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 X (Twitter), Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Youtube, or visit our website regularly for additional updates.
Commemorating the Universal Declaration of Human Rights @ 75 Environment Month
In less than a month, the world will be commemorating the 75th year of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the United Nations General Assembly. Decades since this landmark occasion, the Declaration has served as the foundation for an expanding system of human rights and as a guidepost for our collective action to leave no one behind.
As part of the celebration, this month of November, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) shines a spotlight on Environment and Climate Change. This month highlights how human rights, particularly the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment, provide us with a roadmap to address the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution. → Learn how you can participate in the celebration and on how International Geneva is committed to protecting the environment and upholding human rights.
In the spirit of the urgent call for immediate, equitable, and rights-based action in the face of the escalating climate crisis, the Climate Vulnerable Forum and OHCHR are hosting a virtual event, “Advancing Equity and Rights for People and States on the Frontlines of the Climate Crisis“, in conjunction with the Human Rights 75 initiative. Ahead of the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference (COP28), the event aims to build momentum for a major “course correction” to rights-based climate action consistent with the objectives of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement. → Register for the event taking place online on 15 November 2023, 10:00 – 11:15 CET.
Alarming Data Calls for Ambitious Climate Goals at COP28
At the end of the month, world leaders will meet in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28). While preparatory discussions such as Pre-COP28, Regional Climate Weeks, and the Fifth meeting of the Transitional Committee (TC5) offered a prelude to the upcoming negotiations, important recently released climate-related news and assessments provide arguments for keeping ambitions high towards renewed climate commitments, these include:
- World Warmest October on Record | October is the fifth month in a row of record-warm global temperatures, making it virtually certain 2023 will be the warmest year on record, as other peer-reviewed analyses seem to suggest already. The past month was characterized by an average sea surface temperature of 20.79°C, Arctic sea ice levels at 12% below average, and above-average precipitation across most of Europe. The data shared by the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) will be confirmed by the World Meteorological Organization in its provisional State of the Global Climate 2023 report, which will be released on 30 November on the opening day of COP28. → Read WMO Press Release
- Production Gap Report | The 2023 edition of the Production Gap Report “Phasing down or phasing up? Top fossil fuel producers plan even more extraction despite climate promises” found governments plan to produce around 110% more fossil fuels in 2030 than would be consistent with limiting warming to 1.5°C, and 69% more than would be consistent with 2°C. The Report provides newly expanded country profiles for 20 major fossil-fuel-producing countries, showing that most of these governments continue to provide significant policy and financial support for fossil fuel production. This is the second of the UNEP Climate-related “Gap” reports issued this year, which include two regular climate-related assessments, the Adaptation Gap Report, and the Emissions Gap Report, as well as the Production Gap Report issued with other groups, analyzing the state of the climate and providing policymakers with a roadmap for action. The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, reacted to the report insisting that we cannot address climate catastrophe without tackling its root cause: fossil fuel dependence. We need credible commitments at COP28 to ramp up renewables, phase out fossil fuels, and boost energy efficiency while ensuring a just, equitable transition. The article ‘Insanity’: petrostates planning huge expansion of fossil fuels, says UN report published by The Guardian on 8 November 2023 refers to the report.
- Framework for climate resilient and low carbon health systems | This Framework presents an opportunity for the health sector to lead by example by reducing its greenhouse gas emissions – which are now responsible for almost 5% of the global total – while continuing to enhance quality of care. → Read WHO Press Release
- Paris Call for Glaciers and Poles – Declaration for the One Planet – Polar Summit | Brought in Paris on 10 November during the One Planet – Polar Summit, as part of the Paris Peace Forum, at the initiative of the President of the French Republic, Emmanuel Macron, and in partnership with WMO and UNESCO. The summit called for urgent action to cut greenhouse gas emissions, for more in-depth scientific research on the cryosphere, and for better integration of the effects of the retreat of the cryosphere into policy-making. The declaration pledged support for a United Nations Decade on Polar and Glacier Sciences, to start in 2025 – which is the International Year of Glaciers’ Preservation – and feed into the Fifth International Polar Year in 2032-33. → Learn more about the role of Geneva in protecting glaciers
- Ambition on Melting Ice (AMI) high-level group | On the occasion of the One Planet Polar Summit, France and Netherlands joined with other countries the ‘Ambition on Melting Ice (AMI) high-level group: on Sea-level Rise and Mountain Water Resources’, launched November 16, 2022.
- Tripling renewable power and doubling energy efficiency by 2030: Crucial steps towards 1.5°C | Report issued by COP28 Presidency, IRENA and GRA on 7 November 2023, identifying five key enablers for the required scale-up in renewable power and energy efficiency, with concrete and urgent recommendations for policymakers.
- The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Bureau will meet in Geneva for its 66th Session on 15 and 16 November 202.
- The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) will also issue on 15 November a State of the Global Climate 2011-2020 decadal report.
Additional news on climate or related to the upcoming climate COP28 include:
Presidents of Rio Conventions Call | CBD, UNFCCC, UNCCD | 10 November 2023
For the first time, the Presidents of the last Conference of Parties of the three Rio Conventions have decided to join forces to call for a coordinated approach to tackle climate change, desertification, and biodiversity loss.
- Direct Air Capture: Big Oil’s Latest Smokescreen | CIEL | 10 November 2023
As our window to prevent catastrophic climate impacts narrows, technological fixes like direct air capture (DAC) are gaining dangerous momentum. While pulling pollution out of the atmosphere, DAC and other carbon capture schemes are unproven, expensive, and may actually accelerate climate change.
- Extratropical forests increasingly at risk due to lightning fires | Thomas A. J. Janssen, Matthew W. Jones, Declan Finney et al. | Nature Geoscience | 9 November 2023
Extratropical forests are of global importance for carbon storage. They currently experience high fire-related forest losses and have, per unit area, among the largest fire emissions on Earth.
- Climate change and noncommunicable diseases: connections | WHO | 2 November 2023
Climate change is impacting human lives threatening clean air, safe drinking water, nutritious food supply and safe shelter – and has the potential to undermine decades of progress in global health.
- The Permanent Mission to the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations Office and other international organizations in Geneva and the Geneva Environment Network will be hosting a Briefing on the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) to take place on 21 November 2023 at Palais the Nations from 10:00 – 12:00 CET.
Geneva Meetings of the Convention on Biological Diversity
Stakeholders from around the world are gathering in Geneva from 12 to 18 November for the Geneva Meetings, namely the Twelfth meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Intersessional Working Group on Article 8(j) and Related Provisions of the Convention on Biological Diversity (WG8J 12) and the First meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Benefit-sharing from the Use of Digital Sequence Information on Genetic Resources (WGDSI 1).
Achieving the ambitious and transformative agenda of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework requires the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples and local communities around the world. As such, delegates in the Geneva Meetings will work to answer when and how Indigenous Peoples and local communities benefit from digital sequence information from biodiversity found in their territories, as they continue to build on the momentum from the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. Governments and other stakeholders will conduct their negotiations on the multilateral mechanism based on a synthesis of a compilation of views from governments, indigenous peoples and local communities and other organizations, as well as lessons learned from other international funding mechanisms, compiled through a study. → Consult the press release and follow the coverage by the Earth Negotiations Bulletin.
Halfway Through The Plastics Treaty Negotiation Process
The third session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment (INC-3) is taking place this week, in Nairobi, Kenya. With the preparatory meeting and regional consultations already concluded the past weekend, many Geneva actors are in Nairobi this week contributing to the advancements of the process. As highlighted during a Geneva briefing on INC-3, international Geneva actors have contributed to raising momentum during the intersessional period, bridging plastics treaty negotiations with chemicals and waste management, the world of work, trade, and health, among others. → Follow the Earth Negotiations Bulletin, or watch the live stream.
Recent additional resources include:
- Information submitted by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the International Labour Organization | OHCHR and ILO | 12 November 2023
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) have submitted key Messages on a just transition and human rights that could be of relevance to the intergovernmental negotiating committee.
- IPCP Policy Brief: Conflicts of Interest in the Assessment of Plastics | IPCP | 10 November 2023
Addressing the industry’s role in the ongoing Plastics Treaty negotiations and the forthcoming Science-Policy Interface for plastic pollution. The article refers to the publication Conflicts of Interest in the Assessment of Chemicals, Waste, and Pollution by Andreas Schäffer et al., published in Environ. Sci. Technol. on 9 November, highlighting that the intergovernmental science−policy panel on chemicals, waste, and pollution prevention should establish clear and verifiable conflict of interest rules to protect its work from industry lobbying.
- INC-3 Booklet | Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives | 9 November 2023
This booklet in preparation to INC-3 offers insights and expectations for the session, including an analysis of the Plastics INC Secretariat documents.
- Moving from symptom management to upstream plastics prevention: The fallacy of plastic cleanup technology | Melanie Bergmann, Hans Peter H. Arp, Bethanie Carney Almroth et al. | One Health | 9 November 2023
Plastic removal technologies can temporarily mitigate plastic accumulation at local scales, but evidence-based criteria are needed in policies to ensure that they are feasible and that ecological benefits outweigh the costs.
- Tackling global plastic pollution… and plastic polluters | Corporate Europe Observatory | 9 November 2023
Calling for a lobby firewall between policymakers and industry, as negotiators gather to discuss the Global Plastics Treaty and fossil fuel and plastics lobbyists oppose any deal that limits plastics production, while such limits are the only way to protect the health of humans, ecosystems, and the climate.
- Annotated Zero Draft of the Plastics Treaty | CIEL | 8 November 2023
Informs the reading of and discussion on the Zero Draft during INC-3: annotated copy of the text to facilitate understanding the implications and considerations of the different options while reading the document.
- Compilation of IUCN WCEL Briefings for Negotiators for INC-3 | IUCN WCEL | 8 November 2023
This series of ten targeted legal briefs is part of the IUCN Submission for Plastics INC-3.
- Increasing Evidence Shows: There are No Safe and Circular Plastics | IPEN | 7 November 2023
“Without safety data, transparency, and traceability of chemicals in plastics, it is not possible to say that any plastics are safe or circular,” says IPEN Science and Technical Advisor Dr. Therese Karlsson.
- Implementation, Compliance, and Reporting: Key Elements to Consider in the Context of a Treaty to End Plastic Pollution | CIEL | 7 November 2023
Outlines compliance provisions and mechanisms in other MEAs and provides a list of key recommendations for negotiators to consider compliance in the development of substantive obligations, national plans, and reporting.
- Who pays for plastic pollution? | Towards a Treaty to End Plastic Pollution | WWF | 7 November 2023
The report estimates that the total lifetime costs of just 1kg of plastic is 8x higher in low- and middle-income countries than in high-income countries, showing how low- and middle-income countries are exposed to the hidden and most harmful effects of plastic production and pollution.
- Zero Draft Elements | GRID-Arendal | 6 November 2023
A synopsis of the Zero draft text, including in the marine environment, enabling negotiators and stakeholders to engage with the zero draft text ahead of INC-3 in Nairobi, Kenya and beyond.
- A tale of two treaties — On the procedural woes of the plastics treaty negotiations and why they matter | Magnus Løvold | 9 November 2023
The adoption of a meaningful treaty on plastic pollution requires a procedural path forward. Unless countries are willing to accept a weak, lowest common denominator treaty, the question of the rules governing the committee’s decision-making will almost certainly resurface at one point in the process.
- Coca-Cola, Nestlé and Danone for their misleading claims about recycling | ClientEarth Communications | 7 November 2023
Client Earth and ECOS support the Bureau Européen des Unions de Consommateurs in filing a legal complaint to the EU Commission against three food and drink giants, over their use of misleading ‘100% recyclable’ and ‘100% recycled’ claims on plastic water bottles sold across Europe.
- Clean-Ups or Clean-Washing? How plastic pollution cleanup technology can actually harm the environment and obstruct policy progress | EIA and OceanCare | 6 November 2023
This report highlights major concerns around quick-fix technological solutions to cleaning up plastics in our oceans, ranging from their impact on the environment to the distraction from genuine policy solutions.
- 62 Member States are now part of the High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution
- Towards Eliminating Plastic Pollution by 2040. A Policy Scenario Analysis (Interim Findings) | OECD | November 2023
In the run-up to the discussions on the zero draft of the treaty at INC-3, these Interim Findings of the forthcoming OECD report support the ongoing negotiation process by providing a snapshot of the potential benefits and consequences of varying levels of international ambition and policy stringency across the plastics lifecycle.
This week INC-3 parallel events will include:
- Media Advisory: Global South Media Briefing on the Global Plastics Treaty | The Global South delegation will put forward its demands to address the entire lifecycle of plastics, overall production reduction, putting a stop to incineration and similar harmful technologies, limiting toxic chemicals in plastics and calling for chemical transparency, a just transition, mandatory Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) based on Zero Waste hierarchy. → Join the event on 14 November 2023 at 16:00 EAT at Comfort Gardens Hotel, Township, United Nations Cres, Nairobi, Kenya, and on Zoom.
- Find relevant information and events on social networks using the hashtags #PlasticsTreaty #INC3
World Antimicrobial Awareness Week 2023
The World Antimicrobial Awareness Week (WAAW) is a global campaign, celebrated annually to improve awareness and understanding of AMR and encourage best practices among the public, and One Health stakeholders and policymakers, who all play a critical role in reducing the further emergence and spread of AMR.
- 13 November, 11:30-13:15 CET | 3rd Annual Global Media Forum in lead up to WAAW 2023 Platform | This forum is being organised to support media understanding and communications on AMR. People from the global media community are welcome.
- 15-16 November | The AMR Multi-Stakeholder Partnership Platform Inaugural Plenary Assembly | This event will be convened at the FAO Headquarters in Rome, Italy to provide an opportunity for Partnership Platform members to convene, collaborate, and collectively establish priorities for combating AMR using the One Health approach.
- 16 November, 12:00-13.30 CET | Tracking Antimicrobial Resistance Country Self Assessment Survey (TrACSS) | This Quadripartite webinar is part of the WHO Global Webinar Series to support the implementation of national action plans on AMR.
- 21st Session of the UNCCD Committee for the Review of the Implementation of the Convention (CRIC-21) | CRIC 21 will take place in Samarkand, Uzbekistan from 13 to 17 November 2023. At CRIC 21 Parties will review the assessment of implementation of the UNCCD along the Strategic Objectives of the 2018 – 2030 UNCCD Strategic Framework and its implementation framework to provide targeted recommendations on strategic objectives. → Follow the live coverage of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin.
- 59th Session of the International Tropical Timber Council | Taking place from 13 to 17 November 2023 in Pattaya, Thailand, the Council will face important discussions on whether to extend the current 17-year-old International Tropical Timber Agreement or develop a new treaty to promote the expansion and diversification of international trade in tropical timber from sustainably managed, legally harvested forests. → Follow the live coverage of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin.
What (Else) to Read Next?
- EU Nature restoration law: MEPs strike deal to restore 20% of EU’s land and sea | European Parliament | 9 November 2023
The new law, agreed with member states, sets a target for the EU to restore at least 20% of the EU’s land and sea areas by 2030 and all ecosystems in need of restoration by 2050.
- What Makes Minerals And Metals ‘Critical’? A practical guide for governments on building resilient supply chains (Draft for Consultation) | Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Metals and Sustainable Development | November 2023
This practical guide provides a series of questions that may guide governments when considering the design of strategic policies and roadmaps with respect to the minerals and metals they produce and/or the need for resilient industrial supply chains.
- Global, regional and national burdens of non-melanoma skin cancer attributable to occupational exposure to solar ultraviolet radiation for 183 countries, 2000–2019: A systematic analysis from the WHO/ILO Joint Estimates of the Work-related Burden of Disease and Injury | Frank Pega, Natalie C. Momen, Kai N. Streicher et al. | Environment International | 8 November 2023
This article presents WHO/ILO Joint Estimates of global, regional, national and subnational occupational exposures to UVR for 195 countries/areas and the global, regional and national attributable burdens of NMSC for 183 countries, by sex and age group, for the years 2000, 2010 and 2019.
- A multi-taxon analysis of European Red Lists reveals major threats to biodiversity | Axel Hochkirch, Melanie Bilz, Catarina C. Ferreira et al. | Plos One | 8 November 2023
The study demonstrates that 19% of European species are threatened with extinction, with higher extinction risks for plants (27%) and invertebrates (24%) compared to vertebrates (18%). These numbers exceed recent IPBES assumptions of extinction risk. Changes in agricultural practices and associated habitat loss, overharvesting, pollution and development are major threats to biodiversity.
- Why Supporting Food Systems and Protecting Biodiversity Need to Go Hand in Hand | IISD | 6 November 2023
Phasing out or repurposing incentives harmful to biodiversity is critical for achieving global objectives on climate, the environment, and sustainable development. It draws on existing knowledge to offer suggestions for how state and non-state actors can begin to operationalize target 18 of the Global Biodiversity Framework.
- The Nature Strategy Handbook | A Practical Guide for Businesses | It’s Now for Nature | November 2023
Practical guide to support all businesses in developing a nature strategy. It builds on guidance from the ACT-D High-Level Business Actions on Nature to show the key components of a credible nature strategy, taking into account the requirements of various frameworks, guidance, and regulations.
- All Winners & Finalists – The Earthshot Prize
The Earthshot Prize finds and grows the solutions that will repair our planet. We face our greatest challenge; to regenerate the place we all call home in the next ten years. The power of human ingenuity can prove to us all that the seemingly impossible is possible.
30 Sep – 21 Dec 2023
Twelfth meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Intersessional Working Group on Article 8(j) and Related Provisions of the Convention on Biological Diversity
12 – 16 Nov 2023
CICG & CCV
13 – 14 Nov 2023
International Environment House & Online
Strategic Roundtable on Increasing Resilience to Climate Change in the Water and Sanitation Sector under the UNECE-WHO/Europe Protocol on Water and Health
13 – 14 Nov 2023
Palais Des Nations | Room VII
UNECE/WHO Protocol on Water and Health
13 – 14 Nov 2023
WTO | Room CR
Trade contributions to energy transition efforts concerning climate adaptation and mitigation | WTO CTE
13 Nov 2023 10:00 – 13:00
WTO | Room CR & Online
13 Nov 2023 18:00
UNIGE, Latsis Foundation
We are Zama Zama Film Screening and Special Issue Launch: The Lives of Extraction and The Afterlives of Extraction
13 Nov 2023 18:15 – 20:00
Auditorium A1A, Maison de la paix, Geneva Graduate Institute
13 Nov 2023 19:00 – 20:00
First meeting of the Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Benefit-sharing from the Use of Digital Sequence Information on Genetic Resources
14 – 18 Nov 2023
CICG & CCV
14 – 16 Nov 2023
10th WHO, WIPO and WTO Joint Technical Symposium | Facing the Future: Human health and climate change
14 Nov 2023 11:00 – 16:00
Palais des Nations | Room XVII & Online
WHO, WIPO, WTO
14 Nov 2023 14:00 – 17:00
Palais des Nations | Room XVIII
14 Nov 2023 14:00 – 15:00
Online | Zoom
14 Nov 2023 14:00 – 15:00
Online | Zoom
Geneva Peacebuilding Platform
14 Nov 2023 15:00 – 18:00
Palais des Nations | Room VIII & Online | Webex
14 Nov 2023 15:30
WTO | Room S3
15 – 17 Nov 2023
15 – 16 Nov 2023
15 Nov 2023 09:00 – 16:15
Palais des Nations | Room H/5-542 - H.542
15 Nov 2023 10:00 – 11:15
Online | Zoom
16 – 17 Nov 2023
International Environment House I, Room 2
16 Nov 2023 09:00 – 13:00
Palais des Nations | H/2-207 - H.207
Results from the Tracking Antimicrobial Resistance Country Self-Assessment Survey (TrACSS): Quadripartite webinar
16 Nov 2023 12:00 – 13:30
Online | Zoom
FAO, WHO, WOAH, UNEP
16 Nov 2023 14:30 – 16:30
Palais des Nations & Online
18 – 24 Nov 2023
19 Nov 2023
15 Nov 2023
16 Nov 2023
16 Nov 2023
16 Nov 2023
17 Nov 2023
17 Nov 2023
19 Nov 2023
Pro Natura Genève
23 Nov 2023
UNEP Resources and Markets Branch
07 Dec 2023
27 Nov 2023
30 Nov 2023
29 Nov 2023