The Folkets Hus building (center) in Stockholm, Sweden.
The Folkets Hus building (center) in Stockholm, Sweden, which hosted the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, 16 May 1972. UN Photo/Yutaka Nagata

United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, 5-16 June 1972, Stockholm


The first world conference on the environment

The 1972 United Nations Conference on the Environment in Stockholm was the first world conference to make the environment a major issue. The participants adopted a series of principles for sound management of the environment including the Stockholm Declaration and Action Plan for the Human Environment and several resolutions.

The Stockholm Declaration, which contained 26 principles, placed environmental issues at the forefront of international concerns and marked the start of a dialogue between industrialized and developing countries on the link between economic growth, the pollution of the air, water, and oceans and the well-being of people around the world. 

The Action Plan contained three main categories: a) Global Environmental Assessment Programme (watch plan); b) Environmental management activities; (c) International measures to support assessment and management activities carried out at the national and international levels. In addition, these categories were broken down into 109 recommendations.

One of the major results of the Stockholm conference was the creation of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).