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.

Image of the week | View of Geneva from Châtelaine, where the International Environment House is now based. Artist: Robert Gardelle (1682-1766). Property of the City of Geneva, acquisition Geneva Library.

Subsidiary Body of the Basel Convention Meets in Geneva

The thirteenth meeting of the Open-ended Working Group of the Basel Convention (OEWG-13) is meeting from 21 to 23 February, at the Geneva International Conference Centre, with pre-meetings, including Bureau and regional meetings, held on 20 February. The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal addresses concerns over the management, disposal, and transboundary movements of hazardous wastes produced worldwide, and was adopted more than 30 years ago. The group gathers for the first time since the decision taken in May 2022 at its 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to amend the Convention’s measures on e-waste, making all electronic and electrical waste subject to prior informed consent procedure.

2023 is another important year for the global governance of chemicals and waste, and the prevention of pollution. OEWG-13 will consider developments of other ongoing negotiations, including the:

  • Intergovernmental negotiating committee to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution (1st session in November-December 2022, and upcoming sessions in May and November 2023)
  • OEWG on a Science-Policy Panel to contribute further to the sound management of chemicals and waste and to prevent pollution (last session in January 2023)
  • International Conference on Chemicals Management (5th session in September 2023)

→ Follow the negotiations through the Earth Negotiations Bulletin (ENB) coverage

End Plastic Pollution Updates

Plastic Pollution INC-2Preparations for the upcoming second session of the intergovernmental negotiating committee to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution (INC-2), taking place in Paris from 29 May to 2 June 2023, enter into another phase as the Secretariat is taking stock of the 237 written submissions received. → Our update Towards Plastic Pollution INC-2 provides information on perspectives from Geneva and news in the run-up to the conference.

Plastics and the Ohio Train Derailment | On 3 February, a 50-car train carrying hazardous materials derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, USA. The train was transporting vinyl chloride, a polymer used to make the polyvinyl chloride (PVC), one of the most widely-used types of plastics. Reactions came from all over the world, highlighting that the accident is a reminder that plastic is poison, from oil extraction, to its production, its use, and to its disposal. → Articles addressing the accident include:

Trashion: The stealth export of waste plastic clothes to Kenya | Report Launch | This new report issued last week by Clean Up Kenya and Wildlight for the Changing Markets Foundation, highlights how used clothes exported from European countries to Kenya are impossible to be upcycled and fill up landfills. Out of the more than 900 million items that reach Kenya each year, 300 million of these items are made of synthetic or plastic fibres, exacerbating the plastic pollution crisis. → Read the report 

Environment House Guest Discussion | Reindeer Herders and Resilience

On the occasion of the visit to Geneva of the Secretary General of the Association of World Reindeer Herders and Executive Director of the International Centre for Reindeer Husbandry, and other international experts, a discussion on the reindeer herders’ challenging situation is being organized at the International Environment House. Register to join the discussion

Support from the International Environmental Community for the Release of Niloufar Bayani and her Colleagues

Monday 20 February marks 1853 days since the arrest of Niloufar Bayani – a former UNEP consultant – and other environmental conservationists working for the Persian Wildlife Heritage Foundation. The international environmental community has launched solidarity messages and renewed its calls for release. Among those, conservation icon Jane Goodall wrote a letter on Iraninan Amnesty. To raise awareness on Niloufar and her colleagues, the Geneva Environment Network and the Geneva Roadmap 40/11 for Environmental Human Rights Defenders, hosted a session on 14 February. This served as an occasion to gather memories and hopes from Niloufar’s former UNEP colleagues, and to call attention on the importance of fully implementing the Resolution 40/11 for the protection of environmental human rights defenders. An online petition has been launched to support the release. Find further resources in our update

The world faces a triple planetary crisis and at this time we need everyone with the qualifications, experience and expertise, like Niloufar, to help protect this beautiful planet that we call home.
— David Boyd, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment

Happening Abroad

5th Session of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC-5) on Marine Biodiversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBJN) | IGC-5 will resume in New York from 20 February to 3 March 2023. The waters beyond national jurisdiction, known as the high seas, comprise nearly two-thirds of the ocean’s area, but only roughly 1% is protected. Following more than a decade of discussions held under the United Nations General Assembly, WWF highlights that the new global agreement to be adopted will be critical to achieving the global ocean conservation targets agreed in December by 196 countries at COP15 under the Global Biodiversity Framework. → Follow the negotiations through the ENB Coverage

New Appointment

A new appointment in leadership positions in environmental international Geneva has been announced:

  • Arnold Kreilhuber has been appointed to the position of Director of the Regional Office for Europe of the United Nations Environment Programme, effective early May 2023. Arnold Kreilhuber is a national of Austria with professional experience in the field of environmental diplomacy, policy and law. Prior to joining UNEP in 2005, Arnold worked in the governmental, non-governmental and in the private sector. He held multiple responsibility roles in UNEP, the most recent being deputy director and acting director of UNEP’s Law Division. Among his key professional achievements is the repositioning of the Montevideo Environmental Law Programme, efforts aimed at improved governance of natural resources, human rights and the environment, or the support he provided to multilateral environmental processes, including the implementation of, compliance with, and enforcement of multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), among others. In 2012, he led the planning and organization of the first World Congress on Justice, Governance and Law for Environmental Sustainability as part of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20).

Upcoming Geneva Environment Network Events

Other upcoming events convened or co-convened by the Geneva Environment Network include:

What (Else) to Read Next?

  • State of Global Environmental Governance 2022 | Jennifer Allan, Elena Kosolapova, Tanya Rosen, Jessica Templeton, Lynn Wagner | IISD | 15 February 2023
    With the pent-up need for countries to agree how to address climate finance, plastic pollution, biodiversity loss, and other pressing environmental issues, a tidal wave of in-person negotiations swept through 2022.
  • Franz Perrez appointed head of the FDFA’s Directorate of International Law | FDFA | 15 February 2023
    Franz Perrez, who currently heads the International Affairs Division at the Federal Office for the Environment, will take up his post on 1 July 2023.
  • Draft Pandemic Accord Neglects Prevention, Particularly ‘Zoonotic Spillover’ | Kerry Cullinan | Health Policy Watch | 15 February 2023
    The draft pandemic accord needs more emphasis on preventing pandemics at their source – where animal pathogens “spill over” to people – according to a number of organizations participating in a consultation on the document’s “zero draft” on Wednesday.
  • Bridging climate and global health negotiations | Yiyao Yang | Geneva Health Files | 15 February 2023
    “Addressing the priority of climate change-imposed health risks should be reflected at every level of the negotiations and in the international agenda including in the Pandemic Accord.”
  • Comment: We can’t afford to let perfection be the enemy of companies taking climate action | Maria Mendiluce of We Mean Business Coalition | Reuters | 14 February 2023
    Accountability is key and businesses must deliver against their commitments. Yet the implication that all corporate climate action is tantamount to greenwashing is simply wrong. Many companies are making incredible progress and charting the course for others to follow.
  • Gabon, Jamaica and Sri Lanka unite to fight hazardous skin lightening products | Global Mercury Partnership | 14 February 2023
    The three countries have joined forces to reduce the environmental and health toll of the skin lightening industry. The $14-million initiative will support a holistic approach to eliminate mercury from skin lightening products and promote the beauty of all skin tones.
  • FAO publishes its first Global Assessment of Soil Carbon in Grasslands | FAO | 14 February 2023
    This study shows how improved management practices in grasslands can boost the capacity of the soils to store carbon, becoming an important ally to achieve climate goals. The study offers indications of hotspots where soils’ carbon-absorption capabilities need to be preserved or improved.
  • The Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework takes important steps for social and environmental justice | Ameyali Ramos, Carolina Rodríguez, Aquilas Koko Ngomo | ICCA Consortium | 9 February 2023
    After years of negotiations and many COVID-induced delays, Indigenous Peoples and local communities successfully advocated for key forms of recognition, marking a new minimum standard in the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. The ICCA Consortium’s international policy team provides an initial analysis of the key outcomes of COP15
  • Draft report on Impact of new technologies for climate protection on the enjoyment of human rights (A/HRC/AC/29/CRP.2) | Human Rights Council Advisory Committee | 9 February 2023
    The Human Rights Council Advisory Committee will hold its 29th session from 20 to 24 February 2023 in Palais des Nations, Room XX. In this session, the Advisory Committee will have before it the draft report submitted by the drafting group on the impact of new technologies for climate protection on the enjoyment of human rights.
  • Appel à soummission pour l’étude “Locali” | APRÈS (Réseau genevois de l’économie sociale et solidaire), Haute école de gestion (HEG) de Genève, SIG, Canton de Genève
    L’objectif de cette étude est de poser cette question à l’ensemble des Genevoises et Genevois: quels biens et services de proximité souhaitez-vous trouver dans votre quartier, qui vous rendent à la fois service et vous permettent de diminuer votre empreinte écologique?
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Head, Agriculture Team

30 Jun 2023




Programme Management Officer – P3

23 Feb 2023

UNEP Chemicals and Health Branch

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