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, Youtube, or visit our website regularly for additional updates.

Due to the developments in the sanitary situation, some institutions in Geneva continue 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.

Photo of the week © Demir Somnez. Geneva Climate Strike, Place des Nations, 22 October 2021 → Visit the Geneva Climate Strike photo gallery by Demir Somnez

The Environment & Peace Nexus

Ahead of the Opening Ceremony of the Geneva Peace Week 2021 – a leading annual forum in the international peacebuilding calendar hosted by the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform – the next session of the Geneva Nature-based Solutions Dialogues will also focus on peacebuilding. Invited experts will discuss how Nature-based Solutions can contribute to address and prevent conflict-linked environmental damage as well as combat the risk of resources crisis resulting from conflict. Register and join us online on Monday 1 November at 14.00 CET.
See also outcomes of the GEN-IUCN Nature-based Solution Dialogues on Health | Restoration | Post-2020 Biodiversity Framework | Inclusive Socio-Economic Recovery | Food | the Ocean | Building Resilience | Cities.

This year, the thematic focus of the Geneva Peace Week is “From seeds to systems of peace: Weathering today’s challenges”. In this context, several sessions will discuss various facets of environmental peacebuilding (see the full agenda):

  • Building the ecosystem: Consultation on the While Paper project for environmental peacebuilding | Geneva Peacebuilding Platform, PeaceNexus Foundation | 3 November, 9.00 – 10.30 CET
  • Creating a climate for collaboration: Ways forward for environment, climate change, and peace | Stockholm International Peace Research Institute | 3 November, 13.30 – 15.00 CET
  • Effective learning and assessment tools for environmental peacebuilding | adelphi, Search for Common Ground, UNEP | 3 November, 15.30 – 17.00 CET
  • Climate change and security in Somalia: A practitioner’s perspective | The Berghof Foundation, UNEP, International Organization for Migration | 4 November, 11.00 – 12.30 CET
  • Accelerating climate finance for sustaining peace in Africa: Toward integrative, sustainable, and innovative financing | Cairo International Center for Conflict Resolution, Peacekeeping and Peacebuilding, The African Development Bank | 4 November, 13.30 – 15.00 CET
  • Construire la paix grâce à une meilleure gouvernance de la terre en Afrique de l’Ouest | Initiatives of Change Switzerland, Peace and Human Rights Division of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs | 4 November, 13.30 – 15.30 CET
  • Navigating the waters of environmental peace negotiation | IHEID Environmental Committee, Geneva Water Hub | 4 November, 15.30 – 17.00 CET

To conclude this intense week at the environment and peace nexus, the international community will celebrate the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict on 6 November. On this occasion, find out more about what is being done from Geneva to protect the environment in conflict situations through our update.

A Geneva Anchor to the UN Biodiversity Conference

An Executive Briefing on the United Nations Biodiversity Conference, organized within the framework of the Geneva Environment Network, will take place on Tuesday 2 November. With the adoption of the Kunming Declaration, this first segment of the Conference in October set the stage for the adoption of an effective post-2020 global biodiversity framework at the resumption of the meeting in Spring 2022.

At this Executive Briefing, the Convention on Biological Diversity Executive Secretary, Elisabeth Mrema, will highlight the outcomes of the first part of the UN Biodiversity Conference as well as present the Convention workplan in the run-up to the second part of the conference, including the intermediary body meetings scheduled to take place in Geneva in January 2022. This event will also be the occasion to highlight the contributions of other major actors of the biodiversity cluster in Geneva and their expectations and next steps planned for the upcoming year. Register and join us online on Tuesday 2 November at 14.00 CET.

Climate Action from Glasgow to Geneva

The much-awaited UN Climate ConferenceUNFCCC COP26 – kicked off Sunday in Glasgow, with the contribution of experts from International Geneva involved in numerous hybrid and virtual events. Follow the live coverage of the conference through the Earth Negotiation Bulletin and UN News special coverage.

While all eyes are focused on Glasgow, Geneva remains active in support of climate science and action. From 1 to 12 November, the Geneva Cryosphere Hub will foster dialogue between scientists, policy-makers, international organizations and civil society around the topic of glaciers and mountains. With activities in Glasgow and Geneva, the Hub will showcase the latest science on the cryosphere and support climate ambition, starting with a round table on 1 November discussing “A world without glaciers – How can scientists contribute to enhancing climate ambition, in Switzerland and beyond?“. Other activities in support to the UN Climate Conference include a Ciné-ONU.

Publications issued last week bringing additional evidence to support the need to act with urgency and ambition include:

  • UNEP Emission Gap Report 2021 | UNEP | 26 October 2021
    As countries are expected to present their plans for climate mitigation and adaptation, many call for higher ambition and urgent net zero commitment. The report revealed that the latest climate pledges for 2030 put the world on track for a temperature rise this century of at least 2.7°C, way above the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement.
  • Provisional WMO State of the Global Climate 2021 | WMO | 31 October 2021
    Record atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations and associated accumulated heat have propelled the planet into uncharted territory, with far-reaching repercussions for current and future generations.
  • Real ambition vs. false solutions: What’s at stake during COP26? | Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung | Sebastien Duyck, Erika Lennon, Francesca Mingrone, Nikki Reisch and Lien Vandamme | 27 October 2021
    COP26 takes place against the backdrop of nationalist health policies with daunting consequences, failed promises to adequately scale up climate action and financial support, and an unprecedented push for false solutions that divert global attention from the urgent need to phase out fossil fuels.
  • Greenhouse Gas Bulletin: Another Year Another Record | WMO | 25 October 2021
    The abundance of heat-trapping greenhouse gases in the atmosphere once again reached a new record last year, with the annual rate of increase above the 2011-2020 average. That trend has continued in 2021, according to the latest WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin.
  • UN Human Rights Environment & Climate Change Newsletter – UNFCCC COP26 Special Edition | OHCHR | 28 October 2021
    The Office of the High Commission on Human Rights will actively engage at COP26 to promote a human rights-based approach to climate ambition, stakeholders and public participation, loss and damage, and climate finance.
  • Over 1,000 universities and colleges make net-zero pledges as new nature initiative is unveiled | UNEP | 28 October 2021
    Higher education institutions are joining the call for climate action ahead of COP26. More than 1,000 universities from 68 countries – including the University of Geneva – joined the UN initiative “Race to Zero”, committing to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 and transform their impact on nature.

The point is that we know what we need to do. We know how to do it. We know the timeframe in which we need to act. We know the benefits of action, and the consequences of inaction. The case for climate action is, essentially, closed. Inger Andersen, 26 October 2021

Making Mercury History: from Minamata to Bali, via Geneva

Under the presidency of Indonesia, the Fourth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention is held in two segments: a first segment to be conducted online from 1 to 5 November 2021 and a second segment to be conducted in-person in the first quarter of 2022 in Bali, Indonesia. In October, the Convention presidency and the Secretariat outlined the items on COP-4 agenda to be considered during its online segment & provided an overview of its logistical aspects, whose summary can be read here.

Besides the plenary sessions, a number of online side events open to the public will discuss specific and regional issues in the framework of the Convention. Follow the live coverage of the conference through the Earth Negotiations Bulletin.

Additional resources on the importance of addressing mercury pollution include:

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