The Geneva Environment Network’s weekly newsletter includes the latest information on the global environmental agenda, main events, job vacancies, learning opportunities, as well as other useful resources and updates. During the COVID-19 pandemic, some live events organized by organizations around the world, contributing to the global environmental agenda, have also been included. Stay tuned and follow us also on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or visit our website regularly for additional updates.

Due to the developments in the sanitary situation, most institutions in Geneva are operating virtually. Our update on COVID-19 and the environment lists relevant information, research, data and press releases on the environmental origins and impacts of the pandemic.

High-Level Briefing on the 5th Session on the UN Environmental Assembly 

The United Nations Environment Assembly is the world’s highest-level decision-making body on the environment. It meets biennially to set priorities for global environmental policies and develop international environmental law. The fifth session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-5) will take place in two parts, an online session in February 2021 and a resumed session in February 2022. Under the theme “Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals”, it will mobilize, motivate and energize member States and stakeholders into sharing and implementing successful approaches and nature-based solutions that contribute to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The high-level briefing on 3 February 2021 will provide an update on the UNEA-5 President’s priorities for the Assembly, envisioned to strengthening actions for nature to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and building a resilient and inclusive post-pandemic world for people and planet. Register on Webex and join us on Wednesday, at 15:00 CET.

World Wetlands Day

World Wetlands Day – on 2 February – is the occasion to celebrate the importance of wetlands to our lives, raise awareness of the role of these precious ecosystems and promote action to restore wetlands. The theme for 2021 is “Wetlands and Water”, highlighting the contribution of wetlands to the quantity and quality of freshwater on our planet. Water and wetlands are connected in an inseparable co-existence that is vital to life, our well-being and the health of our planet. The update on World Wetlands Day 2021 provides relevant information, events and resources to engage in the celebrations this year.

The Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands is convening an online panel discussion for World Wetlands Day 2021, on Monday 1 February 2021 from 15.00 to 16.30 CET.

Plastics and Trade

The Geneva Beat Plastic Pollution Dialogues launched in November 2020 will continue this week with a session dedicated to Plastics and Trade. The dialogues, organized by the Geneva Environment Network secretariat, in collaboration with the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions Secretariat, the Center for International Environmental Law, the Global Governance Centre at the Graduate Institute, Norway, and Switzerland, address the plastic crisis and support coordinated approaches that can lead to more efficient decision making.

Plastics recycling efforts often involve exports, the majority flowing from developed to developing countries, where they have become a source of controversy due to the inadequate infrastructure for proper treatment and disposal. Trade of plastic waste is thus an important issue when discussing the plastic crisis. In May 2019, the 187 Parties to the Basel Convention added most types of plastic waste to the list of controlled wastes, effective on 1st January 2021. Governments at the World Trade Organization (WTO) are also showing increased interest in tackling plastics pollution. Leading experts invited to speak at this session will look at the contributions of the trade policy to international cooperation to reduce plastic pollution. Register on Webex and join us on Thursday 4 February, at 14:00 CET.

For more resources on the plastics crisis, the update on Plastics and the Environment provides relevant information and the most recent research, data and articles from the various organizations in international Geneva and other institutions around the world. The outcomes of the previous sessions on Plastics and WastePlastics, Climate and Air Pollution, Plastics and Human Rights, Plastics and Health, Plastics and Standards summarize current efforts and recommended action steps for further addressing these issues.

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