Sustainability & SDGs

Decade of Action for People and the Planet

Humanity is on a mission to protect the planet and its inhabitants. In 2015, the United Nations (UN) published the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which set out a 15-year plan to achieve 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that were “a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere.” We are now in the Decade of Action to achieve the goals. This section of the EPL website highlights activities in this area, in support of the IOS Press commitment as a member of the SDG Publishers Compact.

Environmental Policy and Law, Sustainability Development Goals, EPL webpage

UN Conferences on the Environment

The year 2022 will mark the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment held in Stockholm in June 1972, otherwise known as the "Stockholm Conference." Following this first conference in 1972, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) was established with the aim to meet the “urgent need for a permanent institutional arrangement within the UN System for the protection and improvement of the environment.” Since that historic event, a number of other significant UN conferences on the environment and sustainable development have taken place, as outlined here. In February 2021, an announcement was made with the first stage of planning for UNEP at 50 (referred to by some as Stockholm+50); read the speech of Inger Andersen (UNEP Exectutive Director) here and discover a new book about UNEP's story here. You can also join the online conversation using the hashtag #UNEP50!

At the end of 2021, it was announced that the United Nations General Assembly had agreed on the way forward to the international meeting "Stockholm+50" in June 2022. View the press release here.

UNEP was created to coordinate environmental programs within the United Nations system; to advise UN intergovernmental bodies on the formulation and implementation of environmental programs; to secure the effective co-operation of, and contribution from, the scientific and other professional communities; and to provide advisory services for the promotion of international co-operation in the field of the environment. Conferences/events leading up to or contributing towards the 2022 commemorations and progress towards achieving the sustainability goals will be added here.

Upcoming events:

  • UNEP@50, all year-round event (2022): keep updated following the hashtag on Twitter: #UNEP50 

Past events (listed here to keep track of the progress of the journey to Stockholm 2022):


EPL new section – Stockholm+50 and Beyond – includes content from experts in advance of UNEP's milestone event in June 2022, commemorating the 50 years since the 1972 United Nations Conference on the Human Environment. Discover all articles and new book!

Watch Recording of EPL Webinar (Sep 20, 2022)

Watch the EPL webinar that took place on Sep 20, 2022 where EPL Editor-in-Chief Bharat H. Desai, PhD, was joined by a panel of experts to discuss the recent decision of the United Nations General Assembly to recognize the Human Right to a Clean, Healthy, and Sustainable Environment. Click to watch!


EPL Special Section: Stockholm+50 and Beyond

In advance of the UNEP event in June 2022, our journal launched a section Road to Stockholm+50 and Beyond to seed the ideas that could be covered at the conference. These contributions have now been published in EPL starting from Volume 51, Issue 6 (2021) and continuing through to Volume 52, Issue 3 (2022), and in a special book. Clicl for details 

EPL and Sustainability

In the same way that UNEP was established following the Stockholm conference in 1972, Environmental Policy and Law also had its beginnings at that conference when the first discussions to launch a journal took place. EPL has been reporting on relevant developments and publishing key articles on the environment and sustainability matters across its first 50 volumes and will continue to do so.  

On this section of the EPL website, you can discover information about relevant publications, events, and announcements leading up to the 50th anniversary of the 1972 UN Conference on the Human Environment. Details of the pathway to events in 2022 will appear here as more information becomes available.

Via this page, we will also highlight materials and information relating to the global environmental agenda in the context of the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the 17 SDGs.

This journal supports the IOS Press Diversity and Inclusion Statement. More details available in due course on EPL's page of the IOS Press website here.

EPL cover

Our Earth Matters

Expert scholars and decision-makers contributed to a number of special publications on the theme of "Our Earth Matters," which was the focus of an exclusive free webinar on June 5, 2021.

Invited authors will reexamine the current global approaches, as well as to explore the future trajectory with new ideas, tools, techniques, processes, ecological frameworks and institutional innovations for international environmental governance in the 21st century and beyond. Content is being published in an extended special issue of journal and also be included in a limited-edition book. Discover more on our special website section: Our Earth Matters.


EPL Special Issue

Find out all about the 21 contributions in Environmental Policy and Law's first special issue!


Limited-Edition Book

Discover how you can get your hands on these contributions, packaged in a limited-edition book!


Free Online Webinar

Register your place at the webinar to hear from a number of the authors and expert scholars discussing this important topic!

Discover More

Below are listed the three recent EPL blog articles on this topic. To discover more, just click the tag "SDGs". A selection of highlighted published articles from the EPL and other IOS Press journals are added on a quarterly basis in the special section dedicated to Sustainability on the Sustainable Development Goals page. These can also be discovered by searching for "sustainability" or "SDGs" the IOS Press Content Library here.

Nature and People: Global Biodiversity Framework

Urgent is action required for global biodiversity writes Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary of the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Click to view!


Towards Sustainability

Eeva Furman highlights the importance of key players taking an active role and ownership in the transformation of sustainability pathways and how vital it is that this is carried out in an integrated manner. Click to view!


Policies for Achieving SDGs

Highlighting the continuing quest for effective sustainable development laws, policies, and other measures, in the context of the international objective of achieving the SDGs by 2030. Click to view!


“If the sustainable development goals  of the Agenda 2030 are to be met, human societies need to take a new stand for implementing this plan of action – without delay” 

Eeva Furman, professor at the Finnish Environmental Institute and board member of EPL



[Page added: January 20, 2021; updated: Sep 23, 2022]