Stockholm +50 opening address by Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson
Stockholm, 2 June 2022. Check against delivery.
Your Royal Highness, Secretary General,
Fellow heads of State and Government, Excellencies,
Distinguished representatives of the youth, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to Sweden and to Stockholm+50.
I am proud that Sweden and Kenya are the co-hosts of this meeting convened by the United Nations.
We are here to deliver on the promises made to the world’s population and future generations.
We are at a crucial crossroad.
Heat waves, water scarcity, droughts, storms, floods, wildfires,
melting glaciers, rising sea levels, warming oceans
– soon containing more plastic than fish.
We are hurting our planet.
The crisis for our environment and climate affects people all around the world.
The developed countries are the ones who pollute and have polluted the most. But the poorest are hit the hardest.
We must ensure that no country is left behind. And we must ensure that no person is left behind. The climate transition can only be done if it’s made in a social and inclusive way.
This is not just an option. This is our moral obligation.
* * *
So, what needs to be done?
First of all, we must all live up to our commitments.
We must start delivering on the declarations we have signed, and the pledges we have made.
We have already talked the talk,
Now it’s time to walk the walk.
And as Greta Thunberg said;
“The moment we decide to fulfil something, we can do anything.”
* * *
We shall not ignore the current geopolitical state of the world,
including Russia’s brutal war against Ukraine.
But as leaders, we must never let one crisis overshadow another. We just have to work harder.
The war in Ukraine has also made it very clear: fossil fuel dependency is not only a climate risk, it’s a security risk.
It has to end now.
* * *
Our countries have put in place global, regional, and national frameworks to stop the climate and environmental crisis. The Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals are two examples.
We have made commitments to reduce emissions, halt biodiversity loss and stop ocean pollution.
But we are nowhere near achieving these goals. We are lagging behind. As UN Secretary-General António Guterres put it:
“...we need to do much more. And much faster.”
And the world demands it from us leaders.
Industry demands it, because if it is to get new technology and new solutions in place quickly enough it needs political leadership that sets out the direction, and provides the right conditions.
People demand it, because they see a risk of slipping behind or losing their jobs as demand for sustainable solutions, green energy, and new technologies increases.
The young demand it of us, and rightfully so. Civil society and not least the youth movement are a decisive force in the climate transition. We need you. But we – the political leaders of this generation – are the ones who must do what it takes.
* * *
In Sweden, we have chosen a long-term and determined approach to accelerate the green transition.
We have made policy changes to enable companies to make the transition. And we have also made investments to enable people to keep up: investments in education and training, and security in the midst of change.
Climate action is one of my government’s priorities in the years ahead.
We will speed up this process.
And hear me when I say: we won’t speed up the green transition to be kind – but to be smart.
* * *
Right now, we are witnessing the start of a green industrial revolution in Sweden. It creates thousands of jobs through investments in battery factories, green mining, and fossil-free steel production.
And what we are seeing in Sweden right now is that previously neglected areas are no longer struggling with unemployment or depopulation, but how to build housing, infrastructure, and schools quick enough to meet up with the expansion.
And yesterday, right outside these doors, the very first vehicle built using fossil-free steel was presented. This project is the result of a public- private partnership supported by the Swedish Government.
We see that it’s possible to combine reduced emissions with economic development.
Sweden’s message is plain and clear:
Going green is not only possible, it is the path to create growth, jobs and prosperity for all.
* * *
Fifty years have passed since the very first UN Conference on the Human Environment was held here in Stockholm. It went down in history. Climate and environment entered world politics.
The 1972 UN Stockholm Conference led to the birth of a global responsibility for the climate, the environment and sustainability.
It is my hope and expectation that Stockholm+50 will accelerate our actions.
No nation can tackle the climate and environmental crisis alone. But every nation must do its part.
Let’s make this meeting a success by going home, doing more - much faster.
I’m counting on you.
On your commitment, your leadership, and your support.
Let our work be guided by the words spoken at the 1972 Conference by the Prime Minister, Olof Palme,
“There is no individual future, neither for human beings, nor for nations.
Our future is common. We must share it together.
We must shape it together.”
It is my great pleasure to declare the meeting officially open. Thank you.