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.
Climate Change: Widespread, Rapid, & Intensifying
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released on 9 August the Summary for Policymakers of the Working Group I (WG I) contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) on the science of climate change, approved by its 195 member states. This report is the first of three parts of the AR6. The second part on the Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, and the third part on Mitigation of Climate Change, will be released in February and March of 2022, respectively. The AR6 Synthesis Report is expected to be published in September 2022.
The thirteen-chapter report entitled, “Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis“, provides the most recent physical understanding of the climate system and climate change, from bringing together the latest advances in climate science, to combining multiple lines of evidence from paleoclimate, observations, process understanding, and global and regional climate simulations. The report states that human’s role in the rapid warming of ocean, land, and atmosphere is “unequivocal” and that this is already affecting us today evidenced by the extreme weather we are experiencing, from heatwaves, tropical cyclones, heavy precipitation, and droughts. Global temperatures are also reported to increase until at least mid-century, all emission scenarios considered, and such increase are projected to further intensify the global water cycle affecting every region around the world. Despite these, the report also states that from a physical science perspective, limiting human-induced warming also means reaching net-zero CO2 emissions and a strong reduction in other greenhouse gases. Should changes occur, there may be “discernible differences in trends of global surface temperature” within 20 years.
Image of the week | Changing by Alisa Singer from the cover of the IPCC’s latest report, “Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis”.
Join the Race Against the Climate Crisis
On 19 August 2003, a bomb attack on the Canal Hotel in Baghdad, Iraq, killed 22 humanitarian aid workers, including the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello. Five years later, the General Assembly adopted a resolution designating 19 August as World Humanitarian Day.
This year World Humanitarian Day focuses on the immediate human cost of the climate crisis by pressuring world leaders to take meaningful climate action for the world’s most vulnerable people. To get the world racing against the climate crisis clock, a global race challenge is being hosted on Strava, the world’s leading exercise platform. Run, ride, swim, walk or do any activity of your choice to take part in #TheHumanRace on Strava. Log 100 minutes of total activity between 16 and 31 August to demand climate action. Every minute of activity counts towards carrying our message to world leaders at COP26.
Re-Launch of Minamata Online
The Secretariat of the Minamata Convention on Mercury is holding a new series of free online sessions – Minamata Online 2 – in the run-up to the fourth meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP-4), scheduled to take place in two segments, a first segment to be conducted online within the period of 1 to 5 November 2021 and a second segment to be conducted in-person in the first quarter of 2022 in Bali, Indonesia.
To mark the fourth anniversary of the Convention, the Secretariat is launching a new website that provides a revamped design featuring data-driven information with enhanced user experience and accessibility. The launch takes place online on Monday 16 August, from 13:00 to 14:00 CEST.
On the Agenda Later This Month
Geneva Nature-based Solutions Dialogues
The Geneva Nature-based Solutions Dialogues – convened by the Geneva Environment Network and the International Union for Conservation of Nature – provide an opportunity to learn more about Nature-based Solutions (NbS) and their relevance to various debates ongoing in Geneva and beyond, in the lead-up to major negotiations. The next dialogue, Decent Work Through Nature-based Solution for an Inclusive Socio-Economic Recovery, will discuss how sustainable jobs, protecting ecosystems, and NbS intertwine and help contribute to building a stronger, greener future for all. Register now and join the webinar on 30 August 2021, 15:00 CEST.
Ending Plastic Pollution
In response to the global challenge of plastic pollution, Ecuador, Germany, Ghana and Vietnam are jointly organizing a Ministerial Conference on Marine Litter and Plastic Pollution – Informal consultations addressing the mandates of UNEA 3/7 and 4/6 towards the 5th UN Environmental Assembly (UNEA-5.2) supported by UNEP. The goal of the Conference, taking place in a hybrid format at the WTO premises in Geneva on 1-2 September 2021, is to build momentum and political will to advance a coherent global strategy to end marine litter and plastic pollution thus ensuring a future with clean seas.
Various events will take place in parallel to the Ministerial Conference.
- As part of efforts to improve global governance of plastic pollution, the Global Governance Centre at the Graduate Institute Geneva and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), alongside the Geneva Environment Network and other partners are inviting you to join an online public conference on the Global Governance of Plastic Pollution: Transforming the Global Plastics Economy on 30 and 31 August 2021, from 13:00-18:00 CEST.
- During the 7th edition of the Festival Alternatiba Léman (30 August to 4 September) – showcasing of concrete means and solutions for reducing emissions, through conferences, exhibits, stands, workshops and practical demonstrations, etc., with the participation of numerous local actors – the Geneva Environment Network will host an hybrid conference in French, on Plastics and Climate. Join us on 1st September at 19:45 CEST.
More to come, stay tuned!
Green Summer in Geneva
See our list of suggestions of environmental and nature-themed activities to safely entertaining this summer in Geneva: exhibitions, workshops, shows, contests, outdoor activities and online resources.
What (Else) Should I Read Next?
- Industrial accident in Leverkusen is reminder of continuous need to invest in prevention and preparedness for response | UNECE | 6 August 2021
The explosion in a chemical plant in the west of Germany that has caused the deaths of a suspected seven people on 27 July, has prompted concerns over the toxic compounds that were released into the surrounding area by the accident. According to UNECE this event should prompt us to “invest in prevention and triggers improved preparedness for response in a transboundary context.”
- Meaningful Public Participation in a COVID-19 World: Guiding Questions for Organizing International Negotiating & Meeting Spaces | CIEL | 29 July 2021
Showcases best practices and lessons learned from meetings throughout the pandemic. It is designed to be used in advocacy efforts to change inadequate policies and by meeting organizers in their session planning.
- More than 100 countries discuss visions for national food futures to accelerate global action ahead of September Summit | UN Food Systems Summit| 28 July 2021
Governments laid out their national pathways to address multiple aspects of food systems during the concluding day of the UN Food Systems Pre-Summit.
- Trade and the Circular Economy: A deep dive into plastics action in Ghana | Global Plastic Action Partnership and WEF | 2 August 2021
The report discusses Ghana’s plastic pollution challenge and how the transition to a circular economy can be supported by trade policy.
- Unlocking Nature-Smart Development | World Bank | 5 August 2021
One of a series of papers outlining the development challenges and opportunities associated with blue and green biodiversity and ecosystem services. Makes the case that the rapid global decline in nature is a development issue and proposes six global response areas intended to guide governments and inform broader discussions on how to integrate nature into development agendas.
01 Jul – 15 Sep 2021
16 – 31 Aug 2021
16 Aug 2021 13:00 – 14:00
Online | Webex
Minamata Convention on Mercury
19 Aug 2021
20 Aug 2021 15:00 – 17:00
16 Aug 2021
16 Aug 2021
UNEP Resources and Markets Branch
16 Aug 2021
17 Aug 2021
21 Aug 2021
18 Aug 2021
18 Aug 2021
18 Aug 2021
19 Aug 2021
20 Aug 2021
20 Aug 2021
21 Aug 2021
UNEP Disasters and Conflicts Branch
22 Aug 2021
UNECE Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents
26 Sep 2021
26 Sep 2021
Course in Geneva
24 Aug 2021
Espace de Concertation 3DD
Association la Fresque du climat
03 Aug 2021 – 01 Apr 2022