Since the founding of the Red Cross in 1863, Geneva has evolved considerably into what is now one of the foremost centers of global governance. Today, 179 states are represented in the canton. Various initiatives and projects aiming at reducing the ecological footprint of diplomatic representations abroad have been launched by member states and are being implemented in Geneva.
The host country, Switzerland, the host city and canton of Geneva, the United Nations Environment Programme and the Geneva Environment Network stand ready to assist efforts of member states to reduce the ecological footprint of their activities in Geneva. Coordinating the “going green” work across the UN System is the responsibility of the Sustainable United Nations (SUN) facility, based in Geneva, that is sharing its experiences with member states. Below is a non-exhaustive list of initiatives and projects aiming at reducing the footprint of diplomatic representations in the canton.
Sustainable Swiss Embassies
Switzerland is committed at home and abroad to ensuring the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is implemented efficiently and assumes its responsibility for a sustainable environment and society through sustainable embassies.
2050Today Initiative on Climate Action
The Permanent Mission of Switzerland launched the 2050Today initiative aiming at reducing CO2 emissions at the local level in Geneva. As part of 2050Today, member institutions are to implement concrete measures to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and measure their results. To multiply the impact of the common efforts, the 2050Today community provides a platform for sharing experiences, solutions and practices.
2050Today has three main goals :
- Foster CO2 emissions reduction : Measuring on regular basis the carbon footprint will greatly promote a rapid, continuous and measurable reduction of GHG emissions of the participating institutions as it will provide clarity for action.
- Enhance Cooperation : Sharing experiences, solutions and practices will foster and facilitate the implementation of efficient measures with a sense of solidarity and cooperation.
- Raise awareness : Leading by example will raise awareness among the personnel of the participating institutions and foster inclusive climate action within international Geneva.
The institutions that have joined 2050Today are using the same methodology of the Sustainable United Nations to measure their emissions.
“Green Embassy” Project
Launched in 2015 ahead of COP21, the Green Embassy project is a gradual and comprehensive initiative to reduce the environmental impact of France’s diplomatic representations abroad.
In April 2019, the Permanent Representation of France to the United Nations in Geneva and the Permanent Mission of France to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva started implementing the Green Embassy project to reduce their impact on the environment.
The Permanent Missions have developed an action plan to reduce water and energy consumption, reduce waste, protect biodiversity and make agents and visitors aware of environmental issues.
Morocco was the first of the Maghreb countries to host the Conference of the Parties to the UN Climate Change Convention (COP7, COP22). The Mission has developed the concept « Mission verte et durable », which is part of the continuous environmental policy of Morocco, and could in the long term, result in a common project and objective for all the country Embassies. To encourage responsible behavior in the office, a guide of the good practices was developed to provide actions to be taken around four pillars (water, electricity, waste, mobility).
The Permanent Mission of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva is developing a greening and zero emissions plan.
United States of America
In 2011, the United States of America’s Mission to the United Nations in Geneva was selected as a model of green diplomacy and environmental stewardship under a new award created by the U.S. Department of State. The Greening Diplomacy Initiative (GDI) award recognizes and encourages the many innovative ways in which green teams at U.S. diplomatic posts around the world are tackling the challenge of reducing their environmental footprint.
The United States Mission signed the Geneva’s Garden Charter (Charte des Jardins) in 2011, beginning the conversion of the lawns surrounding our building to meadows of flowering prairie grasses indigenous to the Geneva region.
UN Greening the Blue published an article on the greening efforts of US Mission in July 2010.
International Geneva is much more than the Permanent Missions it is home to. Many organizations including UN agencies and academic institutions are also striving to reduce their environmental footprint. Find out more about Greening International Geneva.