Exactly a decade ago, during 5-16 June 1972, the United Nations convened an intergovernmental conference on the Human Environment at Stockholm, Sweden. It was the first of the UN mega-conferences that set the pattern for the 1970s, and was followed in rapid succession by several other similar major conferences on critical global issues. These were, in chronological order, on population (Bucharest, 1974), food (Rome, 1974), human settlements (Vancouver, 1976), water (Mar del Plata, 1977), desertification (Nairobi, 1977), science and technology (Vienna, 1979), and renewable energy (Nairobi, 1981). In order to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment, the General Assembly of the United Nations decreed that a Session of Special Character (SSC) of the Governing Council of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) should be held in 1982, in which all nations should participate. The Special Session was held in Nairobi during 10-18 May 1982, and was attended by several Heads of State, ministers and leading international figures. It was held to ‘rekindle the spirit of Stockholm, and by so doing strengthen the commitment of governments to the environment’.
By Margaret R. Biswas and Asit K. Biswas, 1982. Article published in Third World Quarterly, Volume 4, Number 3, pages 479-491. DOI: 10.1080/01436598208419644