“The Geneva Environment Network’s weekly newsletter includes the latest information on the global environmental agenda, main eventsjob vacancies, learning opportunities, as well as other useful resources and updates. Stay tuned and follow us on X (Twitter)FacebookLinkedInInstagram, and Youtube, or visit our website regularly for additional updates. 

Image of the week | H.E. Amb. Matthew Wilson, Permanent Representative of Barbados to the World Trade Organization delivering its statement during the Geneva Beat Plastic Pollution Dialogue “Plastics Pollution and Environmentally Sustainable Plastics Trade: Call for Action“, which presented the outcomes of the WTO’s 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) related to the Dialogue on Plastics Pollution and Environmentally Sustainable Plastics Trade (DPP) and explored the next steps of the initiative.

World Heading to Ottawa for Plastics Treaty Negotiation

This week, stakeholders from all over the world will be heading to Ottawa, Canada for the fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment (INC-4). While negotiations formerly start on 23 April 2024, pre-meetings will begin this week, including the regional consultations on Sunday. → Follow the Earth Negotiations Bulletin coverage of the event and visit our regularly updated page Towards Plastics Pollution INC-4.

This week, three sessions of the Geneva Beat Plastic Pollution Dialogues will discuss important aspects for an ambitious plastics treaty:

Other events taking place this week in preparation for INC-4, include:

In preparation for the negotiation session, stakeholders are releasing analyses and tools, including:

Obligations to Address Climate Change

Last week, important decisions and statements on States’ obligations with regard to climate change were issued:

  • The European Court of Human Rights delivered a landmark ruling in one of the three cases concerning climate change, on 9 April 2024. The top human rights court in Europe considered that in the case Verein KlimaSeniorinnen Schweiz and Others v. Switzerland, the Swiss authorities are not taking sufficient action, despite their duties under the European Convention of Human Rights, to mitigate the effects of climate change. The case, concerning a complaint by four women and a Swiss association, was judged to have found a violation of Article 8 (right to respect for private and family life) and of Article 6 § 1 (access to court) of the Convention. The landmark case is expected to bolster climate litigation not only in the region but globally, as the ruling clarifies that States have the responsibility to combat climate change to protect human rights. → Read more on the decision.
  • The European Court of Human Rights has, on the other hand, ruled that the two other climate-related cases were considered inadmissible:
    • Carême v. France | The Court found that the former resident and mayor of Grande-Synthe did not have victim status under Article 34 of the Convention. The complaint submits that France has taken insufficient steps to prevent global warming.
    • Duarte Agostinho and Others v. Portugal and 32 Others | Concerning how the current and future severe effects of climate change, which the applicants attribute to the respondent States, impact their lives, well-being, mental health and the peaceful enjoyment of their homes, the Court found that the six young Portuguese nationals had not used the legal avenues available to them in Portugal to bring their complaints and had not, therefore, exhausted domestic remedies.
  • The International Court of Justice issued a statement last week on the advisory proceedings on the Obligations of States in respect of Climate Change, announcing that 91 written statements have been filed in the ICJ Registry, the highest number of written statements ever to have been filed in advisory proceedings.

This week, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to development is conducting virtual consultations, which will inform the following two thematic reports for 2024: (a) a report to the General Assembly on “Climate justice: Loss and damage”; and (b) a report to the Human Rights Council on “The right to development of children and future generations”. The first consultation will take place this week on 16 April 2024, from 10:00 – 11:30 CEST. → Learn more about the consultations and kindly register through this link.

Release of Niloufar Bayani and Other Iranian Conservationist

Last week, Niloufar Bayani and other environmental conservationists working for the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation (Miras Parsian) at the time of their arrest, were released on the occasion of Iranian New Year and Eid, after more than 6 years in prison, and are now free with their families. At the time of her arrest, Niloufar had been working in Iran for only 6 months, to monitor the critically endangered Persian or Asiatic cheetah. Niloufar worked for UNEP in Geneva from 2012 to 2017 and her release brings immeasurable joy to her friends and former colleagues in Geneva and around the world.→ More on Niloufar Bayani and other environmental conservationists formerly detained in Iran

Upcoming Deadlines: Registrations and Calls for Submissions

2024 World Day for Safety and Health at Work | The Global Event “Ensuring safe and healthy working in a changing climate” will take place on 25 April. As climate change intensifies, workers around the globe find themselves at increased risk of exposure to hazards such as excessive heat, ultraviolet radiation, extreme weather events, air pollution, vector-borne diseases and agrochemicals. The aim of this global event is to explore the impacts of climate change on workers’ safety and health, bringing attention to the global health threat workers are currently facing. On this occasion, the International Labour Organization will launch a NEW global report on “Ensuring safety and health at work in a changing climate”. To join in person, please contact the ILO SafeDay team by 17 April at safeday@ilo.org.

Various calls for submissions regarding the environment have deadlines coming up soon, including:

  • 13th United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights | Call for Session Proposals | The 2024 UN Forum on Business and Human Rights is calling for session proposals for this year’s programme. To be held under the theme “Realizing the ‘Smart Mix of Measures’ to protect human rights in the context of business activities“, this Forum will offer participants a multi-stakeholder platform to explore key trends and prospects at the national, regional, and global levels in relation to the implementation of the UNGPs through a “smart mix”. The deadline for submission is 19 April 2024.
  • Grand Jet d’Or Award | Call for Abstracts | The 10th edition of the Geneva Health Forum will be held under the theme “Health, A Common Good!” As part of its mission to advance academic research on key societal challenges and contribute to human progress, the AXA Research Fund is teaming up with the GHF to introduce a new call for the 2024 Grand Jet d’Or de Genève Award: “Health and medical solutions to address the adverse effects of pollution on humans.” The Grand Jet d’Or de Genève 2024 focuses on the nexus of pollution and its health impacts to support a research team engaged in researching or implementing research-based projects focusing on health treatment, measurements, use of data, and community involvement in addressing pollution-related health issues. The deadline to submit project abstracts is 21 April 2024.

More Happening Abroad

23rd Session of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues (UNPFII 23) | The session is taking place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 15 to 26 April 2024. The UNPFII is one of three UN mechanisms specifically addressing Indigenous Peoples’ issues, focusing on economic and social development, culture, education, environment, health, and human rights. The theme of the 23rd session is “Enhancing Indigenous Peoples’ right to self-determination in the context of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples: emphasizing the voices of Indigenous youth”.

78th Session of the United Nations General Assembly Sustainability Week | Taking place at the UN Headquarters in New York, from 15 to 19 April 2024. Building on the momentum generated by the September 2023 SDG Summit, a focus on sustainability is key for critical sectors of the economy to meaningfully contribute to a prosperous future for present and future generations and to ensure that the benefits of progress are shared equitably, leaving no one behind. The week will feature various high-level and informal discussions, events, debates and meetings as well as the Global stocktaking marking the completion of the UN Decade of Sustainable Energy for All to further accelerate the implementation of SDG 7 of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

9th Our Ocean Conference | The Conference taking place in Athens, Greece from 15 to 17 April, focuses on the theme ‘An Ocean of Potential’. The Conference aims to foster collaborative efforts and encourage the submission of clear and measurable voluntary commitments to protect and sustainably manage the world’s seas and oceans and their resources.

What (Else) to Read Next?

  • Financing for Development at a Crossroads: 2024 Financing for Sustainable Development Report | UNDESA | 11 April 2024
    The world is facing a sustainable development crisis and financing challenges are at the heart of the crisis and imperil the SDGs and climate action. The report notes that the Fourth International Conference on Financing for Development in 2025 will be a last chance to correct course if we want to achieve the SDGs by the 2030 deadline.
  • Climat : les jeunes manifestants peuvent-ils encore peser sur les négociations pendant les COP ? | The Conversation | 11 April 2024
    Ainsi, plus les jeunes militants font entendre leur voix pour améliorer les sommets mondiaux sur le climat, moins ils sont bienvenus. C’est l’histoire que nous raconte l’évolution du pouvoir symbolique des jeunes lors des COP, pour l’instant en tout cas.
  • Is the Atlantic Overturning Circulation Approaching a Tipping Point? | Stefan Rahmstorf | Oceanography | 10 April 2024
    The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation has a major impact on climate globally. Paleoclimatic data show it has been unstable in the past, leading to some of the most dramatic and abrupt climate shifts known. These instabilities are due to two different types of tipping points, one linked to amplifying feedbacks in the large-scale salt transport and the other in the convective mixing that drives the flow. These tipping points present a major risk of abrupt ocean circulation and climate shifts.
  • US sets first standard to curb ‘forever chemicals’ from drinking water | Reuters | 10 April 2024
    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Wednesday announced its first-ever drinking water standard to protect people against toxic “forever chemicals” found in many household and everyday items, and offered $1 billion to states for public water system testing, the agency’s first major move to curb the cancer-causing chemicals.
  • March 2024 – 10th consecutive record warm month globally | Copernicus | 9 April 2024
    March 2024 is the tenth month in a row to be the hottest for the respective month in the ERA5 data record, going back to 1940. The findings are included in the latest Climate Bulletin of the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S). The global oceans have seen 12 consecutive months of record high surface temperatures.
  • Belize Becomes the First Caribbean Nations to Ratify the High Seas Treaty | High Seas Alliance | 9 April 2024
    Since it was adopted on 19 June 2023, 88 countries have signed the High Seas Treaty, thereby expressing their intention to proceed to ratification, and three have ratified it: Palau, Chile and Belize. A further 57 countries must ratify the Treaty for it to enter into force and become the world’s first international law to mandate the conservation and management of biodiversity beyond national jurisdictions (BBNJ) by enabling the establishment of High Seas marine protected areas, and regulating potentially harmful activities through comprehensive environmental impact assessments.
  • Public Enemies: Assessing MDB and G20 international finance institutions’ energy finance | Oil Change International & Friends of the Earth U.S. | 9 April 2024
    The findings reveal that the wealthiest G20 nations are the primary culprits behind continued investments in fossil fuels. The report also highlights where there has been momentum to end international public finance for fossil fuels, finding that if countries keep their existing commitments to end not only coal finance but also oil and gas finance, it would shift $26 billion annually out of fossil fuels by the end of 2024.
  • A just energy transition needs more than benefit-sharing: a view from the Atacama Salt Flat | Nicolás M. Perrone | IIED | 9 April 2024
    The global narrative about the low-carbon energy transition focuses on climate mitigation and adaptation. However, extracting the critical minerals to power the so-called ‘green economy’ would affect local communities in the global South; their situation and views are rarely considered.
  • The world generated 62 million tonnes of electronic waste in just one year and recycled way too little, UN agencies warn | ITU | 8 April 2024
    As we focus on the world’s larger sustainability and development challenges, we need to come to terms with the fact that e-waste is one of the world’s fastest-growing waste streams.
  • Trade and Environment at the World Trade Organization: State of Play and Entry Points | TESS | 5 April 2024
    Aligning trade, environment, and sustainable development policies is a critical challenge for global governance, which will require enhanced cooperation among governments and stakeholders at the World Trade Organization.
  • Fashion Crimes | The European Retail Giant linked to dirty Brazilian cotton | Earthsight| 5 April 2024
    The world’s largest fashion brands use cotton linked to land grabbing, illegal deforestation, violence, human rights violations and corruption in Brazil.
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Conference

Democracy and Climate Roundtable

16 Apr 2024 14:30 – 16:30

Maison de la Paix | Petal 1 | Room P1-850 & Online

IHEID, Kofi Annan Foundation

Afterwork

Festival Explore 2024

20 – 27 Apr 2024

Various Locations

Republic and State of Geneva

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17 May 2024

Ongoing Contests