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Due to the developments in the sanitary situation, various 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.

Image of the week | The Center for International Environmental Law Geneva Team at the ‎2021 Geneva CIELebration‎, Thursday 9 December 2021, Cottage Cafe, Geneva.

On the Road to UNEA.5-2: Tackling Pollution

Two-and-a-half months ahead of the resumed session of the 5th session of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA5.2) – the world’s highest-level decision-making body on the environment, scheduled to take place in Nairobi, from 28 February to 2 March 2022, consultations are ongoing on various draft resolutions tabled by members states.

Science-Policy Panel for Chemicals, Waste and Pollution

UNEA-4 recognized the importance of science-based decision-making and requested UNEP to prepare an assessment of options for strengthening the science-policy interface (SPI) at the international level. The assessment report reviews a variety of existing SPI platforms and examines potential impacts of and outputs from a strengthened SPI for chemicals and waste.

This week, the Geneva session of a series of webinars – Establishing a Science-Policy Panel (SPP) for Chemicals, Waste and Pollution – co-convened by Albania, Mali, North-Macedonia, Switzerland and Uruguay with the support of UNEP in the run-up to UNEA-5.2, will take place within the framework of the Geneva Environment Network on Tuesday 14 December. The event will present the findings of the UNEP report and provide a platform to exchange and reflect on the need to strengthen the SPI for chemicals, waste and pollution. Participants will also be briefed on the proposal for a draft resolution for UNEA-5.2 on the establishment of a science policy panel to support action on chemicals, waste and pollution. Register on WebEx and join us at 14:00 CET.

Plastic Pollution

The Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) and the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) published on 10 December 2021 a comparison table on the potential resolutions on plastic pollution to be adopted at UNEA 5.2. This document provides a textual comparison of the two draft resolutions (Peru & Rwanda | September 2021, Japan | 6 December 2021) – currently tabled for discussion at the Committee of Permanent Representatives sessions in advance of UNEA 5.2 – and sheds some light on the potential merging of these draft resolutions.

On Wednesday 14 December, members of governments, representative organizations, and groups from civil society, Indigenous People, workers, and trade unions will launch a call to action for United Nations Member States to agree to establish a legally binding global instrument addressing the full life cycle of plastics — a plastics treaty — at UNEA5.2. The call has been endorsed by over 600 civil society groups from 113 countries. Speakers at the “Public Call to Action: A New Global Treaty on Plastic Pollution” virtual panel discussion (14 December, 17:00 CET | 15 December, 5:00 CET) will emphasize the need to negotiate a new legally binding global instrument on plastic pollution that includes measures along the entire life cycle of plastics, from extraction of feedstocks to production, transport, use, disposal, and remediation, and prioritizes participation from diverse stakeholders, especially civil society, Indigenous Peoples, workers and trade unions, and children and youth. The event is organized by CIEL, EIA, and WWF. See also other CIEL resources on Plastic Pollution.

Cities and Climate Negotiations

In the follow-up to the UN Climate Conference in Glasgow (COP26), the Geneva Cities Hub is organizing the  Cities & COP26 Negotiations session as part of its City Diplomacy Series. This event, co-sponsored by the Geneva Environment Network, will discuss the contribution of cities, local and regional governments and their networks to the objectives of the Paris Agreement, and provide an opportunity to discuss and analyze their engagement in a multilateral conference such as COP26.

The event will be held in a hybrid format on Thursday 16 December. Register and join us at 16:00 CET.

Launch of Ministerial Statements on Trade, Environment and Sustainable Development

The joint launch of three Ministerial Statements, initially scheduled to take placed during 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12), will finally be hosted this week by the co-convenors of the three initiatives:

Follow the launch of these initiatives through WTO live streaming on Wednesday 15 December at 9.30 CET.

What (Else) Should I Read or Watch Next?

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