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 Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, or visit our website regularly for additional updates.
Minamata Convention Turns Five
The Minamata Convention on Mercury entered into force on 16 August 2017, on the 90th day after the date of deposit of the 50th instrument of ratification, acceptance, approval or accession. To celebrate its fifth anniversary, the Secretariat of the Convention is proposing various activities. Stay tuned on social media for updates.
- Monday 15: Becoming a Party Fact-sheet
- Tuesday 16: Article based on science and quotes (published on UNEP website)
- Wednesday 17: Mercury and gender course
- Thursday 18: Video on the Specific International Programme
- Friday 19: Photo contest
Human Rights and the Environment Updates
Impact of New Technologies for Climate Protection on the Enjoyment of Human Rights
As requested by HRC resolution 48/14, the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee is preparing a report on a study on “the impact of new technologies for climate protection on the enjoyment of human rights”, to be presented at HRC54 in September 2023. Last week, the 28th session of the committee discussed the preliminary outline and research questions of the report. The Center for International Environmental Law raised concerns about the terminology used in the report, emphasizing the importance of differentiating climate-altering technologies and measures (CATM) from other proven technologies, like renewable energy, and of critically assessing the impacts of CATM on human rights. Read more →
Belarus to Withdraw from Aarhus Convention
Last week, human rights experts condemned Belarus’ decision to withdraw from the UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention). While the Aarhus Convention has been and continues to be an important tool to strengthen access rights, sustainable development and environmental democracy in the region, UN experts denounced the government’s decision, emphasizing that measures for the protection of environmental human rights defenders are urgently needed in Belarus. Read more →
Toxics and Human Rights
Pursuant to HRC resolution 45/17, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights will undertake an official visit to Paraguay in October 2022. Interested individuals and organizations working on issues related to toxics and human rights and implications for human rights of the environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes concerning Paraguay are invited to provide input for the preparation of his visit by 15 September. Read more →
Happening Abroad: Focus on Marine Biodiversity
Early August, the Assembly of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) met for its 27th Session in Kingston, Jamaica. Formed as an independent organization under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) where Parties organize and control all mineral-resources-related activities. The discussions took place in the context of a growing momentum for a moratorium on deep seabed mining, where the alliance launched by Palau, Fiji, and Samoa at the UN Ocean Conference in June is gaining support. NGOs active in marine conservation are welcoming the switch to a more prudent tone in discussions on deep-sea mining at ISA. The DeepSea Conservation Coalition provides useful resources and updates to follow these negotiations.
The momentum we saw for a moratorium at the UN Ocean Conference is accelerating. There is a growing understanding of the inherent harm if this new extractive industry goes forward, and a sense that barreling ahead to meet an arbitrary deadline is simply reckless. It’s time to press pause.
Jessica Battle, Lead No Deep Seabed Mining Initiative, WWF — Read more →
From 15 to 26 August, UN Member States are gathering in New York for the 5th Session of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) on the biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (BBNJ). Following the adoption of UNGA resolution 72/249, these negotiations aim to establish a legally binding instrument under UNCLOS on the conservation and sustainable use of marine BBNJ. While governments could not conclude negotiations at IGC-4 as initially planned, IGC-5 could see significant progress on the remaining key issues for the draft treaty. Many Geneva-based actors are engaged in this process to reduce anthropogenic pressures on marine biodiversity. Among others, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) provides insightful resources for delegates to prepare for the negotiations.
International Congress of Ecology | INTECOL 2022
We are now two weeks away from the 13th International Congress of Ecology (INTECOL 2022), a great opportunity to learn more about biodiversity and ecology, meet experts from around the world, and engage in discussions on pressing environmental issues right here in Geneva. Registration is still open for those who wish to join the many sessions, workshops and excursions the program offers.
Two hybrid networking sessions are proposed in the margins of INTECOL 2022. These events are open to Geneva communities, and registration to INTECOL is not needed to attend. Register on our website and do not miss these events connecting ecology experts and the Geneva international community on topics that are at the center of the global environmental agenda:
- The Value of Nature: Finance for Biodiversity | 30 August, 17.30 – 19.00 CEST
- The Triple Planetary Crisis: Breaking Silos | 31 August, 13.00 – 15.00 CEST
Local Activities for a Green and Tasty Summer
From 19 to 21 August 2022, enjoy products from the Geneva region at the 4th edition of Festi’Terroir in Parc des Bastions. This festival is dedicated to promoting local and organic food production and raising awareness on responsible practices related to food. A large market will create opportunities to meet producers, food artisans and winemakers from Geneva, and take part in various workshops offered by the numerous associations involved in sustainable agriculture and responsible consumption. The food we choose and the way we consume it affect our health and that of our planet. → Find more resources on how to contribute to more sustainable agri-food systems in our update.
Geneva offers many other activities to do before the start of the new school year :
- Discover unique species at the Bioparc Geneva, including many endangered species from Switzerland and abroad
- Explore indigenous alternatives to environmental injustices at the last week of the special exhibit of the Musée d’ethnographie de Genève
- Learn more about plants and related professions through workshops at the Botanical Garden
- Find more activities to enjoy in Geneva and around in our Green Summer update
What (Else) Should I Read Next?
- One Health for the Future: Three Pathways Against Tomorrow’s Crises | Foraus | August 2022
Using insights from citizens and experts gathered through a participatory process the Geneva Health Forum, this brief presents policy pathways to address pressing challenges, including zoonotic diseases, antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and food safety and security threats. The report highlights the importance of One Health as a holistic policy approach to tackle present and future health risks and presents concrete policy recommendations for decision-makers.
- Even low levels of air pollution can damage health, study finds | The Guardian | 12 August 2022
Three new studies in Canada, US and Europe revealed the troubling impact of air pollution in regions with relatively clean air. Negative impacts on health were observed even with concentrations of pollutants that were at about one half of the latest World Health Organization guideline. Researchers are calling for new approaches to prevention and critical review of the ‘safe’ levels of air pollution.
- The Arctic has warmed nearly four times faster than the globe since 1979 | Mika Rantanen, Alexey Yu. Karpechko, Antti Lipponen, et al. | Communications Earth & Environment | 11 August 2022
While many previous research pointed out to the “Arctic amplification” phenomenon, by which the Arctic warms faster that other parts of the globe, new climate models indicated that this impact may have been underestimated. The results indicate that the Arctic may experience warming almost four times faster than other regions.
- Pandemic face masks could harm wildlife for years to come | James Ashworth | Natural History Museum | 4 August 2022
New study using community science observations from around the globe found that plastic debris resulting from discarded protective equipment threaten wildlife for years or decades to come. The increased use of single-use plastics during the pandemic has accelerated the plastic crisis.
- New report: Sustainability standards expand, though pace slows | ITC | 12 August 2022
More farm and forestry land than ever is used to grow sustainable commodities, though the pace of expansion is slowing. The growing popularity of certified goods helps ensure the production and trade of more agricultural commodities that promote environmental quality, social equity and economic prosperity.
- World had “one of three warmest Julys on record” | WMO | 9 August 2022
The world had the third warmest July on record, with prolonged and intense heatwaves affecting parts of Europe. Antarctic sea ice was the lowest for July on record, according to Europe’s Copernicus Climate Change Service.
- One million people displaced by drought in Somalia | UNHCR & NRC | 11 August 2022
More than 755,000 people have been internally displaced in Somalia because of the severe drought this year, bringing the total figure to 1 million people since January 2021 when the drought began, according to displacement figures released today by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).
- Civil Society & IPs to FAO: End Indefinite Agreement With Croplife, Ensure Accountability | Pesticide Action Network International | 15 August 2022
Representatives of civil society & Indigenous Peoples organizations called on the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to end its existing agreement with CropLife International (CLI), to publicly clarify the nature of its ties with the pesticide industry, and to subject these ties to greater transparency and accountability.
21 Jun – 15 Sep 2022
03 Aug – 05 Sep 2022
Rotonde du Mont-Blanc
UNESCO, City of Geneva
19 – 21 Aug 2022
Parc des Bastions
City of Geneva, BioGenève, Genève Terroir
15 Aug 2022
15 Aug 2022
15 Aug 2022
UNEP Europe Office
16 Aug 2022
17 Aug 2022
11 Sep 2022
17 Aug 2022
Gold Standard Foundation
18 Aug 2022
19 Aug 2022
Gold Standard Foundation
19 Aug 2022
UNEP Disasters and Conflicts Branch
21 Aug 2022
21 Aug 2022
21 Aug 2022
21 Aug 2022
26 Aug 2022
Course in Geneva
12 – 16 Sep 2022
Geneva Academy & Online
GHRP, Geneva Academy
21 Feb 2024
20 Feb 2024
11 Dec 2023