The Geneva Environment Network’s weekly newsletter includes the latest information on the global environmental agenda, main eventsjob vacancies, learning opportunities, as well as other useful resources and updates. Stay tuned and follow us also on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn, and Youtube, or visit our website regularly for additional updates.

Image of the week | Participants discovering the biodiversity of the Eaux Vives Lagoon during the outdoor visit Éveil du Léman organized by the Association pour la Sauvegarde du Léman. Since 2020, the morning visits allow participants to discover the flora and fauna of Lac Léman with experts on the subject. Discover upcoming visits and other outdoor activities to learn about biodiversity in Geneva and beyond in our Green Summer in Geneva 2023 update. © Robin Pittet, 17 August 2023

Countdown to the 54th Session of the Human Rights Council

Ahead of the 54th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council (HRC54), taking place in Geneva from 11 September to 13 October 2023, the Geneva Environment Network and its partners are convening an information-sharing session on activities and events related to the environment taking place during this session.

Environmental issues are highly present in various agenda items of HRC54, as the Council tackles toxics and human rights, water and sanitation, rights of indigenous peoples, and climate change. This event will seek to discuss and share information on planned environment-related activities at and around HRC54, such as in-person and online events, publications, or exhibitions, among others, and exchange on possible synergies. They will feed the Geneva Environment Network page on HRC54 which will provide an updated calendar of these environment-related events. → Join the info-sharing session in-person at International Environment House 1, in room 2, or online on Tuesday, 22 August 2023, at 10:00 CEST, and submit relevant information on your events.

Advancing on Environmental and Sustainability Aspects of Resources Management

Minerals and metals are essential for meeting the increasing global demand for clean technologies and instrumental for the achievement of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. Nevertheless, minerals and metals management presents environmental challenges and is highly dependent on countries’ administrative and regulatory capacities. For these reasons, at the fourth and fifth UN Environment Assemblies, Member States have raised the importance of international cooperation to address environmental sustainability aspects of mineral and metals management and governance.

With the Global Intergovernmental Meeting on Minerals and Metals taking place on 7 and 8 September 2023 in Geneva, back-to-back with a dense program of events at the 2023 edition of the World Resources Forum, the first week of September 2023 will put the spotlight on the environmental and sustainability aspects of minerals and metals management. A briefing organized by the co-chairs of the process Pakistan and Switzerland in the framework of the Geneva Environment Network will invite a varied panel of stakeholders, including UNEP colleagues highly involved in the organization, to provide updates on the preparations ahead of the Global Intergovernmental Meeting and their expectations on the process. → Register to attend in person or online on 23 August 2023 from 11:00 to 12:30 CEST.

Participation to the Global Consultation in person (for UNEP-accredited stakeholders) or online will be possible until 1 September 2023 through registration on Indico.

Towards ICCM5: From Geneva to Bonn

The Fifth Session of the International Conference on Chemicals Management (ICCM5) organized by the United Nations Environment Programme and hosted by the government of Germany who holds the presidency, will take place from 25 to 29 September in Bonn, Germany. The meeting will be preceded by the resumed fourth meeting of the Intersessional Process considering the Strategic Approach and the sound management of chemicals and waste beyond 2020 (IP4.3) and regional meetings, and will feature a High-Level Segment on 28 – 29 September. Recognizing the important benefits chemicals offer society while contributing to the triple planetary crisis by negatively affecting human and environmental health, ICCM5 aims at addressing the global pollution crisis and promoting multisectoral solutions. As action is necessary from all sectors,  participants of the High-Level Segment are expected to adopt a high-level declaration and make commitments that will raise political awareness and shape global chemicals and waste management in the years to come.

With preparations for ICCM5 in full swing, the SAICM Secretariat and the Geneva Environment Network are organizing a multi-stakeholder briefing that will provide updates on preparations and the way forward. Register and join us in person or online on Thursday 24 August 2023 from 11:00 to 12:30 CEST.

Extreme Weather is the “New Norm” | New Heatwave Hitting Geneva

Extreme weather events, from heatwaves to heavy precipitation, wildfires and flash floods have made the headlines more frequently in the past years, leading the WMO to claim that extreme weather is the “new norm”, with high confidence of human-induced climate change being the main driver. While the wave of high temperatures is expected to continue in various European countries during the last weeks of August 2023, wildfires and hurricanes continue to hit countries, causing environmental, economic and health damages. Recent recent include:

While remaining cautious and adapting activities to high temperatures, Geneva offers exciting summer activities to those enjoying their summer break. From water sports to hikes in shaded forests, to exhibitions and theater plays, our update lists activities for all age groups to enjoy a Green Summer in Geneva. A recent article published by the Tribune de Genève proposes to find freshness along the Voiret, a river in the Lancy region, behind villas and tall buildings, offering the generous shade of its banks, including a few parks and play areas for children.

Taking Place Abroad

  • World Water Week 2023 | The annual World Water Week taking place in Stockholm, Sweden and online opened on 20 August and will close on 24 August 2023. Gathering participants from around the world, the 2023 edition will discuss Innovative Solutions for a Water-Wise World, reshaping water management to ensure future sustainability.
  • Seventh GEF Assembly | The Seventh GEF Assembly will gather ministers, government officials, business leaders, environmentalists, leaders of international agencies, and environmental conventions along with representatives of youth groups, civil society, and Indigenous Peoples in Vancouver, Canada from 22 to 26 August 2023. The GEF Assembly will be a critical stocktaking for 2030 goals to end pollution and nature loss, combat climate change, and propel inclusive, locally-led conservation. Expected outcomes include the launch of the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund, following the decision taken at the Convention on Biological Diversity COP15 summit in December 2022. → Follow the live coverage of the 7th GEF Assembly by the Earth Negotiations Bulletin.

What (Else) to Read Next?

  • Aligning nature-positive investments with biodiversity richness | UNEP-FI | 17 August 2023
    While no amount of money could be the panacea to our humanity’s broken relationship with nature, a mapping exercise assessed the state of governments’ expenditure on environment protection (as % of GDP) on the background of their countries’ biodiversity richness.
  • Ending the toxic trail of small-scale gold mining | UNEP | 16 August 2023
    Mercury is a toxic chemical that can cause irreversible brain damage and disrupt ecosystem health. There is no known safe exposure level for elemental mercury in humans, and effects can occur at even very low levels. Many governments are taking action to implement safer standards under the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which aims to comprehensively regulate the element throughout its life cycle, from production to use to disposal. But enforcement is not always consistent, especially in rural areas and developing nations, giving rise to unsafe artisanal operations.
  • 25 Countries, Housing One-quarter of the Population, Face Extremely High Water Stress | World Resources Institute | 16 August 2023
    New data from WRI’s Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas show that 25 countries — housing one-quarter of the global population — face extremely high water stress each year, regularly using up almost their entire available water supply. And at least 50% of the world’s population — around 4 billion people — live under highly water-stressed conditions for at least one month of the year.
  • WMO publishes global update of climate datasets | WMO | 15 August 2023
    Comprehensive new climate datasets have just been published after a massive two-year effort by members of the WMO and the US National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI). The updated information from more than 140 countries and thousands of locations is the climate equivalent of a census and is vital for monitoring climate change and for climate-sensitive sectors.
  • Environmental users abandoned Twitter after Musk takeover | Charlotte H. Chang, Nikhil R. Deshmukh, Paul R. Armsworth Yuta J. Masuda | Trends in Ecology and Evolution | 15 August 2023
    In a sample of 380 000 environmentally oriented users, nearly 50% became inactive on Twitter after it was sold in October 2022, a rate much higher than a control sample. Given Twitter’s importance for public communication, the study finding has troubling implications for digital environmental information sharing and public mobilization.
  • Judge rules in favor of Montana youths in landmark climate decision | Washington Post | 14 August 2023
    In the first ruling of its kind nationwide, a Montana state court decided in favor of young people who alleged the state violated their right to a “clean and healthful environment” by promoting the use of fossil fuels.
  • Decoupling postal growth and environmental impact: a path to sustainable deliveries and development | Universal Postal Union | 14 August 2023
    This policy brief explores the potential for, and the economic implications of, “decoupling” the global postal sector, which is a contributor to global CO2 emissions.
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02 Jan 2024

Towards ICCM5