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.

The GEN Secretariat will be closed from 23 December 2022 to 3 January 2023. This newsletter exceptionally covers activities for the upcoming three weeks.

Image of the week | Festive season arrives in the city. Jardin Anglais and La Rade, Geneva, 18 December 2022.

UN Biodiversity Conference: The Time for Action is Now

The UN Biodiversity Conference will soon conclude in Montreal, with now only a few hours left to reach a nature deal. → Stay tuned with the Earth Negotiations Bulletin or watch live on CBD Live Youtube channel.

Last week, delegates discussed several streams in contact groups and plenary, including on the global biodiversity framework (GBF), the financial mechanism, digital sequence information, mainstreaming, resource mobilization, and capacity building and technical and scientific cooperation. On Sunday, delegations have been reviewing the President’s KunmingMontreal Global biodiversity framework” drat text, released in the morning. Some comments from stakeholders highlight that many of the targets are a strong step in the right direction, and show ambition.

COP15 is one of our best chances to prevent a catastrophic extinction crisis. For the sake of all life on the planet, I urge you to bring the negotiations of the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework to an ambitious & successful conclusion with human rights at its core.

— Volker Türk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, 12 December 2022

This is not a gathering to save the Earth. We are here to save ourselves, our sons and daughters, and many generations to come. With lifeless oceans, rivers, empty mountains and deserts, the Earth will survive – but our civilization may not.

— Csaba Kőrösi, President of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly, 15 December 2022

Negotiators need to bring back ambition. […] A weak agreement is not acceptable. Governments must choose the right side of history!

— Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International, 16 December 2022

Recent news on the UN Biodiversity Conference from partner organizations and other stakeholders include:

Ending Plastic Pollution Agenda: Preparing 2023

While 2022 marked a milestone for plastic governance with the launch of the negotiations towards a global plastic treaty, governments will have to keep up the pace in 2023 with the ambition to finalize the instrument by the end of 2024. In May 2023, the second session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC-2) will take place in France. At the first meeting (INC-1), governments requested the secretariat to prepare a document to be considered at INC-2 with potential options for elements towards an international legally binding instrument, based on a comprehensive approach that addresses the full life cycle of plastics as called for by UNEA resolution 5/14.

The INC Secretariat invites Members of the Committee and observers to provide written submissions. The deadline is 6 January 2023 for observers, and 10 February for Members of the Committee. All written submissions must be sent to unep-incplastic.secretariat@un.org. The statements received will be compiled and made available the INC webpage.

Other recent news on plastic pollution include:

End of the Year and Season’s Greetings

Year in Review

As 2022 comes to an end, it is time to reflect on this busy year for environmental governance. Following the setbacks due to the COVID pandemic in 2020 and 2021, major negotiations and intergovernmental meetings in Geneva and beyond, led to landmark decisions to tackle the triple planetary crisis. Relive these moments in our selection of quotes for 2022

In 2022, the Geneva Environment Network organized 56 multi-stakeholder events, supported partners in hosting numerous other events, and welcomed 20 groups of students at the International Environment House. We also kept the Geneva community informed of environment-related activities and issues through our weekly newsletter and web resources. → Access videos and summaries of past events and list of upcoming events

We would like to thank Switzerland, our partners, and other stakeholders for their continued support and collaboration, and for continuing to make Geneva a global hub for international environmental governance.

We look forward to continue our support to the Geneva environmental community in 2023!

Sustainable Season’s Greetings

In this holiday season, we invite our audience to keep the environment at heart and invite sustainable habits into their homes:

  • Are you planning a feast? What about focusing on quality instead of quantity? By planning ahead and sharing leftovers, we may avoid food waste and its negative environmental, social and economic impacts.
  • Are you preparing some gifts to express your love and care to those around you? Consider all your alternatives to offer gifts that have a low environmental impact. Read on suggestions from experts on how to waste less and give greener. Some further resources on sustainable consumption are provided by some of our partners.
  • Looking for some activities to complete your holiday program? Our page “Green Winter in Geneva” showcases our selection of environment-related cultural activities, outdoor excursions, conferences, and more in Geneva. For film lovers, we suggest watching “Chaos in the climate of the Sundarbans“, an insightful documentary that premiered earlier this year at the INTECOL conference.

End-of-Year Closures

  • The Geneva Environment Network Secretariat will be closed from Friday 23 December 2022 to Tuesday 3 January 2023, inclusive.
  • The cafeteria of the International Environment House will be closed from Monday 26 December 2022 to Friday 6 January 2023, inclusive.

What (Else) to Read Next?

  • IUCN Restoration Barometer Report 2022 | IUCN | 12 December 2022
    Designed for countries that have committed to restore landscapes under international goals or agreements, the Restoration Barometer tracks the progress of restoration targets across all terrestrial ecosystems including coastal and inland waters. The 2022 report demonstrates the progress made by the 18 reporting countries and shows the importance of enabling structures, such as policies and funding, for the long-term positive impacts of restoration to be realized.
  • World Wildlife 2023 Theme Announcement | CITES | December 2022
    The CITES Secretariat unveiled the theme for World Wildlife Day 2023: “Partnerships for Wildlife Conservation”. The day taking place on 3 March will highlight that sustaining existing partnerships and building new ones is critical for the future of life on earth. This upcoming year, World Wildlife Day will mark CITES’ 50th anniversary, an occasion to recognize the achievements made and its significant contribution to sustainability, wildlife and biodiversity conservation.
  • Peru: Toxic discharges threaten the health of millions and right to safe drinking water, says UN expert | OHCHR | 15 December 2022
    Ghana: Toxics exposure violating human rights, urgent action needed, says UN expert | OHCHR | 13 December 2022
    After their respective country visits to Peru and Ghana, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation and the Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights warn of the human rights impacts of toxic pollutants. The experts are calling on the respective governments to urgently address these issues and strengthen the protection of people and the environment against hazardous substances.
  • Managing the Risks from an Increasingly Likely Overshoot of 1.5°C – The role (if any) of solar radiation modification  | C2G | 12 December 2022
    Janos Pasztor, Executive Director of the Carnegie Climate Governance Initiative (C2G), shares insights on the role of climate-altering measures and technologies in the context of climate change, highlighting the need to address the question of the governance of such technologies. The piece also presents C2G strategic objectives for 2023, with the consideration of solar radiation management at the UN General Assembly as a central element.
  • Request for Advisory Opinion to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea | Commission of Small Island States on Climate Change and International Law | 12 December 2022
    The Commission of Small Island States (COSIS) on Climate Change and International Law requested the first advisory opinion on climate change from International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS). This historic proceeding before ITLOS is the first inter-State case addressing the international legal obligations of States with regard to climate change. This initiative is complementary to and in support of the UNGA Resolution for an Advisory Opinion from the International Court of Justice (ICJAO) launched by Vanuatu days before.
  • Sign-on Letter – Support the climate change and human rights resolution (ICJ-AO) at the UNGA | Climate Action Network International | 15 December 2022
    The ICJAO resolution on climate change tabled by Vanuatu is expected to be voted upon at the UN General Assembly next year. Civil society is highly mobilized in this campaign, which could set an unprecedented legal record on States’ obligations with regard to climate change. Organizations willing to show their support are invited to sign this letter.
  • UN report warns Europe and North America on course for sustained damage from air pollution to health, ecosystems, food production and climate in absence of strengthened measures | UNECE | 16 December 2022
    This report reviews the effectiveness of international cooperation on cleaner air in the framework of the UNECE Convention on Long-range Transboundary Air Pollution (Air Convention). Results reveal that emission reductions have been achieved, however, countries in the Pan-European region and North America are still set to suffer long-term damage from air pollution to human health, ecosystems and crop yields, also exacerbating climate change. The report calls for further targeted emission reduction measures across sectors.
  • Fossil Fuel Subsidies Tracker | IISD & OECD | December 2022
    Latest data compiled by IISD and OECD on governmental support to the fossil industry shows that subsidies and other forms of support for fossil fuels surpassed 700 billion USD in 2021 globally. Governments around the world have spent at least 326 billion USD on petroleum, 211 billion USD on electricity and 172 billion on natural gas.
  • Accelerated action needed to ensure safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene for all | WHO | 14 December 2022
    WHO and UN-Water published last week the 2022 edition Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS), detailing the latest status of WASH systems in more than 120 countries. Findings show that, while there has been an increase in WASH budgets in some countries, over 75% of countries reported insufficient funding to implement their WASH plans and strategies.
  • 2022: a year of milestones on the road to implementing sustainable finance | UNEP FI | 7 December 2022
    The UNEP FI team takes stock of the year gone by, during which the initiative continued to drive the finance industry’s ambition on delivering sustainable global economies and showcased our members’ progress. Learn more about the progress achieved this year to align finance with sustainable development, as well as challenges and opportunities when looking to 2023.
  • Outcomes of the Chemicals and Waste Negotiations Briefing | GEN | 7 December 2022
    This briefing, organized within the framework of the Geneva Environment Network, reviewed the outcomes of the negotiations related to chemicals and waste in 2022, and presented the important conferences scheduled in 2023.
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