The Geneva Environment Network’s weekly newsletter includes the latest information on the global environmental agenda, main events, job vacancies, as well as updates. Stay tuned and follow us also on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, or visit our website regularly for additional updates.
In light with the recent developments in the sanitary situation, institutions in Geneva are operating in hybrid format. Our update on COVID-19 and the environment lists relevant information.
Image of the week | H.E. Amb. Wael Aboulmagd, Special Representative of UNFCCC COP27 President-designate presenting Egypt’s vision for the upcoming climate conference, building on the outcomes of the recent IPCC WGII Climate Report, at the special briefing on the IPCC Climate Change 2022 Report: Impacts, Adaptation & Vulnerability, on 7 March 2022.
UN Biodiversity Negotiations Resuming in Geneva
The resumed sessions of the Convention on Biological Diversity twenty-fourth meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-24), the third meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI-3) and the third meeting of the Open-ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (WG2020-3) are convening in Geneva, from 14 to 29 March 2022. These meetings are an important milestone to tackle biodiversity loss as governments prepare to finalize and adopt the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) at the second part of the UN Biodiversity Conference in Kunming, later this year.
Due to sanitary measures, participation to the meetings is possible only for registered participants. However, other interested parties are welcome to watch live the plenary sessions. Join the side-events virtually, or physically attend additional parallel activities organized in the margins of the conference. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin is providing daily coverage of the meetings. → Consult our update on the CBD meetings for additional information.
Call for Action from Non-State Actors
A large number of non-State actors are joining their voices to call on governments to strengthen the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. The call aims to bring leaders’ attention on the critical importance of securing an equitable, nature-positive, net zero emissions world for current and future generations. Organizations can join this multi-stakeholder nature positive initiative. Signatures are accepted until COB Monday, 14 March 2022.
This call to action “Secure an Equitable and Nature Positive World” will be officially handed over to governments at the Geneva meetings (CICG, Level 1) on Thursday, 17 March at 13.30 CET.
Human Rights in Biodiversity
The shaping of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework is an opportunity to enable transformational change through human rights-based approaches. Rights-based approaches to conservation, sustainable use and benefit-sharing mean that biodiversity policies, governance and management do not violate human rights and that those implementing such policies actively seek ways to support and promote human rights in their design and implementation. Such approaches are essential to stop biodiversity loss and degradation in an equitable and sustained way.
In order to promote the integration of human rights, the Human Rights in Biodiversity Working Group, established in 2020 in Chiang Mai, published a third brief with recommendations on how to integrate and strengthen a human rights-based approach in the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework. The authors argue that, as for now, the human rights-related advancements are not sufficient and without further improvement the framework risks falling short of its ambition to achieve transformative change, they argue.
Two side-events this week will take a deeper dive into this important topic:
- How can the new Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) be a tool for strengthening rights-based forest protection and increased funding for indigenous peoples? | 18 March, 13.15 – 14.45 CET | FPP, Norway, RFN
This event will provide concrete input to formulations in the new GBF to ensure the rights of indigenous peoples and build actions and programs on their vast experience and knowledge in sustainable forest management, not only in area-based conservation targets but across the GBF. → Register for online participation
- Applying a Human Rights-based Approach in the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework | 19 March, 13.15 – 14.45 | GYBN, Swedbio, WWF, FPP, OHCHR, IIFB, CBD, GEN
This event will draw attention to the importance of human rights in the post-2020 GBF, create a common understanding of how a human rights-based approach to conservation works in practice, and further reflect on how applying this approach can help the effective, inclusive and equitable planning and implementation of the framework, as well as the associated monitoring and reporting. → Register for online participation
Gender, Health, Indigenous People, Finance, Trade, and More on the Agenda
Additional events open to stakeholders not physically at the Center, co-convened by Geneva stakeholders on topics of importance for international Geneva, with links available, include:
- Targeting Gender – Best Practices and Ways Forward |
- Trade related aspects of the goals and target system for post-2020 | BioTrade | 15 March, 13:15-14:15 CET
- How to use DaRT for increased national collaboration and reporting towards the 2030 targets |
- Finance and Biodiversity | Networking Breakfast | UNEP FI | Impact Hub, 16 Mar, 8:00-10:00 CET
Environment at the Human Rights Council
The 49th regular session of the Human Rights Council (HRC49) continues this week in Geneva, with a number of environmental topics on the agenda. Throughout the session, running until 1 April, regular updates on key issues at HRC49, side-events and further resources will be available on our dedicated webpage.
Last week, the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, in collaboration with the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Toxics, presented his report on “The right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment: non-toxic environment”. In his address to the council, David Boyd stated that “pollution and toxic substances affect the enjoyment of many human rights, especially the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, but also the rights to life, health, water, food, housing, and an adequate standard of living”. Emphasizing that securing a non-toxic environment is a human rights obligation, he urged States and businesses to vigorously pursue zero pollution and the elimination of toxic substances, and rehabilitate contaminated communities. Read more:
- Press release | Polluted planet: UN expert urges ambitious, urgent action to tackle human rights violations | OHCHR | 10 March 2022
- Toxic Pollution Demands ‘Immediate, Ambitious Action’ | Human Rights Watch | 10 March 2022
- Interview with SR Environment | UN environment expert: the world’s toxic wastelands have millions of residents | Geneva Solutions | 10 March 2022
This week, events of interest include:
- Interactive Dialogue – Special Rapporteur on the right to food presentation of the report on “Seeds, right to life, and farmers rights” | Monday 14 March, 12:00 CET
- Side Event – The human rights impact of climate change: an international and local challenge | OHCHR and the core group on the Special Rapporteur on Climate Change | Monday 14 March, 15:00 CET
New Threats to Human Security in the Anthropocene
A new Special Report on Human Security “New threats to human security in the Anthropocene: Demanding greater solidarity” launched last month by UNDP, will be presented and discussed at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy, in Maison de la paix, on Thursday, 17 March at 14:00 CET. The report shows that people’s sense of safety and security is at a low in almost every country, including the richest countries, despite years of upwards development success. Despite people on average living longer, healthier, and wealthier lives, these advances have not succeeded in increasing people’s sense of security.
To tackle this disconnect between development and perceived security, the report calls for greater solidarity across borders and a new approach to development. The report examines a cluster of threats that have shifted to become more prominent in recent years including those from digital technologies, inequalities, conflicts, and the ability of healthcare systems to tackle new challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic.
Spring Officially Started in Geneva
Every year in Geneva, the administrative secretary of the State Council and Parliament announces the arrival of spring, with the hatching of the first leaf of the chestnut tree of the Promenade de la Treille, a tradition that started in 1818. This year, the first leaf appeared on 10 March.
As days are getting longer, it is not only flowers that start to bud in the parks of Geneva, but also a wide range of green activities that are flourishing in this international city. From exhibitions and film screenings to creative workshops and outdoor activities, we invite you to learn more about the environment, reencounter local wildlife, explore nature trails and spend a “green spring” in Geneva. Discover our suggested activities in our dedicated webpage, which we will regularly update as the season goes.
What (Else) Should I Read Next?
- Protect our people and future generations: Water and Climate Leaders call for urgent action | WMO | 8 March 2022
Water and Climate Coalition leaders have issued a call for more urgent and united action “to protect our people and future generations” in the face of alarming new scientific evidence from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change of growing global threats to water availability and from water-related hazards.
- UNEA Resolution – ‘End Plastic Pollution’ – and IUCN role in implementation of the Treaty | IUCN | 9 March 2022
The agreement on the start of negotiations on a global plastics treaty at UNEA provides a strong message of hope that we can indeed eliminate plastic pollution from our environment with a multi-pronged approach and international cooperation, including through actors and processes in Geneva.
- Microplastics plus organic pollutants equals 10 times the toxicity, study finds | Mongabay | 4 March 2022
This new scientific study has found that interactions between microplastics and organic pollutants in aquatic environments can increase the toxicity of microplastics by a factor of 10. If ingested, for example through the food chain, these particles can pose a significant threat to human health.
- The Vitality of forests: Illustrating the evidence connecting forests and human health | WWF | 10 March 2022
A new WWF report demonstrates strong scientific link between forests and human health, providing strong arguments as to why decision-makers should be interested in forests’ role beyond their recreational, carbon sequestration, or biodiversity conservation potential.
- Environment and International Trade: Latest Developments in the WTO and Their Possible Implications | CUTS International | 7 March 2022
While 2022 should mark the long awaited conclusion of the fisheries subsidies negotiations at the WTO, this note provides a historical review of other work undertaken at the WTO on trade and environment issues. It further highlights latest development under three trade and environment initiatives: Trade and Environmental Sustainability Structured Discussions (TESSD); Informal Dialogue on Plastics Pollution and Sustainable Plastics Trade (IDP); and Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform (FFSR).
- Sanctioning Disciplined Grabs (SDGs): From SDGs as Green Anti-Politics Machine to Radical Alternatives? | Peter Bille Larsen, Tobias Haller & Ashish Kothari | 9 March 2022
Researchers from the University of Geneva and Bern provide a review of the potential of the SDGs as a game changer to address the deep-running sustainability challenges facing the planet. In a critical perspective, the authors identify four fundamental dynamics undermine or severely hamper SDGs, and propose constructive ways forward.
- Historic Victory for West African Forests | CIEL | 11 March 2022
Parties at the 74th Standing Committee meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) took decisive action to address illegal trade of rosewood.
- Highlights of the 4th Session of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) on the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Marine Biological Diversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ) | IISD ENB | 11 March 2022
Entering the fifth day of the session, delegates continued discussing text related to area-based management tools, including marine protected areas, holding in-depth discussions on international cooperation and coordination, and decision making.
- Pacts, Protests and the Legacy of COP26 | The Green Renaissance Podcast | 31 January 2022
Recorded in the months after COP26, the final episode of the Green Renaissance Podcast dives into the legacy of Glasgow asking a crucial question: are we actually now better placed to tackle the climate crisis? Leading experts and youth representatives share their answers.
- COP26-COP27 Briefing on the IPCC Climate Change 2022 Report: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability | United Kingdom & Geneva Environment Network | 7 March 2022
Outcomes of the briefing discussing the latest climate report.
- Conservation NGOs at Risk | University of Geneva, IUCN CEESP, Earthjustice, Geneva Environment Network | 9 March 2022
Outcomes of the launch of the report Conservation NGOs at Risk and following discussion.
28 Feb – 01 Apr 2022
Palais des Nations | Room XIX & Online
10 Mar – 31 May 2022
14 – 29 Mar 2022
International Conference Center Geneva
HRC49 Virtual Event | The human rights impact of climate change: an international and local challenge
14 Mar 2022 15:00 – 16:00
OHCHR, HRC Core Group on Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Climate Change
14 Mar 2022 17:00
15 – 18 Mar 2022
15 Mar 2022 14:00 – 15:30
15 Mar 2022 15:00 – 16:30
15 Mar 2022 17:00
Online | Zoom
UNRISD, IDRC, Climate and Development Knowledge Network
16 Mar 2022 08:00 – 10:00
Impact Hub Geneva
World Social Work Day 2022 | Positioning Social Work in an Eco-Social World: Building New Partnerships and Alliances
16 Mar 2022 11:00 – 16:00
Online | Zoom
Briefing | WTO initiatives on environment & sustainable development: windows of opportunity for biodiversity
17 Mar 2022 13:00 – 14:00
Online | Zoom
TESS, GCRF Trade, Development and the Environment Hub, UNEP Resources and Markets Branch
Official Handover of the Non-State Actors’ Nature Positive Call to Action to Government Negotiating the Global Biodiversity Framework
17 Mar 2022 13:30 – 14:00
International Conference Center Geneva | Level 1
17 Mar 2022 14:00 – 16:00
17 Mar 2022 14:00 – 15:15
Maison de la Paix & Online
UNDP Geneva, GCSP
18 Mar 2022 10:00
CBD Side Event | How Can the New Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF) Be a Tool for Strengthening Rights-Based Forest Protection and Increased Funding for Indigenous Peoples?
18 Mar 2022 13:15 – 14:45
CICG Room ABC & Online
FPP, Norway, RFN
CBD Side Event | Applying a Human Rights-based Approach in the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework
19 Mar 2022 13:15 – 14:45
CICG | Room ABC & Online
GYBN, Swedbio, WWF, FPP, OHCHR, IIFB, CBD, GEN
14 Mar 2022
14 Mar 2022
21 Mar 2022
14 Mar 2022
15 Mar 2022
15 Mar 2022
15 Mar 2022
15 Mar 2022
15 Mar 2022
15 Mar 2022
24 Mar 2022
15 Mar 2022
16 Mar 2022
17 Mar 2022
20 Mar 2022