10 Déc 2021

Lieu: Online | Webex

Organisation: Geneva Environment Network, Conventions de Bâle, Rotterdam et Stockholm

The Geneva Beat Plastic Pollution Dialogues aim to facilitate further engagement and discussion among the stakeholders in International Geneva and beyond. In addition, they intend to address the plastic crisis and support coordinated approaches that can lead to more efficient decision making. This session is held on the occasion of International Mountain Day. (Photo ©Jason Sheldrake)

About the Dialogues

The world is facing a plastic crisis, the status quo is not an option. Plastic pollution is a serious issue of global concern which requires an urgent and international response involving all relevant actors at different levels. Many initiatives, projects and governance responses and options have been developed to tackle this major environmental problem, but we are still unable to cope with the amount of plastic we generate. In addition, there is a lack of coordination which can better lead to a more effective and efficient response.

Various actors in Geneva are engaged in rethinking the way we manufacture, use, trade and manage plastics. The Geneva Beat Plastic Pollution Dialogues aim at outreaching and creating synergies among these actors, highlighting efforts made by intergovernmental organizations, governments, businesses, the scientific community, civil society and individuals in the hope of informing and creating synergies and coordinated actions. The dialogues highlight what the different stakeholders have achieved at all levels, present the latest research and governance options. In addition, the dialogues encourage increased engagement of the Geneva community in the run-up to various global environmental negotiations, including UNEA-5 in February 2021 and February 2022.

Building on the outcomes of the first series of dialogues and the recent policy developments, the Geneva Environment Network is hosting a second series of events to facilitate further engagement and synergies on tackling the plastic crisis. These events are held in collaboration the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions Secretariat, the Center for International Environmental Law, the Global Governance Centre at the Graduate Institute, IUCN, Norway, Switzerland, and the Forum on Trade, Environment & the SDGs (TESS).

About this Session

While much attention in recent years has focused on the impacts of plastic waste on the world’s oceans, pollution in mountain regions has rarely made the headlines. Meanwhile, plastic is the most common type of waste found in mountains. The rapid increase of plastic waste in these region is drive, to a large extent, by tourism. While tourism is an important source of income especially for developing countries, its plastic waste footprint tends to far exceed that of local populations, thus becoming high priority for those countries. Adding to the plastic waste burden that mountains are already shouldering, is the spread of microplastics, which travel long distances and often end up on mountains like the Tibetan Plateau, the Alps or the Rockies.

Meanwhile, mountainous regions face specific challenges in addressing plastic waste due to their remoteness, limited access to human and financial resources, lack of economies of scale, and challenging natural conditions. Many mountainous regions, especially in developing countries, have limited capacity and infrastructure to prevent the generation of plastic waste and ensure its environmentally sound management. This often leads to open burning and dumping.

Yet, success stories and innovative approaches exist and are already being implemented across the world, including the remotest mountains: Garbage declaration and clearance systems for mountain expeditions, community-run collection centers, recycling of bottles into ponchillas, engaging mountaineers in cleanup operations, and full-cycle infrastructure for waste-sorting and management in national parks.

On the occasion of the International Mountain Day on 11 December, this dialogue provides an opportunity to put mountains in the spotlight of the global efforts to address plastic pollution. It will serve as an opportunity to present the key conclusions of a draft report being finalized under the project Plastic Waste in Remote and Mountainous Areas (financed by the Governments of Norway and France), captivating findings of the 2021 Global Mountain Waste Survey, 10 steps to be a Mountain Hero and compelling insights of mountaineers. The speakers will address the following topics:

  • Drivers and status of plastic pollution in the mountains
  • Challenges faced by mountain communities in managing plastic waste
  • Local, national and global success stories in plastic waste management in the mountains
  • The role of mountaineers in tackling plastic waste
  • What individuals and communities can do for clean mountains
  • Recommendations to strengthen plastic waste management in the mountains

The dialogue is being organized in partnership with the Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (BRS); GRID-Arendal; the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA); the International Federation of Mountain Guides Associations (IFMGA); and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).


Leif Inge Magnussen

President, Environmental and Sustainable Access Commission, International Federation of Mountain Guide Associations (IFMGA)

Carolina Adler

President, International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation (UIAA) Mountain Protection Commission | Executive Director, Mountain Research Initiative (MRI)

Björn Alfthan

Senior Mountain Expert, GRID-Arendal

Matthias Jurek

Programme Management Officer, Vienna Programme Office – Secretariat of the Carpathian Convention, Europe Office, UNEP

Lesya Nikolayeva

International Environmental Expert, Atkins | Senior Expert, GRID-Arendal

Jost Dittkrist

Programme Officer, Secretariat of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions


For online participation kindly register directly on the WebEx platform.