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. Stay tuned and follow us also on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, or visit our website regularly for additional updates.
Image of the week | The last Chemicals and Waste Negotiations Briefing of the year reviewed the work of the chemicals and waste cluster in 2022, and presented the latest information on the important conferences scheduled in 2023, as well a follow-up on resolutions adopted at the UN Environment Assembly. © UNEP/GEN, Marina Garlatti, 7 December 2022.
The Future of Humanity’s Relationship with Nature
The UN Biodiversity Conference (CBD COP 15/CP-MOP 10/NP-MOP 4) kicked off last Tuesday, in Montreal, with key stakeholders stressing the urgency of the biodiversity crisis and vital importance of reaching an ambitious agreement.
This Conference is about the urgent task of making peace. Because today, we are out of harmony with nature. In fact, we are playing an entirely different song. Around the world, for hundreds of years, we have conducted a cacophony of chaos, played with instruments of destruction. […] This Conference is our chance to stop this orgy of destruction. To move from discord to harmony. And to apply the ambition and action the challenge demands. We need nothing less from this meeting than a bold post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.
— UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, 6 December 2022
After the meeting of the Working Group, it is obvious that you all have much to say and are keen on ensuring that you find your voices in the final text of the post–2020 global biodiversity framework. I implore you to find your ideas and voices in a text that reflects consensus, compromise, and ambition.
— Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, Executive Secretary of the Convention on Biological Diversity, 7 December 2022
The Conference was preceded by the fifth meeting of the Open-ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF), with lengthy negotiations on various sections, goals, and targets of the draft GBF. As agreement was not found on several elements, negotiations will carry on in a contact group during the UN Biodiversity Conference. A non-negotiated, entirely bracketed non-paper on digital sequence information (DSI) was also forwarded to the Conference.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights published an open letter calling for the right to a healthy environment to be explicitly referred within the principles and goals of the draft post-2020 GBF – as a matter of obligation, of policy coherence, and of effectiveness. The letter highlights 6 further priorities, including business accountability, participation and access to justice, the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities, gender equality, and human rights integration in resources mobilization, monitoring and implementation.
Human action has placed biodiversity – and those who depend on it – under unprecedented threat with little regard for human rights, pushing our planet to a catastrophic breaking point not just for humanity but for all life. Protecting nature is a Human Rights imperative.
Human Rights are a catalyst for the changes needed to live in harmony with nature. I urge COP15 to refer explicitly to the right to a healthy environment – as a matter of obligation, policy coherence and effectiveness.
The Issue Management Group on Human Rights and the Environment, established by the UN Environment Management Group and led by OHCHR, UNDP and UNEP, published key messages on the steps needed to advance a human rights-based approach to the GBF. Their conclusions echoes the statement from the High Commissioner. Read more →
The UN Special Rapporteurs on environment (David Boyd), Indigenous Peoples (Francisco Cali Tzay) and climate change (Ian Fry) also called on States to ensure that the post-2020 GBF is centred on human rights. Read more →
Decent Work in Nature-based Solutions
Launched at the Conference, the report, Decent Work in Nature-based Solutions, by ILO, IUCN and UNEP, underscores the need for a just transition – greening the economy in a way that is fair and inclusive, creating meaningful work opportunities and leaving no one behind. An additional 20 million jobs could be generated worldwide if investment in Nature-based Solutions were tripled by 2030.
More News on the UN Biodiversity Conference
More news about the UN Biodiversity Conference from a global and Geneva perspective:
- Biodiversity summit: countries gear up for a last chance to protect nature | Geneva Solutions | 5 December 2022
- WWF: Sense of urgency nowhere to be seen in Montreal as pre-COP15 talks close | WWF | 6 December 2022
- UN Secretary-General’s Press Conference at COP15 Biodiversity Conference | UN SG | 7 December 2022
- Europe and North America must step up to make COP-15 a historic push for biodiversity | UNECE | 8 December 2022
- What governments must agree at COP15 to accelerate business action on biodiversity and nature | Business for Nature | 8 December 2022
- Même en Suisse, l’état de la biodiversité n’est pas satisfaisant | Heidi News | 8 December 2022
The Conference is expected to conclude on Monday 19 December. → Stay tuned with the Earth Negotiations Bulletin coverage.
Moving Forward the Global Agenda to End Pollution
Global Workshop on Source-to-sea Management
This week, the Water Convention serviced by the UN Economic Commission for Europe is hosting a Global Workshop on Source-to-sea Management at Palais de Nations, from 14 to 16 December 2022. This workshop, organized in cooperation with various organizations, will share insights and best practices from a source-to-sea approach, which aims at bridging existing gaps by connecting the ecosystems’ management and tackling maritime pollution at the source, upstream.
Ending Plastic Pollution
Following the first session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to develop a legally binding instrument on plastic pollution (INC-1), organizations in Geneva and beyond are engaged in continuing discussions on solutions to address the plastic crisis and the opportunities provided by the negotiations.
- Hopes and dreams for the upcoming Plastics Treaty | Zero Waste Europe | 5 December 2022
- At UN Talks, Countries Divided on Approach to Plastics Agreement | Human Rights Watch | 7 December 2022
- Plastic treaty talks go beyond recycling to add public health debate | Sustainable Plastics | 5 December 2022
Last week, discussions on plastic pollution returned to the World Trade Organization with the meeting of the Informal Dialogue on Plastics Pollution and Environmentally Sustainable Plastics Trade. The day before, WTO and UNCTAD co-hosted a workshop on sustainable and effective substitutes and alternatives for plastics.
- Plastics Dialogue hails substantive progress, sets path towards achieving concrete results | WTO | 7 December 2022
- CIEL’s Statement to the WTO Dialogue on Plastic Pollution | CIEL | 7 December 2022
- UNCTAD resources and reports on sustainable and effective substitutes and alternatives for plastics
The options for reducing pollution from packaging and developing reuse systems have also received renewed attention, with new reports last week, including:
- Package-less and Reuse Systems Through Policy Intervention: rethinking packaging in international trade | Quaker United Nations Office | December 2022
- Reuse systems: in search of a vision for tackling plastic pollution | WEF | 2 December 2022
Greening the Blue Report Launch | UN Walking the Talk
The 2022 edition of the Greening the Blue Report will be launched on Wednesday 14 December 2022. Numerous UN agencies and secretariats headquartered in Geneva have contributed to this annual report highlighting the environmental impacts of 307,000 personnel, in 53 reporting entities across Headquarters, field offices and operations on the ground. → Read more about how International Geneva is going green
The Greening the Blue initiative is managed by the UN Environment Programme Sustainable United Nations (SUN) Facility and aims to engage and support the UN System in the transition towards greater environmental sustainability in the management of its facilities and operations.
What (Else) to Read Next?
- Vanuatu, on Behalf of a Diverse Group of Countries, Tables UN Resolution Calling for World’s Highest Court to Clarify States’ International Legal Duties in the Face of Climate Change | CIEL | 30 November 2022
A core group of eighteen regionally diverse countries led by Vanuatu tabled a draft resolution requesting an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on human rights and climate change. The resolution is expected to be voted on early next year. The opinion would clarify States obligations regarding the climate protection and legal consequences for States having caused harm to the climate by their acts and omissions. → Read more
- Report signals increasing resistance to antibiotics in bacterial infections in humans and need for better data | WHO | 9 December 2022
The latest Global Antimicrobial Resistance and Use Surveillance System (GLASS) report reveals worrisome trends in AMR. Assessing data reported by 87 countries in 2020, the report found high levels of resistance in bacteria, causing life-threatening bloodstream infections, as well as increasing resistance to treatment in several bacteria causing common infections.
- Investors demand end to ‘forever’ chemicals | Financial Times | 5 December 2022
Asset managers call on 54 chemicals companies to phase out hazardous PFAS compounds. Qualifying as both persistent organic pollutants (POP) and endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDC), PFAS are posing increasing risks to human health and the environment.
- War and climate: the recipe for industrial disaster a Geneva-based body wants to avert | Geneva Solutions | 8 December 2022
While the risks of industrial accidents causing environmental damage is never zero, they are heightened by extreme weather events and conflict near facilities. This piece explores how the UNECE Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents helps countries in Europe and Central Asia to reduce these risks. Parties to the Convention met in early December to discuss priorities moving forward at the COP.
- Physically Fit? How financial institutions can better disclose climate-related physical risks in line with the recommendations of the TCFD | UNEP FI | December 2022
This report assesses the current state of physical climate-related risk disclosures and provides high-level guidance for financial institutions reporting on physical risks in line with the recommendations of the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
- Green Finance Platform’s Database Shows Significant Rise in Global Green Finance Measures | Green Growth Knowledge Partnership | 9 December 2022
Database figures from Green Finance Platform by GGKP show a 317% growth in the number of green financial measures since the Paris Agreement climate agreement was adopted in 2015. This progress highlights the expansion of climate finance beyond reducing emissions and into a specific and sectoral climate and sustainability strategy.
- Air Pollution Linked to Nearly Half of all Stillbirths | Health Policy Watch | 1 December 2022
A new scientific study led in 137 countries estimated that nearly half of stillbirth are linked to fine particulate matter (PM2.5), a pollutant mostly linked to the burning of fossil fuels. According to UNICEF, stillbirth happen on average every 16 seconds somewhere around the globe. This study adds to the increasingly vast body of evidence about the harmful effects of air pollutants on human health.
- WHO Member States agree to develop zero draft of legally binding pandemic accord in early 2023 | WHO | 7 December 2022
At the 3rd meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body last week in Geneva, WHO Member States agreed on the next steps toward a treaty to protect world from future pandemics. The instrument should take into account equity, promotes preparedness, ensures solidarity and respects sovereignty. A zero draft of the pandemic accord will be ready for negotiations by Member States starting February 2023.
- The Universal Declaration: a catalyst for environmental human rights action | OHCHR | 7 December 2022
As we celebrated Human Rights Day last Saturday, we celebrate once again the recognition of the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment. The new universal human right gives activists across the world new tools in their fight against the devastating effects of climate change and biodiversity loss. → Read as well UNDP’s article on how the recognition of this new right has made 2022 “A landmark year for human rights“.
12 – 14 Dec 2022
Hilton Hotel and Conference Centre & Online
12 – 14 Dec 2022
Spaces, Rue de Lausanne 15
12 – 13 Dec 2022
Palais des Nations | Room XXI & Online
Online discussion | The importance of farmer and farmer organisations’ perspectives on Highly Hazardous Pesticides
12 Dec 2022 10:00 – 11:30
Online | Webex
12 Dec 2022 14:30 – 16:00
Maison de la paix & Online
IHEID, FAO, GTP
12 Dec 2022 15:00 – 17:00
12 Dec 2022 15:30 – 20:00
Siège de Migros Genève, rue Alexandre-Gavard 35, 1227 Carouge
GoH! - Generation of Hydrogen
12 Dec 2022 18:00 – 20:00
Espace de concertation 3DD • Rue David-Dufour 3, Genève, 1205, Suisse
3DD – espace de concertation
13 – 16 Dec 2022
Palais des Nations | Room XXVII
13 Dec 2022 09:00 – 10:00
Palais des Nations | Room XXIII
13 Dec 2022 15:00 – 16:00
Online | Zoom
Geneva Peacebuilding Platform
14 – 16 Dec 2022
Palais des Nations | Room XXI & Online
UNECE, Water Convention
14 Dec 2022
15 Dec 2022 08:00 – 09:30
15 Dec 2022 08:30 – 09:30
The Graduate Institute, 2 Chemin Eugène-Rigot, 1202 Genève
SDG Lab, IISD, IHEID
15 Dec 2022 09:00 – 20:00
Rue Saint-Léger 16, 1205 Genève
15 Dec 2022 12:15 – 13:30
Room P1-847 | Maison de la paix | Geneva Graduate Institute
16 – 18 Dec 2022
Muséum d’histoire naturelle, 2050Today, Republic and State of Geneva, City of Geneva, Alternatiba Léman
12 Dec 2022
12 Dec 2022
12 Dec 2022
14 Dec 2022
14 Dec 2022
14 Dec 2022
15 Dec 2022
16 Dec 2022
16 Dec 2022
17 Dec 2022
18 Dec 2022
Bilateral Support for Nationally Determined Contributions Implementation and Climate Governance in the Pacific Alliance
18 Dec 2022
Gold Standard Foundation
25 Oct 2023
18 Jul 2023
07 Dec 2023
29 Nov 2023