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, or visit our website regularly for additional updates.

Due to the developments in the sanitary situation, most institutions in Geneva are 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.

Regional Forum on Sustainable Development

The 2021 Regional Forum on Sustainable Development for the UNECE Region will be held under the theme “Sustainable and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and action and delivery on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, with a specific focus on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1, 2, 3, 8, 10, 12, 13 and the 2020 targets. The hybrid plenary sessions will take place on 17-18 March 2021 (consult the programme).

Various roundtables and side events in the run-up to the Regional Forum will address environmental issues, including topics of sustainable production and consumption, climate resilience and ambition, and sustainable cities, among others. This week:

The Clothes We Wear | Wednesdays for the Planet

Fast fashion comes at an astonishing environmental and social cost. While the impacts of the fashion industry in terms of pollution, water use, carbon emissions, human rights, and gender inequality are increasing, the need for a shift to sustainable fashion is evident. Organizations in Geneva and beyond are joining efforts to shift the fashion economy and foster international cooperation on the issue. See our update on Environmental Sustainability in the Fashion Industry for more information.

This week episode of Wednesdays for the Planet – our series of virtual screenings and presentations for educational purposes, non-profit and non-commercial – will present the documentary “The Clothes We Wear“, investigating the environmental impact of the fashion industry and eco-friendly labels in the sector. Join us on 17 March 2021 at 13.30 CET to discover the film and gain insights from experts from UNCTAD, ITC, UNECE, and Better Cotton Initiative.

Environment @ HRC46

The 46th regular session of the Human Rights Council (HRC46) continues this week in Geneva and virtually. Our update on HRC-46 provides relevant information, links and other resources regarding the environmental-related activities of this session. Notable outcomes from last week included statements calling for global recognition the right to a healthy environment, delivered by:

Read and watch the outcomes of the two parallel events to HRC46 we co-organized:

Celebrating International Day of Forests

The International Day of Forests, held on 21 March every year, celebrates and raises awareness of the importance of all types of forests. The theme for 2021 – “Forest restoration: a path to recovery and well-being” – emphasizes how restoring forests can help us build a healthier world for ourselves and for future generations. By replanting and managing forests sustainably, we can help preserve our planet’s biodiversity and combat climate change while fostering economic activity that creates jobs and improves lives as we enter the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030).

FAO is hosting a global high-level event to celebrate the Day on 19 March 2021. Register and join online at 11.00 CET. Our update on the International Day of Forests provides more information on the importance of forests, their role to build back better, as well as actors and initiatives in International Geneva on forests.

Environmental Peacebuilding | Road to Geneva

The Geneva Dialogue on Environment, Climate, Conflict, and Peace (ECCP), convened by the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform (GPP), aim to improve the exchange between environmental and peacebuilding communities. A facilitated discussion on Exploring nature-based solutions will take place on 16 March, at 14:00 CET.

Additionally, the GGP is developing a White Paper on the Future of Environmental Peacebuilding, in collaboration with the PeaceNexus Foundation, IUCN, and EnPAx. The White Paper on the Future of Environmental Peacebuilding is a policy-oriented document, to be developed through a reflexive, consultative, multi-stakeholder process. It aims to deliver a strong, cogent message about the future of the field to the Stockholm+50 forum in June 2022. Institutions are welcomed to submit contributions by 16 April.

A call for proposals for the Second International Conference on Environmental Peacebuilding, to be held in Geneva in 2022, has been launched. The partners invite proposals for presentations, panels, roundtables, and posters to be delivered at the conference.  Practitioners, researchers, activists, students, journalists, and others are encouraged to contribute. The deadline for priority consideration is 15 April 2021.

A core group of researchers and practitioners from EnPAx and UNEP are collaborating to assess the environmental peacebuilding applications of digital and frontier technologies. The report team is opening a call is for submissions for developers, researchers, policymakers and practitioners to share cases from their work demonstrating novel applications of digital and frontier technology (e.g. machine learning and neural language processing, blockchain, mobile phone applications, remote sensing, or mapping) to advance environmental peacebuilding goals. Abstracts can be submitted for consideration by 19 March 2021.

More information on environmental peacebuilding can be found in our update on the Road to Geneva and other processes leading up to the Second International Conference on Environmental Peacebuilding.

Geneva Beat Plastic Pollution Dialogues

Last Thursday, the High-Level Dialogue on Plastic Governance closed the first series of the Geneva Beat Plastic Pollution Dialogues, aiming to facilitate further engagement and discussion among the stakeholders in International Geneva and beyond. The dialogues, organized in collaboration with the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions Secretariat, the Center for International Environmental Law, the Global Governance Centre at the Graduate Institute, Norway, and Switzerland, addressed the plastic crisis and supported coordinated approaches that can lead to more efficient decision making.

Interventions by high-level speakers clearly showed that the status quo will not be accepted and that the time for action is now. Recognizing the important work of the Ad-hoc expert group on marine litter and microplastics, and the valuable progress made through existing instruments and initiatives at the global, regional and national level, the dialogue focused on the way forward. Speakers called for action and support to start negotiations on a global agreement to address plastic pollution through the life cycle. The video recording and full summary are available online. An overview of the key messages emerging from the series is provided in the summarized outcomes, underlining the state of discussions on plastic pollution in multilateral fora, reasons and scientific evidence for concerns about plastics and recommendations to move forward.

A Global Science-Policy Body on Chemicals and Waste

According to scientists, the lack of a science-policy interface is limiting decision makers ability to identify and address the related to chemicals and waste pollution in a timely manner. Mobilizations are ongoing to establish a global science-policy body on chemicals and waste. Consult the articles published recently and the call for support issued by the International Panel on Chemical Pollution (IPCP).

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