As humanity has approached a make-or-break moment for the climate and nature, world leaders gather in Stockholm on 2-3 June to decide on the path forward for a greener future for all. In the lead-up to this Stockholm+50 meeting, we amplify the voice of youth in an article series of four episodes. Here is the introduction.
In June, 50 years have passed since the United Nations installed its Environment Program (UNEP) at its historic meeting in Stockholm. As such, Stockholm+50 has been described as marking the beginning of a new epoch in global cooperation around environmental issues.
Little did the world leaders know back then that the environmental degradation fifty years later would develop into a massive ecological crisis facing several planetary tipping points. Against the backdrop of the rising scientific alarms on the climate crisis, the loss of nature, increasing waste mountains, and the disproportionate effects of the crises we already experience today, much is at stake. Clearly, we are in an ever-increasing need of more international cooperation on environment and climate issues.
Expectations are high as global leaders head for the Stockholm+50 meeting on 2-3 June to discuss the broad theme of “how to achieve a sustainable and inclusive future for all” and how to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Will they be able to accelerate the implementation of commitments such as the Paris Accord from 2015? And will they be able to pave the way for ambitious revisions of international agreements, such as the Convention on Biological Diversity?
During the past few years, we have seen the birth of several youth movements and organizations, with ReGeneration 2030 being one of them. Irrespective of mission statements and means, these movements are united in the view that the global existential threats call for a much-needed turning point in decision-making. The ReGeneration 2030 Declaration eloquently sums up the united vision as follows:
“In a sustainable society, we are all able to live without existential fears. We wish to live flourishing lives, within the planetary boundaries.”
Visions always need translation into practice in every single decision-making moment. Yet, we all know that visions are not enough since outcomes from meetings like Stockholm+50 often end up in nice words and commitments that power-holders in the end swipe under the rug.
So what are the key demands of the Stockholm+50 meeting from youth worldwide and in our region? Do they think it will be possible to achieve the radical changes needed to solve the ecological crisis? We have met three Nordic youth activists engaged in three different levels of this movement, Jonas Kittelsen from Norway, Maija Kuivalainen from Finland, and Björn Fondén from Sweden. In the up run to Stockholm+50, we will showcase their stories and demands in our Stockholm+50 article series on the following dates:
Jonas, Björn, and Maija are all united in one message: We can’t wait for the leaders of the current system to change it under their own feet: it is time for us youth to take matters into our own hands. This mission lies at the very heart of our movement.
That is why we organize the ReGeneration Week, the high-level youth event in the Nordic and Baltic Sea Region, which recently launched its registration. Sign up today to secure your place and connect with current and future change-makers in the Region.