24 Jan 2022

Lieu: Online and Villa Rigot

Organisation: Global Cities Hub - Geneva, Geneva Environment Network, UN-Habitat

The "Geneva Urban Debates" are organized by the Geneva Cities Hub in co-operation with UN-Habitat 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 local and regional governments (LRGs) was co-sponsored by the government of Norway 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 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?


  • 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
  • Godfrey Nyongesa Nato, Minister of Environment of Mombasa Country
  • Tatsuya Abe, Odawara City, Japan
  • Jean-Baptiste Buffet, Senior Advocacy Officer, UCLG (absent)
  • Yumi Nishikawa, Plastic Smart Cities project lead for the Southeast Asia, WWF
  • Co-Moderator | Kamelia Kemileva, Co-director, Geneva Cities Hub
  • Co-Moderator | Graham Alabaster, Chief, Geneva Office, UN-Habitat


Click on the images below to view quotes from the event


Please visit the Geneva Cities Hub for the report of the event.


In addition to the live Facebook and Geneva Cities Hub platform transmissions, the video is available on this webpage.