At Stockholm+50, the UN officially recognizes the need to phase out fossil fuels

A look back on the successful mobilization of the Treaty initiative and its partners during the Stockholm+50 conference.
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Dear all,
Months of momentum building with partners has resulted in strong new language on fossil fuels: Stockholm+50 has just ended and as incredible as it may seem after 50 years of international climate governance, it is the first UN conference to clearly recommend the “phase out of all fossil fuels” and to recognise the urgent need for “financial and technical support to realize a just transition.”
The Treaty Initiative and its allies decided to focus on Stockholm+50 with a clear goal: secure a mention in the outcome document on the urgent need to stop fossil fuel production. After six months of tireless work with our partners and allies, our collective efforts have paid off. The conference was co-hosted by Sweden and Kenya, with the support of the UNEP secretariat, and mandated to issue a set of recommendations for climate action.
The recommendations from Stockholm+50 and in particular recommendation 3 – stipulating that we must “phase out of fossil fuels while providing targeted support to the poorest and most vulnerable in line with national circumstances and recognizing the need for financial and technical support towards a just transition” – are perfectly aligned with our own demands for a phase out of oil, gas and coal based on international cooperation mechanisms that allow for a just transition for all, especially the communities most impacted by the climate crisis and dependent on fossil fuels. Set alongside the higher profile that the UN Secretary-General has taken in recent months on fossil fuels and climate change, the Stockholm+50 outcome document provides a concrete platform to take forward this agenda in UN and international climate governance spaces. This will be a major priority for us between now and COP27.
Let’s look back at the Stockholm+50 mobilization.
*Alex Rafalowicz, Global Director of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative*

*Since March, we have been working collectively* on our partners’ interventions and submissions of the network to the participatory dialogues structuring the conference beforehand. Their voices – emanating from climate networks, indigenous and grassroots communities, peace movements, or feminist organizations – all converged towards a single demand: constrain fossil fuel production and enhance international cooperation on the just transition from fossil fuels. In April, we launched a global week of advocacy <> sending hundreds of personalized letters to Ministers and to the UN itself, always with the objective that our demand resonates in the offices of climate decision makers around the world.
*Once in Sweden,* our demands to end the fossil era were first heard at the Stockholm+50 People’s Forum <>where a panel of impressive speakers representing all regions of the globe reminded us how much our demands are ignored while fossils are killing and while solutions are already being experienced.

*The pressure went up a notch the following day since the Treaty network published new research* – co-produced with 18 partner organizations – on how coal, oil, and gas undermine every single sustainable development goal, thus responding directly to the Stockholm+50 priority: discuss how to achieve Sustainable Development Goals. This new report, Fuelling Failure <>, demonstrates that fossil fuels are not *only* a climate problem but a major threat to a healthy and thriving planet and was launched on June 1st <> .

*The same day marked the “Pre-Summit on the Global Just Transition from fossil fuels” <> *- an official associated event to Stockholm+50, hosted by the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Stanley Center and the Nordic Council. It gave way to a series of panels that illustrated the urgency of ending fossil fuel production, with Bob Loughman, Prime Minister of Vanuatu, opening the pre-summit.
Throughout the day we heard from leaders of Indigenous peoples like Nemonte Nenquimo and Anoshka Violeta Irey Cameno <>, Pacific Climate Warriors, youth movement leaders <>, global debt and tax justice campaigners the Swedish Trade Union Confederation, doctors sounding the alarm on air pollution, senior clergy, <> feminist leaders, peace activists, <> scientists, economists, Parliamentarians, <> parents worried for their children <>, all sharing why they were part of the same struggle – against the fossil fuel system – and all calling for a global plan to transform the energy system.

The Pre-Summit concluded on the words of another voice of Pacific resistance, that of Mary Gafaomalietoa Moeono-Kolio.

*Galvanized by the Pre-Summit, the feeling of belonging that was generated, as well as a new version of the including fossil fuels language, we went the next day to the official conference to bring this same message, this time within the UN space.* From the first day of the formal dialogues of the Stockholm+50 conference, we were heartened to see Vanuatu, Tuvalu, Sweden, Finland, and France, all make strong reference to the need to phase out our dependency on fossil fuels to address the triple crisis. The UN Secretary General <> was just as forceful on the podium in singling out the issue of fossil fuels, and particularly their financing, as a key target for action. Vanessa Nakate, a climate justice activist from Uganda, addressed our Pre-Summit <> event and carried many of our shared demands forward at Stockholm+50 with her unique and powerful voice.
*The second day of the conference was particularly strong *with the publication of a joint letter from more than 50 Right Livelihood Laureates <> – such as Greta Thunberg, Nnimmo Bassey, Siila Watt-Cloutier,Vandana Shiva, Herman Daly, David Suzuki and Amory Lovins – in Sweden’s largest newspaper outlining clear demands to the conference, including a call for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty. It was followed by a protest action inside the UN venue <>, led by youth activists from the Fridays for Future network. We disrupted the main hall and raised our voices to demand that the final outcome address coal, oil and gas production, as well as the need for a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty to turn the just transition into a reality. The protest attracted the attention of the General Secretary of UNEP in person, who came to discuss with the activists.

The Treaty banner then followed tens of thousands of young people who occupied the center of Stockholm <> to share their demands also in the public space.

*Back from the march, in the last session of the formal dialogues, more than 5 interventions on the floor of the UN called for the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty directly*, including Mitzi Jonelle Tan of Youth Advocates for Climate Action as well as Angelina Gabaitse of Parents For Future Botswana, two different generations both asking for climate justice.
*As the conference drew to a close, our last activity was to hold a press conference <> *to reiterate the centrality of addressing fossil fuel production to people on every continent.

The set of “Key recommendations for accelerating action towards a healthy planet for the prosperity of all <>“ adopted by the UN delegates, is still frighteningly insufficient. We will be watching to make sure the strong and more detailed language on ending fossil fuel expansion and enhancing international cooperation on the just transition are kept in the full final report. We will also increase our constant pressure so that governments and decision makers do not appropriate <> our work and our voices to cover empty words and promises.
Yet the Stockholm+50 outcome document is a significant step forward that is worth celebrating. It demonstrates how our movement is raising the bar of what climate action looks like and gives us strong arguments to return to governments at COP 27.
*As more of us stand together, we will build a world where everyone can live a life of dignity – and one without the weapons of mass destruction that are coal, oil, and gas.*

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