HM The King's speech at the UN-conference Stockholm +50
(The spoken version shall take precedence)
Your Royal Highness,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to Sweden and Stockholm!
Fifty years ago, on June fifth in 1972, the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment opened here in Stockholm, on invitation of the Swedish government.
I was a young Crown Prince back then, and I attended the opening ceremony at the Royal Opera house together with my grandfather, King Gustaf Adolf.
Today, I am a grandfather myself. And I am very pleased to be here, at Stockholm +50, with my daughter, Crown Princess Victoria!
The Stockholm Conference of 1972 was a historic event:
At the time, the human environment, as a concept, was almost non-existing. At least in the public mind. Water and air were considered as “free rights”. Thick smoke from high chimneys signaled progress and wealth – as did foam on rivers and waterways.
Some voices of warning and concern were raised, but they did not have sufficient impact. The UN-Conference in Stockholm changed that.
The Conference identified problems, possible solutions and suggestions for action. A declaration with 26 important principles was adopted, declaring, for example, that winds and waters respect no borders, and that a healthy environment is a human right. It also led to the creation of UNEP, the United Nations Environment Program. Most importantly, it placed the issue of our environment firmly on the public agenda.
Fifty years and several environment conferences have passed since that historic meeting in Stockholm in 1972.
We have come a long way since then. But let me be clear: we do not have fifty more years to turn the development around.
HM The King
For me, personally, the Conference was a starting point for a life long commitment to issues relating to the environment and nature conservation. An interest that I am pleased to share with my daughter, the Crown Princess, Advocate Emerita of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Ladies and gentlemen: Fifty years and several environment conferences have passed since that historic meeting in Stockholm in 1972.
We have come a long way since then. But let me be clear: we do not have fifty more years to turn the development around. On the contrary – time is scarce. According to the IPCC, if we want to limit global warming, the next few years are critical.
Ladies and gentlemen:
You have the knowledge.
You have the tools.
Now is the time to use them.
I wish you the best of luck with this conference – and I urge you to make the most of it.