The Geneva Environment Network’s weekly newsletter includes the latest information on the global environmental agenda, main events, job vacancies, 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 Geneva Environment Network Secretariat will be closed from 24 December 2021 to 5 January 2022.

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.

Image of the week | Season’s Greetings – Background image: 20 December 1971, United Nations, Geneva. Maurice Strong, Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, during a staff meeting. (Photo Credit: UN Photo)

Towards the UN Environment Assembly

The resumed segment of the fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5.2) – the highest decision-making body on environmental matters in the UN system – is scheduled to take place from 28 February to 2 March 2022. It will consider remaining substantive matters related, including the draft resolutions and a Ministerial Declaration under the theme of the Assembly, “Strengthening Actions for Nature to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals”.

The Geneva Environment Network and other stakeholders are hosting various events in preparation for this major milestone. Stay tuned with our dedicated webpage, regularly updated with draft resolutions, preparatory events, programmatic details, and other useful information. Among the key topics to be discussed at UNEA:

  • Plastic pollution will be one of the key issues debated at UNEA-5.2, as two draft resolutions for starting negotiations on an international agreement have been submitted (CIEL and EIA published a comparison table on the potential resolutions on plastic pollution to be adopted). The Geneva Beat Plastic Pollution Dialogues, co-organized with partners, provide useful resources for preparing for the negotiations. Three more dialogues are planned before UNEA. Join us for the next session on 13 January 2022, on the UN System Response to Marine Litter and Plastic Pollution, presenting the UN Environment Management Group report.
  • The potential establishment of the science-policy panel for chemicals, waste and pollution is another core topic for the International Geneva community to be addressed at UNEA. Last week, a session co-convened by Albania, Mali, North-Macedonia, Switzerland and Uruguay with the support of UNEP and the Geneva Environment Network, provided key insights about the relevance of such a platform and details about the draft resolution tabled for UNEA. Read the summary and watch the video.

Observing the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness

In December 2020, as the world was grappling with the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, the UN General Assembly decided to set the date of 27 December as the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness. As exemplified by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, major infectious diseases and epidemics have devastating impacts on human lives, wreaking havoc on long-term social and economic development.

As the global community turns its attention to how to best prevent and prepare for future epidemics, environmental considerations should not be forgotten. Habitat degradation, illegal wildlife trade, and intensive livestock farming are increasing and modifying interactions between animals and humans and thus play a role in the outbreak of epidemics.

One Health has been recognized as a key component of epidemic prevention, preparedness and response. Incidentally One Health provides valuable insights for the development of international collaboration on global health, for example in the context of current debates on a prospective pandemic treaty. Read more about epidemic preparedness and the One Health approach in our update.

End of the Year & Sustainable Season’s Greetings

The COVID-19 pandemic continued impacting nearly every aspect of the global environmental agenda in 2021. In the run-up to various negotiations, major meetings and UN days, we have enjoyed collaborating with many of the 100 institutions or secretariats in the Geneva region contributing to the global environmental agenda, to tackle the climate, biodiversity loss and pollution crises we are facing

In 2021, the Geneva Environment Network organized or co-organized 48 multi-stakeholder events and other 25 outreach and networking events, mostly online, in addition to 5 student information sessions with universities. 2021 also led to tremendous landmark achievements, some of which are highlighted in memorable quotes here. Click here for the list and summaries of our events, and the list of our upcoming events, including, in addition to the one mentioned above:

In this period of the year, many of us look forward to spend time with loved ones, maybe around a delicious meal or while sharing a few gifts. In these joyful times, let’s avoid setting the environment aside by inviting more sustainable habits into our homes:

In these challenging times, that let to some landmark achievements, including the adoption at the Human Rights Council of a resolution recognizing the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, we would like to thank Switzerland, our partners and stakeholders for the continued support, collaboration and for continuing to make Geneva a global hub for international environmental governance.

During this season, we take time to reflect upon the good things we have, including our partnership with you. The Geneva Environment Network team appreciates working with you and wishes you a very merry and environmentally-friendly holiday!

What (Else) Should I Read Next?

  • New global studies show health threats throughout the plastics supply chain | IPEN | 13 December 2021
    Two new studies by the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) highlight the significant threats that plastics pose to human health and ecosystems throughout their life cycles. Health effects of the toxic chemical additives and pollutants found in plastics include higher risks of cancer and endocrine disruption, which can lead to reproductive, growth, and cognitive impairment. Health and environmental groups are calling for international action to control plastic chemicals, and the scaling down of plastics production, to curb growing crisis.
  • Rights groups call for plastics treaty as countries split over two versions | Geneva Solutions | 14 December 2021
    Last week, over 600 organizations urged states to pen a global treaty to tackle the environmental and health impacts of plastics. Meanwhile, governments are preparing for negotiations at UNEA-5.2 with two potential resolutions on the table.
  • New initiatives seek to put environment at heart of trade discussions | WTO | 15 December 2021
    Co-sponsors of three new environmental initiatives met jointly and vowed to put environmental concerns at the heart of future trade discussions. WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala joined ministers from the initiative co-coordinators, heads of international organizations and representatives from business and civil society groups in welcoming the initiatives.
  • The Global Wetland Outlook: Special Edition 2021 | Ramsar Convention | 15 December 2021
    This special edition shows wetlands offer unmatched opportunities for reducing emissions, adapting to climate impacts and reversing biodiversity loss. However, wetlands remain the world’s most threatened ecosystem, and action to prevent further loss and degradation is urgently needed.
  • Reflecting on 30 Years of the GEF | GEF |  10 December 2021
    Publication produced to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Global Environment Facility, with contributions from across the GEF community, including reflections from governments, agencies, conventions and other partners on three decades of collaboration.
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19 Apr 2022

Towards UNEA-5.2

20 Feb 2024

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