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 | H.E. Amb. Nella Pepe TAVITA-LEVY, Permanent Representative of the Independent State of Samoa to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva opening the event Celebrating International Women’s Day 2023 | Women, Girls, and the Triple Planetary Crisis, at the International Environment House, on 8 March 2023.

Environment @ Human Rights Council and Beyond

The 52nd session of the Human Rights Council (HRC52) is now on its third week, when the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders will be presenting her report to the Council. The report takes stock of the 25 years that have passed since the adoption of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders. The interactive dialogue with the independent expert will take place on 15 March 2023. Other events of interest this week include:

Last week, various UN Special Rapporteurs presented their environment-related reports to the Council. The Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment presented his report on “Women, girls and the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment,” and highlighted in the interactive dialogue how “Only rights-based systemic and gender-transformative changes can ensure everyone can enjoy the right to a healthy environment”. Regular updates on key environmental issues at HRC52, side events, highlights and further resources are available on our HRC52 and the environment dedicated webpage.

International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights | The 21st edition of the International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights (FIFDH) also continues this week with films and discussions that focus on environment, indigenous rights, business and human rights, among others.

The Republic of Vanuatu Leading Coalition Pursuing an Advisory Opinion on Climate Change from the International Court of Justice | The Permanent Mission of Vanuatu and CIEL are organizing a diplomatic briefing on the initiative to request an Advisory Opinion on climate change by the International Court of Justice, on 16 March at 14:00 CET. The UN’s International Court of Justice is the only principal organ of the UN System that has not yet been given an opportunity to help address the climate crisis.  A resolution to the UN General Assembly, co-sponsored by 112 States, requests the ICJ to clarify States’ obligations with regard to climate change, with specific attention to vulnerable States and affected peoples and individuals, including future generations. The resolution will be voted on 29 March 2023.

Ending Plastic Pollution Agenda | En route pour Paris!

This month marks one year since the historic resolution to end plastic pollution adopted at the UN Environment Assembly. Various events are planned in the run-up to the second session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution (INC-2), which will take place in Paris, France, from 29 May to 2 June 2023. Information on preparations for INC-2 and the role of Geneva in the Towards Plastic Pollution INC-2 update. 

Geneva Beat Plastic Pollution Dialogues | To mark this anniversary and looking ahead at INC-2, the Geneva Environment Network is organizing events within the framework of the Geneva Beat Plastic Pollution Dialogues. An online event with Portuguese speaking countries took place on 1st March. → Read the outcomes here.

This week, the Geneva Beat Plastic Pollution Dialogues are back for a session in French, co-organized with France and other French-speaking countries, to address the negotiation main challenges, the preparations for the INC2, and how stakeholders are engaging in the process: En route pour Paris: Négociation pour un instrument international juridiquement contraignant sur la pollution plastique (Pollution Plastique CIN-2) → Join us in person at the International Environment House or online, on Wednesday 15 March from 15:00 to 16:00 CET.

High Ambition Plastic Coalition to End Plastic Pollution Webinar | The Government of Rwanda, as the Co-Chair of the Coalition, is hosting the webinar ‘Reducing Plastic Production and Consumption’, on 16 March 2023 at 14:00 CET.

Additional resources published recently include:

  • Plastic Smog Covering the Ocean | According to a study conducted by the 5 Gyres Institute, over 170 trillion plastic particles afloat in the world’s oceans. Calling for urgent and coordinated global action, researchers put high hopes in the outcomes of the legally binding instrument to be negotiated until 2024. Watch the video presenting the study.
  • Track down the plastic greenwashers | The article highlights how both regulators and analysts like the Environmental Investigation Agency and Planet Tracker are calling out oil, chemical and manufacturing companies as they increasingly turn to greenwashing techniques to smooth the way for an increase in the production of plastic.
  • Plastic Waste Trade. The Hidden Numbers | A recent study conducted by the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN), the Last Beach Cleanup, the Microplastic Research Group and the Environmental Toxicology – Plastics Research Group found that the amount of plastic waste exported to non-OECD countries is double its estimates. This situation exposes the need to track less-evident sources of plastic waste during trade from North to South.

Finalization of IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Synthesis Report

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is meeting for its fifty-eighth Session in the city of Interlaken, from 13 to 17 March 2023, to finalize the Synthesis Report of its sixth assessment cycle (AR6 SYR). The report to provide policymakers an overview of the state of knowledge on the science of climate change is expected to be released on 20 March 2023. Stay updated with IISD Earth Negotiation Bulletin

The joint analysis Lost in Translation, released by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) and the Heinrich Böll Foundation on 6 March, is intended as a metric and counterpoint to weigh the IPCC’s AR6 SYR against the underlying AR6 reports to highlight findings that are essential to understanding the climate actions necessary to prevent and minimize the risk of catastrophic impacts of overshoot, and to design the just and equitable path ahead.

Environment @ WSIS Forum 2023

The World Summit on the Information Society Forum 2023 (WSIS Forum 2023) is taking place from 13 to 17 March at the International Conference Center Geneva, hosting various types of events and opportunities to discuss the role of ICTs in a multi-stakeholders setting. This year’s Forum is organized under the theme WSIS Action Lines for building back better and accelerating the achievement of the SDGs and environmental issues will feature prominently in the programme of the forumRegistration is required for both in-person and remote participation.

Calls for Contributions / Nominations

  • Human Rights 75 Youth Advisory group | The Human Rights 75 Youth Advisory Group, composed of twelve young people with consideration of gender, age, geographic, ethnic, and cultural balance, is looking for members. The mandate of the Youth Advisory Group will initially run until the end of 2023. → To apply to be part of the Human Rights 75 Youth Advisory Group, please fill out this form by 13 March 2023.
  • 2023 GCSP Prize for Transformative Futures in Peace and Security | The inaugural edition of this prize of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy seeks to reward groundbreaking concepts that offer exceptional promise in addressing peace and security challenges. Concepts from a wide variety of fields may be eligible for consideration including, pandemics, biothreats, climate change, or human rights, for example. → Deadline of applications is on 27 March 2023.

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