Stockholm Conference (1972) on the Human Environment

Stockholm Conference of 1972, also known as the United Nations (UN) Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm, Sweden, was the first ever platform to discuss Climate Change, after a detailed scientific study of global temperature based on the CO2 levels around the world, held in 1967.

The research study, which became the basis of the Stockholm Conference, was an actual estimate of the global temperature in accordance with the CO2 levels of the world. The study also revealed that doubling CO2 levels from the current status of 1967 would result in a global temperature rise of 2°C.

Stockholm Conference of 1972 is also known as the “Swedish Initiative” because it was put forward by Sweden. Conference was held from 5th June 1972 to 16th June 1972.

Stockholm Conference (1972) on the Human Environment
Stockholm Conference (1972) on the Human Environment

Aim of Stockholm Conference:

The aim of the Stockholm Conference was to establish a framework for Environment and Natural Resources involving the world governments, and it was participated by 122 countries under the theme “Only One Earth”.

About the Stockholm Conference:

The Stockholm Declaration has 122 countries out of which 70 countries were either developing or poor countries, and this declaration started the dialogue between these developing and developed countries.

26 Principles accounted for this declaration divided into three categories and further subdivided into 109 recommendations.
These three categories were,

  1. Global Environmental Assessment Programme.
  2. Environmental Management Activities.
  3. International measures to support assessment and management activities carried out at the national and international levels.

The countries in the declaration agreed that they will not harm each others’ environment, which means not crossing boundaries and jurisdiction of one for non-environment friendly actions.
The countries also agreed to protect natural resources, and limit/avoid toxic substance emissions.
Developed nations must help the developing nations to take environment-friendly steps.

Stockholm was important because it was the first ever international platform to talk about the global concern on climate change.
Governments after this conference established Environment Ministry in their cabinet, and further talks of environment conservation including various species and global warming came into talks.


Global Politics played a great challenge for Stockholm to work, as rich and developed nations dominated the conference and were accused of framing policies in their favour.

The repose came extremely loose, as the global temperature is set to rise by 3°C by 2100, breaking all the aims of Stockholm and also of the Paris Agreement.

Developing countries faced more challenges as they could not keep up with the sustainable development track with limited funds.

Way Forward:

Nations around the world need to focus on the scientific evidence of Climate Change and its consequences and act according to the plan framed in the conferences, conventions and agreements.

The developed/industrialised nations need to act quickly in cutting CO2 levels and at the same time help the developing nations in developing sustainably, as poor countries have their main concerns in eradicating poverty and not the climate.

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