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Image of the week | A round of applause for the Chair of the 77th Meeting of the CITES Standing Committee, Naimah Aziz, for leading participants through a very long agenda and completing it on time, at the International Conference Center Geneva, on Friday 10 November 2023. © IISD/ENB, Kiara Worth. WWF issued a press release on the outcomes of the meeting.

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.

This week:

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:

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.

The 2023 edition will take place under the theme Preventing antimicrobial resistance together, from 18 to 24 November 2023. Various events will take place in Geneva and beyond including this week:

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