Young people’s participation a key part of Stockholm+50

Published

On 31 May and 1 June, two major youth meetings with both Nordic and global representation were held in connection with Stockholm+50. During these meetings, the young people summarised and presented their views on Stockholm+50 to several environment and climate ministers.

The participation and inclusion of young people has been a priority issue for Sweden in the Stockholm+50 process. Young people have been included in both the planning and implementation of the international UN meeting, and Sweden is pushing to include young people’s perspectives in the meeting’s conclusions.

On 31 May and 1 June, the Youth Environmental Assembly was held in Stockholm – a meeting that gathered some 200 young people from all over the world to summarise young people’s views on Stockholm+50. It was organised by the Stockholm+50 Youth Task Force, consisting of 50 young people between the ages of 16 and 31 and which coordinated efforts to involve young people around the world ahead of the meeting. During the year, they conducted consultations and exchanged knowledge with thousands of young people to gather their perspectives on the themes of the Stockholm+50 meeting. The work of the Youth Environmental Assembly was concluded before the members of the Youth Task Force took part in the official UN meeting on 2–3 June.

Minister for Climate and the Environment Annika Strandhäll took part during the first day of the meeting and listened to the young people’s demands and views. Ms Strandhäll highlighted the young people’s ambitious goals and how important it is that we try to achieve them.

The second day of the meeting involved several youth-led seminars and group discussions. US Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment Keriako Tobiko and Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme Inger Andersen also took part in the meeting.

From global to Nordic perspective

Later that same afternoon, 12 Nordic youth delegates met the Nordic environment and climate ministers and the Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers to present and discuss the views of young people from a Nordic perspective. The meeting was co-organised with the National Council of Swedish Youth Organisations which, from the global as well as the Nordic consultations, prepared guidance questions and recommendations ahead of the meeting, with particular focus on the Nordic countries’ responsibilities.

Ms Strandhäll took part, together with State Secretary Anders Grönvall. At the start of the meeting, Ms Strandhäll emphasised the importance of young people’s engagement, and noted that they have influenced both the process and content of the Stockholm+50 meeting.

The Nordic youth delegates presented their recommendations, which were then discussed in smaller groups with the ministers. Some of the topics discussed were alternative ways of measuring welfare, climate justice, ecocide and the phasing out of fossil fuels. 

The meeting is part of a Nordic project that runs until the end of the year. The discussions from the meeting will be followed up in the project, including by means of a follow-up meeting between young people and Nordic environment and climate ministers.



Stockholm+50

On 2–3 June, Sweden and Kenya will co-host the UN high-level meeting Stockholm+50 in Stockholm. This year marks 50 years since the first UN conference on the human environment – the 1972 Stockholm Conference – was held, which was initiated by Olof Palme. The aim of Stockholm+50 is to commemorate the 50th anniversary as well as to help increase the pace of the transition towards a sustainable and green society, more jobs and an environment in balance for everyone, where no one is left behind.

Nordic cooperation ahead of and during Stockholm+50

On 3 November 2021, environment and climate ministers welcomed a proposal to organise a meeting between Nordic youth and Nordic ministers, at which the youth set the agenda. Ministers from Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Åland attended the meeting on 1 June, as did the Secretary General of the Nordic Council of Ministers. The basis of the meeting was the recommendations presented by young people in the Nordic and Baltic Youth Policy Paper for Stockholm+50.

In total, the Nordic environment and climate cooperation has granted SEK 2.2 million to support youth engagement ahead of and during the UN Environment Assembly UNEA 5.2 and Stockholm+50. The project will continue with a planned follow-up meeting between young people and environment and climate ministers at the initiative of Norway. The project also includes an evaluation in order to find future forms of involving young people in decision-making processes.