN
  • The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration is launched

    The UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration is launched
    World Environment Day 2021 marks the start of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, which aims to mobilize hundreds of millions of people to prevent and reverse the degradation of ecosystems. Between now and 2030, the restoration of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems damaged by development could create US$9 trillion in value for human societies.
  • The UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development begins

    The UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development begins
    It provides a common framework to ensure that science can support countries’ actions to sustainably manage the oceans and to achieve the 2030 Agenda. Goods and services from the ocean generate US$2.5 trillion each year and contribute over 31 million direct full-time jobs. Photo credit: The Ocean Decade
  • The production of leaded fuel ends

    The production of leaded fuel ends
    2021 marks the end of leaded petrol worldwide, following an almost two-decade campaign by the UNEP-led global Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles. Leaded petrol causes heart disease, stroke and cancer. Banning leaded petrol could  to prevent more than 1.2 million premature deaths per year. Photo credit: UNEP
  • UN Human Rights Council enshrines environmental rights

    UN Human Rights Council enshrines environmental rights
    50 years after first being enshrined as a Principle in the 1972 Declaration, the UN Human Rights Council adopts a resolution recognizing the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. Photo credit: UNICEF/Josue Mulala
  • Landmark agreement to curb plastic pollution

    Landmark agreement to curb plastic pollution
    At the fifth session of the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, a historic resolution is endorsed to end plastic pollution and forge an international legally binding agreement by 2024. The resolution addresses the full lifecycle of plastic, Every year, an estimated 11 billion tonnes of plastic enters the world’s oceans, sickening marine life and often ending up in the human food chain.
  • World commemorates 50th anniversary of the UN Conference on the Human Environment

    World commemorates 50th anniversary of the UN Conference on the Human Environment
    Fifty years following the 1972 conference; government representatives, international organizations, business leaders, activists, young people, civil society and other stakeholders gather in Stockholm - and participate virtually from across the globe - in an international environmental meeting. The meeting reflects upon 50 years of global environmental action and acts as a springboard to accelerate the implementation of the UN Decade of Action.