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, some 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.

Photo of the week: the #WeAreWatching flag flying high at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, close to the line of zero degrees longitude – the symbolic center of time and space, on 27 August 2021, as part of its journey to Glasgow for COP26. This monumental eye – a participative project lead by the Geneva-based artivist Dan Archer – is a reminder for leaders that, as they decide the future of our planet, citizens around the world are watching.

Preparing for the UN Climate Change Conference

Heads of state, negotiators, experts, and campaigners will soon gather in Glasgow at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) for the most consequential climate conference since the Paris Agreement. Expectations for the meeting are high, with many critical items to be discussed among world leaders.

Ahead of this major event, the United Kingdom Permanent Mission in Geneva joins the Geneva Environment Network for a Briefing on the opportunities and challenges to addressing climate change on 21 October. Speakers from various facets of the climate agenda will lay out what to expect from the conference. They will share their insights on the political dynamics, negotiations, and how to take forward the progress to be made in Glasgow to the implementing arm of international climate action in Geneva. The event will also present one of the Earthshot Prize Finalists. Register and join us at 9.30 CEST, at Palais des Nations (limited places) or online.

Meanwhile, citizen mobilization for the climate continues with a worldwide action on Friday 22 October. In Geneva, a coalition of civil society organizations is calling on citizens to join them to ask for a swift and socially just transition for the planet. The demonstration will start at 16.00 CEST from the Place Lise Girardin and head toward the Palais des Nations.

Also to note that international Geneva has issued various landmark reports in the past weeks and months on the urgency for climate action. Among these, WHO released last week the COP26 Special Report on Climate Change and Health “The Health Argument for Climate Action”, proposing 10 recommendations with a set of priority actions from the global health community to governments and policy makers, calling on them to act with urgency on the current climate and health crises.

Preparing for the Online Segment of the Minamata Convention COP-4

Under the presidency of Indonesia, the 4th Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP-4) will 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.

In order to prepare for this important conference and to share all relevant information, an Executive Briefing organized within the framework of the Geneva Environment Network will take place on 19 October. The Minamata Convention secretariat will outline the items of the COP-4 agenda to be considered during its online segment and provide an overview of logistical aspects such as the organization of work, practical arrangements, and other technical matters related to the participation in the online segment. This session comes in complement to the Minamata Online series of digital engagement, organized by the Convention Secretariat to further clarify the Convention’s provisions, as well as policy and scientific aspects. Register on Webex and join us at 10.00 CEST.

Parties to the Aarhus Convention Meeting in Geneva and Online

The seventh session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention MOP7), the fourth session of the Protocol on Pollutant Release and Transfer Registers (Protocol on PRTRs MOPP4), their joint High-level Segment and associated meetings are taking place this week, at Palais des Nations and online. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the entry into force of the Aarhus Convention, an occasion to celebrate the major milestones achieved to promote environmental democracy and safeguard access to information, participation, and justice.

Key points out of the two side events we held last in preparations of these meetings:

  • The accession of Guinea-Bissau to the Aarhus Convention at this Meeting of the Parties is a milestone, as it opens the Convention to new realities relating to the situation of a developing country with its specific challenges, as discussed at last week’s side-event welcoming.
  • Last week, the UN Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights presented how the PRTRs Protocol can be an instrument for the right to know and the right to science. Consult the webpage of the event.

Ambition for Biodiversity at Kunming

The first part of the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP-15) closed last Friday, with the participation of 2918 delegates in Kunming, and 2478 online, and included as main outcomes:
  • High Level Segment of the Meeting adopted Kunming Declaration, with countries committing to negotiate effective post-2020 global biodiversity framework due to be agreed in 2022,
  • Kunming Biodiversity Fund established by the Government of China ($233 million USD),
  • Commitments by governments and agencies enabling early implementation of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework,
  • Interim budget approved.

Overview of the outcomes of the conference available on Earth Negotiation Bulletin, CBD press release and on UN News.

The adoption of the Kunming Declaration was welcomed by many institutions and organizations as a clear signal of the urgency to address biodiversity loss. However, civil society organizations also warn that much efforts still has to be made to translate this ambition into action. The landmark post-2020 global biodiversity framework is due to be adopted at part two of the UN Biodiversity Conference in May 2022, following further formal negotiations in January 2022.

Wednesdays for the Planet | Alpaqueros

Wednesdays for the Planet is back this week, presenting the documentary “Alpaqueros” by Mercedes Lamborelle. This documentary fosters a dialogue among all the actors in the value chain and how we need to protect and value alpacas, Peru’s historical heritage, and their noble guardians. Join us online on 20 October at 13:30 CEST to explore with the film director and experts from ITC and UNCTAD the sustainability of our trade and fashion value chains.

Working Together for a World Without Lead Paint

The International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week 2021 kicks off on Sunday 24 October. This week of action is an initiative of the Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint (the Lead Paint Alliance), jointly led by UNEP and WHO. The primary goal of the Alliance is to promote the global phase-out of lead paint through the establishment of appropriate legally binding measures to stop the manufacture, import, export, distribution, sale and use of lead paints in every country. International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is an opportunity to draw attention to the need for action on lead paint and other sources of lead exposure.

What (Else) Should I Read or Listen Next?

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Event | Body Meeting

2050Today Focal points Meeting

19 Oct 2021 10:00 – 12:30

Room B, Centre de conférence Genève

2050Today

Event | Demonstration

Climate Strike Geneva

22 Oct 2021 16:00

From Place Lise-Girardin to Place des Nations.

Association Climat Genève

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UNEP

Job | Consultant

Trade expert

18 Oct 2021

UNEP Resources and Markets Branch

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Updates

Update

Wednesdays for the Planet

12 Oct 2021