50 Years of Crisis: The Past, Present, and Future of Global Environmental Governance

In 1972, during the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment – better known as the Stockholm Conference – delegations from several countries met at a high level for the first time to address transboundary environmental challenges, such as pollution and natural resource scarcity. Stockholm was the kickoff for a series of negotiations that led to the consolidation of the principles, rules, and instruments that currently make up what is known as global environmental governance. In recognition of the importance of that historic moment, the United Nations General Assembly convened a new multilateral meeting to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Stockholm Conference and reflect on the advances and challenges verified along this trajectory.

This article seeks to briefly present the instruments and processes that make up global environmental governance and, based on the thought-provoking reflections presented during two webinars held by the BRICS Policy Center’s Socio-Environmental Platform, discuss the main challenges that hinder more effective and ambitious actions to solve the deep socio-environmental crisis we are currently experiencing.