The Geneva Environment Network’s weekly newsletter includes the latest information on the global environmental agenda, main events, job vacancies, 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 | Prof. Laura N. VANDENBERG, speaking on behalf of the Endocrine Society, at the BRS COPs side event & Plastic Forum “Health, Chemicals, Plastics & a Non-Toxic Circular Economy”, organized by IPEN, Uruguay, Switzerland and the Geneva Environment Network, within the framework of the Geneva Beat Plastic Pollution Dialogues. © UNEP/GEN, Pablo Arturo López Guijosa, 9 June 2022.

WTO 12th Ministerial Conference & the Global Environmental Agenda

This week, the global environmental community turns its eyes toward the World Trade Organization, where an unprecedented agreement on fisheries subsidies is excepted to be reached at the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12). From 12 to 15 June, delegates are meeting in Geneva with the opportunity to conclude more than 20 years of negotiations on new disciplines to address overfishing and achieve SDG 14.6. Last week, WTO DG Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has called on WTO members to continue efforts to find convergence at MC12 in order to deliver on this important agenda. WTO DG reiterated the need to deliver once and for all an agreement to discipline harmful fisheries subsidies in her opening remarks at MC12 opening session:

Delivering fisheries is delivering SDG 14.6! I repeat that 21 years is enough. How long will we wait to contribute meaningfully to the world’s sustainable development goals? Will our children forgive us, will poor fisherwomen and men forgive us, if we allow our oceans to be depleted?
The UN Ocean Conference is two weeks from now, and the world has sent word that they will demand accountability from the WTO there. So dear friends, honourable Ministers, let us rise to the occasion and deliver once and for all an agreement to discipline harmful fisheries subsidies.
— WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, at opening session of MC12, 12 June 2022

In parallel to MC12, the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is convening stakeholder for the second Trade and Sustainability Hub. This 3-day event, hosted in partnership with CUTS International and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, from 12 to 15 June, will include an opening plenary followed by three virtual thematic round tables focused on some of the most pressing trade issues in the run-up to MC12 and beyond. To catch up with major issues ahead of MC12, read the latest IISD Trade and Sustainability Review.

Global Agreements for a Healthy Planet: Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste

The face-to-face segment of the Meetings of the Conferences of the Parties to the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (BRS COPs) continues in Geneva this week and is expected to conclude on 17 June. Under the theme “Global Agreements for a Healthy Planet: Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste”, the meetings are addressing the impact of hazardous chemicals and wastes on human health and the environment, with active engagement from governments and stakeholders. Follow the live coverage from the Earth Negotiations Bulletin and other useful information on our update on the meetings.

Other useful resources include:

Various interesting side events are taking place at CICG, and some are accessible online with the links to connect available on the Conventions’ website. This week the Geneva Environment Network is supporting a side event proposed by the Basel Action Network:

The Geneva Environment Network took part in the Plastics Forum, organized last week as an umbrella event of the BRS COPs. Visit the virtual forum, watch the forum wrap-up video and the three side events co-convened with IPEN during the forum:

Environmental Agenda of the 50th Session of the Human Rights Council

The 50th session of the Human Rights Council (HRC50) starts on Monday 13 June in Geneva, and will consider various topics related to the environment over its four weeks of deliberations. The June session of the Council is particularly relevant for human rights in the context of climate change. Follow this session’s coverage and find useful resources in our HRC50 update.

Human Rights in the Context of Climate Change

The newly appointed Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of climate change will present his first report to HRC (A/HRC/50/39) next week. On this topic, a report of the Secretary-General — The impacts of climate change on the human rights of people in vulnerable situations (A/HRC/50/57) — will also be presented.

A side event organized by the Geneva Climate Change Consultation Group (GeCCco) and the Geneva Environment Network, next week, will look at the climate change challenges faced by rights holders in asserting their human rights. Register on Webex.

Business and Human Rights

ISHR and other stakeholders are urging all States to make a commitment to the systematic monitoring of attacks on indigenous, land and environmental defenders in their countries, and to take stronger action, together with civil society and relevant UN Special Procedures, to address the root causes of attacks in the debate with the Working Group.

Indigenous People, Agriculture and More

As the foundation of human lives and livelihoods, the environment is connected to a wide range of issues. Other reports to be presented at this session will include environment-related considerations:

Right to a Safe and Healthy Working Environment Adopted at ILO

The 110th International Labour Conference concluded last week in Geneva. On 10 June, delegates adopted a resolution to add a safe and healthy working environment to the existing four Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work  (FPRW). The FPRW are part of the 1998 ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work , and all ILO Member States commit to respect and promote these principles and rights, whether or not they have ratified the relevant Conventions. Unions will now campaign to increase the number of countries ratifying and implementing all ILO health and safety conventions, giving workers the right to consultation over risk assessments, eradication of toxic chemicals and toxic work organization, as well as free protective equipment and training and the right to refuse dangerous work.

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