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. During the COVID-19 pandemic, some live events organized by organizations around the world, contributing to the global environmental agenda, have also been included. Stay tuned and follow us also on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, or visit our website regularly for additional updates.

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.

Nature-based Solutions and Food

Ahead of the UN Food Systems Summit taking place on 23 September in New York, IUCN, GEN ,and partners are hosting a dialogue on Nature-based Solutions and Food on Monday 13 September at 15.00 CEST. This session will showcase how adopting NbS approaches to better our food systems is essential to meeting the fundamental human right to food and contribute to multiple imperatives of the 2030 Agenda. Register and join us to learn how well-designed NbS can deliver the triple benefit of supporting agricultural production and resilience, mitigating climate change, and enhancing nature and biodiversity.

This session is part of the Geneva Nature-based Solutions Dialogues, convened by IUCN and GEN. The series aims to facilitate discussion among stakeholders in Geneva and beyond and establish a common understanding of NbS.

Environment @ 48th Session of the Human Rights Council

This week marks the start of the 48th session of the Human Rights Council (HRC48), running until 8 October. A number of environment-related issues will be on the agenda. Our update provides the latest news and highlights the environmental-related activities of this session. On the Agenda:

  • Climate Change: Thanks to the tireless efforts of the core group behind resolution 47/24 on Human Rights and Climate Change, adopted at HRC47, the possibility of creating a new special procedure addressing the adverse impact of climate change is now on the agenda of the Council. OP 15 of that resolution gives the impetus needed at the Council to discuss the establishment of the mandate of a Special Rapporteur on Climate Change and Human Rights, and the leadership it needs responding to the threat climate change represents to Human Rights. On Wednesday 15 September, the Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Marshall Islands will host the side event Addressing the adverse impact of Climate Change on the full and effective enjoyment of human rights. This event, co-sponsored by SIDS, will present the findings of the latest IPCC report (AR6 Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis Report) to the members of the Council in the context of existing and potential future work of the HRC, including the potential creation of a SR on Climate Change and Human Rights as a response to this crisis. Join on Webex Wednesday at 13:30 CEST.
  • Toxic substances: the Special Rapporteur on Toxics, Marcos Orellana, will present his report on the right to science in the context of toxic substances (A/HRC/48/61) at this session, and co-convening two side events next week.
  • Right to a Healthy Environment: The core group on Human Rights and the Environment – Costa Rica, Maldives, Morocco, Slovenia and Switzerland – is expected to put forth the resolution for the right to a healthy environment during HRC48. Join the call on states to unanimously recognize the right to a healthy environment.
  • Water: The Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation will present his thematic report on planning and vision of the mandate to the council on 15 September: a socio-environmental approach to the human rights to water and sanitation.

Montreal Protocol: Keeping Us, Our Food and Vaccines Cool

On Thursday 16 September we celebrate the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer / World Ozone Day. The date commemorates the adoption of the Montreal Protocol in 1985 when governments, scientists and industry worked together to cut 99% of all ozone-depleting substances. Thanks to the Montreal Protocol, the ozone layer is healing and expected to return to pre-1980 values by mid-century.

This year, we celebrate and acknowledge the Montreal Protocol and its Kigali Amendment in its wider efforts to keep us, our food, and vaccines cool. Our Update on this world day lists various resources and relevant information.

Happening Abroad

  • World Circular Economy Forum 2021 | virtually in Canada | 13 to 15 September 2021
    The annual World Circular Economy Forum (WCEF) presents the world’s leading circular economy solutions with business leaders, policymakers and experts participating from around the world. WCEF2021, co-organized by the Government of Canada and the Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra, with the support of many partners, will focus on the system-level changes, or “game changers,” needed to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. Among the various interesting sessions of the Forum, note the High-level meeting of the Global Alliance on Circular Economy and Resource Efficiency (GACERE) on 14 September, 12:00-14:00 CEST.
  • 76th Session of the UN General Assembly | virtually in New York | From 14 September 2021
    The 76th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 76) will open on Tuesday, 14 September 2021.The President-elect suggested to Member States the following theme for this session: “Building resilience through hope – to recover from COVID-19, rebuild sustainability, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people, and revitalize the United Nations”. The high-level General Debate will start Tuesday, 21 September 2021.

What (Else) Should I Read Next?

  • Our Common Agenda | UN Secretary General | 10 September 2021
    An agenda of action, designed to strengthen and accelerate multilateral agreements – particularly the 2030 Agenda. Contains recommendations across 4 broad areas for renewed solidarity between peoples and future generations, a new social contract anchored in human rights, better management of critical global commons, and global public goods that deliver equitably and sustainably for all.
  • IUCN Congress closes with call for a post-pandemic recovery based on nature | IUCN | 10 September 2021
    The Congress urged governments to implement a nature-based recovery from the pandemic, investing at least 10% of global recovery funds in nature, and adopted a series of resolutions and commitments to urgently address the interlinked climate and biodiversity crises.
  • Powering Nature Report on enabling Nature-based Solutions | WWF | 9 September 2021
    Protecting, restoring and enhancing natural ecosystems holds the potential to help tackle many of the challenges facing our planet – from climate change and nature loss to food insecurity – and to increase resilience to future risks. But these solutions need our support to overcome the structural barriers holding them back.
  • ‘COP26 must be postponed’ – Climate Action Network | CAN | 7 September 2021
    CAN, a global network of more than 1500 civil society organizations in over 130 countries working together to fight the climate emergency, has called for the UN climate talks to be postponed. An in-person COP in early November would de facto exclude many government delegates, civil society campaigners and journalists, particularly from Global South countries, many of which are on the UK’s Covid19 ‘red list’.
  • Call for emergency action to limit global temperature increases, restore biodiversity, and protect health | British Medical Journal | 6 September 2021
    Published in more than 200 health journals simultaneously, this joint editorial calls on governments to take urgent action to tackle the catastrophic health impact of climate change, emphasizing how environment and health are inextricably intertwined.
  • La diversité et le nombre d’insectes reculent dangereusement en Suisse | RTS | 7 September 2021
    A new report by the Swiss Academy of Science – available in French & German – warns that insect populations in Switzerland and their diversity are declining dangerously. It also offers recommendations in order to preserve these species, which are essential to functioning ecosystems.
  • Bande Dessinée Parole de Plastique | Tricrochet | September 2021
    Cette BD encourage de manière ludique et créative la réduction de la consommation et des déchets, illustre le parcours d’un déchet plastique, aborde l’origine du pétrole, la filière du plastique et ses méfaits sur l’environnement et la santé humain, présente des alternatives simples pour participer à la réduction de la consommation en général et des déchets au quotidien, et permet de comprendre l’ampleur de la pollution plastique et l’urgence d’agir.

Photo of the Week

This week’s newsletter photo was taken at the Climate Science and Humanitarian Dialogue “Unpacking the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 1.5°C report and the implications for policy and climate action”, a Talanoa Dialogue, that took place on 12 October 2018 at the Council Chamber of Palais des Nations. At this event H.E. Albon Ishoda of the Marshall Islands shared his concerns “1.5° is the ultimate compromise, anything over 1.5° jeopardizes the future of our islands, anything over 1.5° is simply uninhabitable”, and asked for the reading of Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner poem “2 Degrees”:

The other night my 1-year-old was a fever pressed against my chest. We wrestled with a thermometer that read 99.8 degrees, the doctor says technically 100.4 is a fever, but I can see her flushed face how she drapes across my lap, listless. LiPeinam is usually a wobbly walking toddler all chunks and duck footed shaky knees stomping squeaky yellow light up shoes across the edge of the reef. And I think what a difference a few degrees can make.

Scientists say if humans warm the world more than 2 degrees then catastrophe will hit. Imagine North American wildfires increasing by 400%, animal extinction rising by 30%, fresh water declining by 20%, thousands, millions displaced left wandering, wondering what happened? At a climate change conference, a colleague tells me 2 degrees is an estimate. I tell him for my islands 2 degrees is a gamble, at 2 degrees my islands, the Marshall Islands, will already be under water, this is why our leaders push for 1.5. Seems small, like 0.5 degrees shouldn’t matter, like 0.5 degrees are just crumbs, like the Marshall Islands must look on a map, just crumbs you dust off the table, wipe your hands clean.
Today LiPeinam is feeling better, she bobs around our backyard drops pebbles and leaves into a plastic bucket before emptying the bucket out and dropping pebbles in again. As I watch I think about futility, I think about the world making the same mistakes since the industrial revolution, since 1977 when a scientist said 2 degrees was the estimate.

On Kili atoll the tides were underestimated patients with a nuclear history threaded into their bloodlines, sleeping in the only clinic on island woke to a wild water world, a rushing rapid of salt, closing in around them a sewage of syringes and gauze. Later they wheeled their hospital beds out, let them rest in the sun, they must be stained rusted our people, creaking brackish from salt spray and radiation blasts so so tired, wandering wondering if the world will wheel us out to rest in the sun or will they just dust their hands of us, wipe them clean.

My father told me that idik – when the tide is nearest an equilibrium, is the best time for fishing. Maybe I’m fishing for recognition writing the tide towards an equilibrium willing the world to find its balance. So that people remember that beyond the discussions are faces all the way out here, that there is a toddler stomping squeaky yellow light up shoes walking wobbly on the edge of the reef not yet under water.”

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Global Commodities Forum

13 – 15 Sep 2021




Blockchain for SDGs

16 Sep 2021 18:00 – 19:45

1 rue Fendt, 1201 Geneva

Impact Hub Geneva

World Day

PARK(ing) Day 2021

17 Sep 2021

Various cities in Switzerland



The Meal 2021

18 Sep 2021 11:00

Parc des Evaux

The Meal

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16 Sep 2021

The Meal

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