“OnlyOneEarth” Initiative By UNEP

by | Jun 3, 2022 | Daily News, Environment, Environmental News

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As the entire world was facing large-scale air and water pollution, mass destruction and degradation of forests and biodiversity, increasing threat of nuclear radiation: the 1960s witnessed the arrival of widespread global concern about the ecological crisis. The global awareness about the environmental crisis intensified, resulting in a modern environmental movement. The movement was the initiative of a small nation in Scandinavia; it laid the foundation for global cooperation on ecological matters.

Initiative By Sweden

A newly developed plan reached the United Nations General Assembly on the 13th of December 1967. The program aimed to organize a conference to enable coordination and attract the interests of its member countries on the central issue related to biodiversity and the human environment. The Swedish delegation, led by Sweden’s UN Representatives Sverker Ästrom and Borje Billner, took the initiative to summon the first United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (UNCHE). The conference was held in the capital city of Sweden- Stockholm, in 1972. During the late 1960s, Sweden developed itself into a respected middle power, often challenging the Superpowers and their Cold War status quo. Sweden diplomats have attempted to use the United Nations system to shift the diplomatic focus away from the topic of the nuclear paradigm to the growing concern for global development and environmental conservation.

Only One Earth Initiative By Sweden


Two years later, on the 15th of December 1969, the UN Resolution 2581 declared that: The primary purpose of the conference should be to motivate and prepare regulations for governmental bodies and international organizations to preserve and improve the state of the human environment and to prevent further destruction of the environment through international cooperation. As the process for the conference became known and was accepted by the United Nations officials, the Swedish delegation led the introductory process to bring to attention the numerous ecological disasters to the highest level of global diplomacy.

The United Nations Conference on Human Environment began its first session at the Folkets Hus in Stockholm on the 5th of June 1972. The UNCHE established an incredible Declaration of Principles and came up with institutional arrangements for global cooperation in the protection of the environment. The most important result of the UNCHE was the creation of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP). The UNCHE had the most widespread interest and participation from countries. Sweden’s goal for an open conference setting broke the conventional United Nations format and led the way for numerous civil society actors to raise their concerns about the ecology. The opening up of dialogues about numerous ecological issues inevitably led to the most prominent UN conference in Rio de Janeiro at the 1992 Earth Summit.

The UNCHE marked a step in developing humanity’s relationship with the Earth and the international concern about ecology. The conference’s ultimate success was that the environmental policy became a global concern within international diplomacy. The conference’s motto ‘Only One Earth’ became a classical icon for the environmental movement in the modern world.

Only One Earth

Only One Earth is a motto that highlights the need to live a sustainable life in harmony with the environment by bringing transformational changes. This is possible through individual choices and governmental policies of striving toward a much healthier, greener, and cleaner lifestyle.

The Government of Sweden will host World Environment Day 2022 along with the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP). The first conference of the United Nations on the Human Environment held in 1972 in Stockholm adopted the motto ‘Only One Earth’. This year marks 50 years since the first conference, and up till now, the motto still holds true- the Earth is our only home, whose resources we must protect for a better tomorrow.


Only One Earth Initiative By UNEP

Source: UNEP

A ‘One Only Earth’ forum was conducted at the New York Academy of Medicine on the 15th and 16th of May in 1987. The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and Ciba-Geigy Corporation conducted the Forum proceedings. The World Commission on Environment and Development developed the agenda for the forum. The Only One Earth forum addressed the session. Work was conducted in five simultaneous workshops. Each workshop was reviewed and showed that each individual could make a difference in the world. The workshops also declared that NGOs have an essential role in the environmental crisis.

The five workshops are as follows:

  • Food, Land and Human Resources Development: Africa
  • Managing Hazardous Substances
  • Sustainable Agricultural Ecology
  • Human Settlements: Factors Affecting the Quality of Life
  • Managing Technology for Sustainable Development

The motto ‘Only One Earth’ has been selected as the central theme of World Environment Day on the 5th of June 2022. This motto 50 years later continues to be an inspirational and motivational factor for countries all around the world. As climate change intensifies, it is time that humans realize that there is no planet B- there’s Only One Earth.

Also Read: Global Warming: Breaking The 1.5°C Limit For The First Time


  • Dr. Emily Greenfield

    Dr. Emily Greenfield is a highly accomplished environmentalist with over 30 years of experience in writing, reviewing, and publishing content on various environmental topics. Hailing from the United States, she has dedicated her career to raising awareness about environmental issues and promoting sustainable practices.

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