24 Jan 2022

Venue: Online and Villa Rigot

Organization: Geneva Cities Hub, Geneva Environment Network, UN-Habitat

The "Geneva Urban Debates" is organized by the Geneva Cities Hub to highlight the role of cities in relation to issues that lie at the heart of the International Geneva ecosystem. This session on plastic pollution and the role of LRGs is co-sponsored by UN-Habitat and the Geneva Environment Network.

About this Session

At the end of 1970s, when Christo, a famous artist, tried to wrap the Pont-Neuf in Paris in polyamide, the then Mayor of Paris Jacques Chirac first rejected the project. Mainly because he thought Parisians would not appreciate the artwork. Not because he thought the use of so much plastic would elicit environmental concerns.

Decades later, the use and misuse of plastic have become a significant burden for authorities. As such, plastic pollution is being debated at all levels by States, regional and local authorities, businesses, closely followed a large group of civil society organizations. This topic has also been on the radar of several international organizations, such as the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), the World Trade Organization (WTO) or the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) with a system-wide coordination mechanism being put in place by the United Nations.

The United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), the world’s highest-level decision-making body on the environment, enjoying universal membership of all UN member States, is taking the lead in establishing the mandate on a global plastics agreement at its next session in February-March 2022.

But what is the status of local and regional governments (LRGs) within UNEA? Could it be enhanced? If so, how? And for what purpose? Do municipalities share knowledge and exchange experience about the prevention and reduction of plastic pollution?

We welcome all relevant stakeholders to discuss concrete ways and means to better include LRGs in plastic pollution-related negotiations.


List of speakers to be confirmed.

  • Welcoming Remarks | H.E. Amb. Mørch Smith, PM of Norway to the United Nations Office at Geneva
  • Diana Rizzolio, Coordinator, Geneva Environment Network
  • Nao Takeuchi, Waste Management Expert, UN-Habitat
  • Melisa Wilskinson, New Technologies Operative Manager, Buenos Aires, Argentina
  • Geoffery Nato, Minister of Environment of Mombasa Country
  • Tatsuya Abe, Odawara City, Japan
  • Jean-Baptiste Buffet, Senior Advocacy Officer, UCLG
  • WWF Representative – Plastic Smart Cities initiative
  • Co-Moderator | Kamelia Kemileva, Co-director, Geneva Cities Hub
  • Co-Moderator | Graham Alabaster, Chief, Geneva Office, UN-Habitat


In addition to the live WebEx and Facebook transmissions, the video will be available on this webpage.