The Geneva Environment Network weekly newsletter includes updates on global environmental agenda, main events, job vacancies expiring soon, learning opportunities, as well as other useful news 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, or visit our website regularly for additional updates.

Busy week with numerous afterwork activities and the possibility to join live the events organized in parallel to the UN General Assembly. This edition contains a selection of events held this week. Click on “see all” to access the full list.

Environment @ HRC45

The 45th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council (HRC45) continues this week in Geneva. Consult our update “Environment @ 45th Session of the UN Human Rights Council” providing an overview of the environmental-related topics addressed at the council and relevant links to documents, videos and summaries. #HRC45

On the agenda this week:

  • Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on environmentally sound management and disposal of hazardous substances and wastes | postponed to Monday 21 September 3.45 pm CEST
  • Annual panel discussion on the rights of indigenous peoples, on the theme Protection of indigenous human rights defenders | Wednesday 23 September 4:00pm CEST
  • Interactive dialogue with the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples | Thursday 24 September 3:00pm CEST
  • Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples | Thursday 24 September 4:30pm CEST

Two recommended independent side events:

The Right to a Healthy Environment

Following the appeal “The Time Is Now“, mobilization to make a final push to secure universal recognition of the right of all to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment continued last week:

Environment @ UNGA 75

The 75th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 75) opened last week. For the first time, the Assembly is convening world leaders in a virtual format. In parallel to the Assembly, environment-related events particularly focusing on climate and biodiversity are scheduled, and this year again, with the active participation of numerous actors from international Geneva.

Our update “Environment @ 75th Session of UN General Assembly” lists some of the key moments of UNGA 75. This week, don’t miss:

  • The UN marking its 75th anniversary (UN 75) with a one-day high-level meeting, under the theme, “The Future We Want, the UN We Need: Reaffirming our Collective Commitment to Multilateralism” | Monday 21 September 15:00 CEST
  • The High-level Roundtable on Climate Action convened by the UN Secretary-General, showcasing high-impact solutions by governments and real economy leaders, in line with the Secretary-General’s six climate-positive actions to recover better together | 24 September 17:30 CEST
  • The Climate Week NYC 2020, hosted by the Climate Group, in association with the United Nations and the City of New York, is taking place virtually, with the participation of various organizations from international Geneva | 21 to 27 September
  • To mark the opening of UNGA 75, the United Nations Global Compact is organizing the virtual event “Uniting Business LIVE” | 21 to 23 September
  • The fourth Sustainable Development Impact Summit aiming to initiate, accelerate, and scale-up entrepreneurial solutions to tackle climate change and advance sustainable development, is organized by the World Economic Forum and will convene leaders from government, business, international organizations and civil society along with a diverse group of experts and innovators | 21 to 24 September
  • The Global Goals Week mobilizes communities, demand urgency, and supercharge solutions for the Global Goals, whether it be digitally or physically | 18 to 26 September
  • In preparation to the Biodiversity Summit taking place next week, Nature for Life, organized by UNEP, UNDP and CBD, proposes multiple sessions to discuss how to halt biodiversity loss. Two sessions take place this week.
    • SDG Day: “Recognizing the value of nature in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals” | 24 September
    • Business and Finance Day: “Greening our wallets in development, finance and business” | 25 September

Festival Alternatiba: Concrete Actions to Reduce Our Climate Footprint

The 6th edition of the Festival Alternatiba Léman takes place this week in Geneva. Alternatiba showcases of concrete means and solutions for reducing emissions, through conferences, exhibits, stands, workshops and practical demonstrations, etc., with the participation of numerous local actors. As we reboot the global economy, and are calling for a sustainable pathway as the road ahead, this is the occasion to meet the local initiatives for a greener future.

The Geneva Environment Network will host a conference showcasing the international Geneva mobilization on climate (in French) on Wednesday and a stand at Parc des Bastions on Saturday.

Minamata Online

Minamata Online, the new series of digital engagement providing an opportunity for stakeholders to better understand the Minamata Convention, continues this week with a session on the obligations on reporting (Article 21 and MC-1/8) and the overall functioning of the Implementation and Compliance Committee (Article 15, MC-1/, MC-2/ and MC-3/9) of the Convention, Thursday 24 September.

COVID-19 and the Environment

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.

In view of the sanitary situation associated with the pandemic, France and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) have decided to postpone the IUCN World Conservation Congress, which was to be held in January 2021 in Marseille. New dates for the event will be announced in due course.

Two interesting events this week:

Afterwork | Festival du Film Vert

One of the afterwork activities propose this week, is the 2020 edition of the Festival du Film Vert – Geneva, initially scheduled to take place in March. The Festival will finally be launched this week, with an opening ceremony on 22 September, just before the screening of “Anthropocène: L’époque humaine”, and the closing will take place on 4 October at the traditional screening week-end at Ferme de la Touvière. (Click on “see all” to see a more complete list of events and all the screening scheduled.)

What (Else) Should I Read Next?

  • UN’s Global Biodiversity Outlook 5 report (GBO-5) | CBD | 15 September 2020
    The Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO) is the flagship publication of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). It is a periodic report that summarizes the latest data on the status and trends of biodiversity and draws conclusions relevant to the further implementation of the Convention. Despite encouraging progress in several areas, the natural world is suffering badly and getting worse. Eight transformative changes are, therefore urgently needed to ensure human wellbeing and save the planet.
  • Protecting nature is entirely within humanity’s reach. The work must start now. | Inger Anderson | UNEP | 15 September 2020
    As we seek to reboot the global economy following COVID-19, how we prioritize and direct our resources will either secure human, economic and environmental health for generations to come, or take us down the grey path that has brought with it the suffering we are seeing today. We have little choice in the path we must take.
  • Norilsk Nickel must be held to account for devastating fuel spill | WWF | 16 September 2020
    The Russian government filed a lawsuit against Norilsk Nickel due to the company’s refusal to pay a fine for the environmental damage and cleanup costs following a massive diesel fuel spill that occurred this past spring. As one of the top five mining companies in the world, the company must accept full accountability for this devastating spill. If the company fails to do so it should not be allowed to continue operating in the Arctic’s vulnerable ecosystem. 
  • Yavatmal poisonings: Syngenta’s pesticide far more heavily involved | Press Release from Public Eye, ECCHR, PAN India and PANAP | 18 September 2020
    More people affected, more severe damage to health: the cases of poisonings by Syngenta’s “Polo” in the Indian region of Yavatmal took place on a far larger scale than previously thought. Yet the agro-chemical firm still sells its highly toxic product in India. As a result, 51 affected families are filing a specific instant at the Swiss OECD National Contact Point.
  • ‘People in wars are among the most neglected by climate action. We must reverse this trend.’ | Catherine-Lune Grayson | Geneva Solutions | 19 September 2020
    People living in wars are disproportionately impacted by the consequences of climate change. Of the 20 countries considered the most vulnerable and least ready to adapt to climate change by the ND-Gain Index, 12 are in a situation of armed conflict. 
  • DG Wolff: “Trade policies have a huge potential to support climate action” | WTO | 17 September 2020
    In remarks delivered to a Business Europe webinar on trade and climate change on 17 September, Deputy Director-General Alan Wolff said trade policies are powerful tools to scale-up investment in clean and resilient infrastructure and accelerate climate-friendly innovation.
  • Birds ‘falling out of the sky’ in mass die-off in south-western US | The Guardian | The Age of Extinction | 16 September 2020
    Thousands of migrating birds have inexplicably died in south-western US in what ornithologists have described as a national tragedy that is likely to be related to the climate crisis.
  • How Chernobyl has become an unexpected haven for wildlife | UNEP | 16 September 2020
    The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone (CEZ), which covers 2,800 square km of northern Ukraine, now represents the third-largest nature reserve in mainland Europe. The land surrounding the plant, which has been largely off limits to humans for three decades, has become a haven for wildlife, with lynx, bison, deer and other animals roaming through thick forests.
  • Convention on Biological Diversity: Special Virtual Sessions | Earth Negotiations Bulletin | 18 September 2020
    The 4 days of the Convention on Biological Diversity Special Virtual Sessions provided the opportunity to maintain momentum heading into the UN Biodiversity Summit on 30 September.
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17 Apr 2024

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