Speech by Ms. Louise Chamberlain Launch of Stockholm +50 National Consultations

April 18, 2022

Excellency, Ms. Dinara Kutmanova, Minister of Natural Resources, Ecology and Technical Supervision,

Excellencies Ambassadors, UN Resident Coordinator, fellow UN colleagues,

Distinguished Officials, Experts, Ladies and Gentlemen:

Good morning!

I have the honour to greet you from the beautiful city of Osh this morning, and I am delighted to welcome you on behalf of the United Nations Development Programme to the launch of the Stockholm +50 National Consultations titled “a healthy planet for the prosperity of all – our responsibility, our opportunity”. UNDP, working closely with other UN entities in the UN system, has been asked to organize and facilitate these national consultations in close partnership with country processes and institutions, and we are doing so in some 170 countries across the globe right now. So I am particularly happy to join Minister Kutmanova in the launch this morning, for what is truly a national agenda, part of a global movement.

Today we are launching a national platform for gathering the views and inputs of Kyrgyzstanis who want to have their direct say in the world’s direction for  broader work on Nature, Climate, Energy. Your substantive contributions in this dialogue will help to set the tone and direction for the Stockholm+50 Conference taking place in conjunction with World Environment Day in early June.

The first UN Stockholm Conference in 1972 stressed the interconnectedness between humans and nature.  Fast forward by 50 years, this interdependence between human life and the impact on our planet has become a fully global issue, and requires a comprehensive and concerted shift in our production and consumption patterns, if us humans are to survive and thrive together.

We have entered a new age—the Anthropocene—in which humans are a dominant force shaping the future of the planet. The COVID-19 and its unprecedented, devastating effects on human development is one example of the type of challenges we are likely to face during this era, unless humans transform the way we interact with the planet and in particular, we reduce our footprint on the environment, on our consumption of natural resources, and thereby how we affect the climate.

The main message of this global meeting is that we are reaching a tipping point, where the triple crisis of climate disruption, biodiversity loss and pollution are destroying our planet. The choices we make, or fail to make today, could result in further breakdown or – with our efforts – a breakthrough, towards a greener, better, safer future! And while it while it may appear that we are stuck in our systems, we can make a change, and change is possible.

Based on a proposal by Kyrgyzstan, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming 2022 the International Year of Sustainable Mountain Development. The resolution acknowledges that, despite the progress made in promoting the sustainable development of mountain regions and the conservation of mountain ecosystems, including their biodiversity, the prevalence of poverty, food insecurity, social exclusion, environmental degradation and exposure to the risk of disasters is still increasing. Therefore it remains important to increase awareness of the importance of sustainable mountain development and the conservation and sustainable use of mountain ecosystems. And of course, to better understand and mitigate the impact of climate change on mountainous populations. 

Climate change, extreme weather events and disasters exert enormous pressure on people all over the world and its impacts are greatest on the poor and for developing countries. Therefore, climate action must therefore be our central development agenda. It is an integrated and crosscutting agenda that requires broad based partnership between all of us – people, civil society, private sector and the governments.

With these consultations, we want to ensure that the Stockholm+50 conference in June will bring concrete inputs that would benefit Kyrgyzstan, its ecosystem and people the most, and this is the aim of the series of National Consultations that we are opening today. The consultations are designed to facilitate open conversation and idea exchange among stakeholders. During the upcoming month UNDP will organize a series of consultations at the national and sub national levels and guide this collaborative work.

Let me end with a couple of words for our young people, and I hope that especially our young girls and boys will hear me now. Dear Youth, no matter how it seems to you today, this country, and this planet, is yours. Your future and the survival of your children’s children depends on the decision we make today. While we all exist here as a gift of our ancestors, it is time that your generation consider your legacy. Frankly – my generation has not done enough to save the planet. But we are all the ancestors of children in the future. We must leave them a planet that is livable and where humanity can continue to thrive. So, I hope you will speak up, and let your vision, and your views, be heard in these consultations.

We are looking forward to working together with all of you, and take action for people, planet and prosperity.

Thank you! Chong Rahmat, Spasiba, Tack!