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. 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, Youtube, or visit our website regularly for additional updates.

Due to the developments in the sanitary situation, some 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.

Photo of the week: Briefing ahead of UNFCCC COP26 co-convened by the United Kingdom Permanent Mission and the Geneva Environment Network on 21 October 2021 | Palais des Nations, Room XXVI. © UNEP, Harvey Parafina.

Celebrating World Cities Day

Concluding a month of activities around urban challenges, World Cities Day on 31 October is the occasion to promote sustainable urban development. This year’s edition focuses on “Adapting Cities for Climate Resilience”, underscoring the importance of reducing climate-related risks for the urban population. Learn more about the actors engaged at the nexus of cities and the environment and discover more events in Geneva in our update →

Cities are the focus of this week’s Geneva Nature-based Solutions Dialogue on Monday 25 October. Leading experts will discuss the potential of Nature-based Solutions for sustainable urban development and resilience, and the needed future action to mainstream NbS in urban planning and policies at the city level. Register on Webex and join us at 15:00 CEST for this exciting discussion!

ITU and the Geneva Cities Hub are organizing the webinar Building climate-resilient cities with digital transformationon 28 October at 14.00 CEST. Using specific examples of how digital technologies are helping cities to become more climate-resilient and reach climate targets, invited experts will shed light on how digital transformation can improve adaptation actions and achieve urban resilience.

Final Preparations for the UN Climate Change Conference

All eyes will turn to Glasgow on Sunday where the UN Climate Change Conference will start. As a global hub for environmental policy and the center for multilateralism, with climate as one of the core thematics addressed by all organizations, Geneva is actively participating in building momentum for UNFCCC COP26. Last Thursday, the preparatory briefing organized by the Geneva Environment Network and the Permanent Mission of the United Kingdom highlighted the important role that Geneva actors can play ahead, during, and after COP26 →

Geneva is the implementing arm of this climate effort. Each and every head of a UN organization or other international organizations I meet in Geneva talks about climate as probably the biggest issue they face whether in terms of trade, health, migration or refugees. We are working together here in Geneva for a successful COP and can play a crucial role in ensuring that we deliver on what we agree in Glasgow. The task is ahead for us and we look forward to seizing it and making success of it.
H.E. Amb. Simon Manley, Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom

Events in preparations for the conference to held this week include:

Meanwhile, the call for ambitious action to be taken at Glasgow is growing. Reports issued last week bringing additional evidence to support the need to act with urgency and ambition include:

  • The Production Gap | SEI, IISD, ODI, E3G, UNEP | 21 October 2021
    Governments still plan to produce more than double the amount of fossil fuels in 2030 than what would be consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5°C, in stark contrast to increased climate ambitions and net-zero commitments.
  • Renewable energy jobs have reached 12 million globally | ILO & IRENA | 21 October 2021
    Ahead of COP26, this report underscores the jobs potential of an ambitious climate strategy and calls for comprehensive policies in support of a just transition to a greener future.
  • The State of the Climate in Africa 2020 | WMO | 19 October 2021
    Changing precipitation patterns, rising temperatures and more extreme weather contributed to mounting food insecurity, poverty and displacement in Africa in 2020, compounding the socio-economic and health crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • 2021 Global Status Report for Buildings and Construction | UNEP | 19 October 2021
    The report tracks the buildings and construction sector progress towards meeting the Paris Agreement goals, based on key indicators for energy use, emissions, technologies, policies, and investments globally.

This week UNEP is expected to launch its the Emissions Gap Report 2021 in a high-level online press event, and WMO the State of the Climate in Asia 2020, both on 26 October.

Environment & Human Rights Nexus

Following the historic resolutions adopted at the Human Rights Council on the recognition of the right to a clean and healthy environment earlier this month, actors in Geneva have kept pushing forward issues at the nexus of human rights and the environment. Last week, nearly 450 participants from close to 50 countries decided to strengthen commitment to environmental democracy for sustainable, inclusive and resilient development. Parties to the Aarhus Convention agreed to establish a rapid response mechanism for the protection of environmental defenders, the first of its kind within a legally binding framework under an intergovernmental structure. The decision marks an important step for the advancement of environmental democracy. Read the press release →

To note also that UNEP and OHCHR have recently published the third edition of the Environmental Rights Bulletin. Prepared on the occasion of the Conference of the Meeting of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP15), the bulletin includes a special section on biodiversity and features a review of global developments, including the Human Rights Council resolutions on the recognition of the right to a healthy environment and the Special Rapporteur on climate change, and information about recent and upcoming events and key resources.

E-Waste and Digital Solutions Nexus

International Geneva is mobilized to address the e-waste challenge and boost digital cooperation. In a collaboration for International E-waste Day, ITU has partnered with the WEEE Forum, GSMA and Sofies Group to produce a thought paper Digital Solutions for a Circular Electronics Value Chain. To learn more about digital solutions, from automated digital certification and online marketplaces to emerging solutions such as AI-enabled e-waste recognition and blockchain-based materials tracking, join the webinar on 26 October 2021, 14:30-16:00 CEST.

ITU, WEEE Forum and StEP initiative are also hosting a design competition for young people, the Generation Connect Global E-waste Iconathon. By inviting young people aged 18-24 to design a universal icon that signifies the take-back and collection of e-waste for recycling purposes, the competition highlights the role of youth in tackling the global e-waste challenge. Submissions are welcome until 1 February 2022.

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