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 on X (Twitter)FacebookLinkedInInstagram, and Youtube, or visit our website regularly for additional updates. Due to the Easter holidays in Geneva, this edition of the newsletter exceptionally covers two weeks.

Image of the week | The World Meteorological Day celebration held on 21 March, shined a spotlight on climate action and embraced key players involved in tackling the climate crisis. The event launched a new Weather Kids campaign with weather forecasts from the future to mobilize climate action today on behalf of future generations.

Towards a Global Treaty to End Plastic Pollution

With now less than one month before the fourth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, including in the marine environment (INC-4), stakeholders from international Geneva and beyond continue to further their engagement with timely discussions. This week, two sessions of the Geneva Beat Plastic Pollution Dialogues will discuss important aspects to have for an ambitious plastics treaty:

  • Biodiversity and the Global Plastics Treaty: IUCN’s Proposal for a Specific Article on “Biodiversity Aspects” in the Future Treaty | A focus on the connections between plastic pollution, biodiversity loss, and the degradation of ecosystems at the global, regional and national levels is important when directing efforts toward effective solutions to the triple planetary crisis. IUCN and the IUCN World Commission on Environmental Law propose for the Revised Zero Draft and the final text of the international legally binding instrument the inclusion of explicit references to the connections between plastic pollution, circular economy solutions, and biodiversity and ecosystems protections.  In this event, learn from leading experts and reflect on this important topic and on how it can be advanced in the upcoming INC-4. → Register to attend in person at the International Environment House I or online on 26 March 2024 from 13:00 to 14:30 CET.
  • Chemicals in the Plastics Treaty: Perspectives on Protecting Human Health | This event aims to provide guidance and increase clarity on why it is crucial to regulate chemicals to ensure that the plastics treaty will ensure the protection of human health. The session will highlight what approaches to regulation are possible and answer frequent questions delegates may have surrounding chemicals and plastics. It will also review how other MEAs regulate chemicals in plastics and the possible outcomes of the negotiations. The event will be held in English, with interpretation in French and Spanish. Transcript is available for other languages.Register to participate online on 28 March 2024 from 12:00 to 13:30 CET.

In preparation for the next negotiation session, stakeholders are releasing diverse analyses:

Other related events taking place this week and recent news include:

Zero Waste Day Celebration

On the occasion of the second observation of the International Day of Zero Waste, Türkiye and the Geneva Environment Network will host a Geneva Celebration in collaboration with UNEP, UN-Habitat and other stakeholders from international Geneva and beyond. The event will feature a presentation of the Global Waste Management Outlook 2024 report and will highlight the role of Geneva as a major global hub for the governance of hazardous substances and home to several international organizations and multilateral environmental agreements aiming at reaching the zero-waste goal. It will celebrate the steps taken by actors in international Geneva and beyond to move forward the zero-waste agenda. → Register and join the celebration at Palais des Nations, Room VIII, on 27 March 2024 from 14:00 to 15:30 CET.

To mark the day, new publications are being issued and events are taking place around the world, including:

  • UNEP will launch its Food Waste Index Report 2024. The report provides the latest global estimates on food waste occurring at retail and consumer levels. → Join online for the launch on 27 March 2024 from 13:30 to 14:30 CET
  • South-East Europe Pollution Platform: Western Balkans Regional Waste Conference | 26-27 March 2024 | Vienna
  • The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) launched The global E-waste Monitor 2024, which reveals that the world’s generation of electronic waste is rising five times faster than documented e-waste recycling.
  • The Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) recently released the publication Environmental Justice Principles for Fast Action on Waste and Methane, providing a vision for systems change towards zero waste, climate justice, and quick action on methane reduction. Furthermore, it outlines five EJ principles for the waste sector.

Environment @ 55th Session of the Human Rights Council

The last two weeks of the 55th session of the Human Rights Council continue to see the environment high on its agenda, as it is scheduled to vote on resolutions from 4 to 5 April 2024. Resolutions relating to the global environmental agenda tabled at this session include:

  • A/HRC/55/L.1 | Mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment | Costa Rica, Maldives, Morocco, Slovenia & Switzerland
  • A/HRC/55/L.3 | Right to food​ | Cuba
  • A/HRC/55/L.10 | Right to work | ​​​Egypt, Greece, Indonesia, Mexico, Romania
  • A/HRC/55/L.12 | Adequate housing as a component of the right to an adequate standard of living, and the right to non-discrimination in this context

Other events of note taking place this week include:

 Regular updates on key environmental issues at HRC55, side events, and further resources will be made available on our dedicated HRC55 and the environment update.

2023 Warmest Year on Record | Climate Action

Last week, the World Meteorological Organization released the State of the Global Climate 2023 report, which confirms that 2023 was the warmest year on record, with the global average near-surface temperature at 1.45 °Celsius (with a margin of uncertainty of ± 0.12 °C) above the pre-industrial baseline. It was the warmest ten-year period on record and records were once again broken, and in some cases smashed, for greenhouse gas levels, surface temperatures, ocean heat and acidification, sea level rise, Antarctic sea ice cover and glacier retreat. Records continue to be broken, with the heat index hitting 62.3C in Rio de Janeiro. The report has been complemented with a Significant Weather & Climate Events 2023 supplement, broadening on events of climatic importance. → Read the press release

With climate breakdown looming over the future, the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Development Programme launched in Geneva the Weather Kids campaign, calling for urgent climate action for the next generations and restoring hope in climate action.

Events taking place this week include:

Climate-related news include:

7th BioTrade Congress | Global Governance for Trade and Biodiversity

The 7th BioTrade Congress “Global Governance for Trade and Biodiversity”, co-organized by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and its partners, is taking place on 25 and 26 March 2024 at Palais des Nations. Gathering trade and biodiversity experts and practitioners from all over the world, the Congres aims to propose policy recommendations and actions from government, business and civil society on how trade and trade policy can accelerate the implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. This Congress is part of the activities planned by UNCTAD and partners towards the 16th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 16) to the Convention on Biological Diversity, as well as UNCTAD’s 60th anniversary and 16th quadrennial Ministerial Conference in 2025.

→ Visit the programme and register to join on 25 and 26 March 2024 at Palais des Nations, Room XVII. Virtual participation is also possible.

Updates on Other Negotiations

WHO Pandemic Agreement

The 9th meeting of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) to draft and negotiate a convention, agreement or other international instrument under the Constitution of the World Health Organization (WHO) to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness and response is currently underway and is scheduled to run until 28 March 2024 at the WHO Headquarters in Geneva. Expectations are high as the final meeting of the INB discussing the revised draft of the negotiating text of the WHO Pandemic Agreement, which includes a section on promoting a One Health Approach, is anticipated to reach an ambitious and equitable international deal to prepare for and prevent future pandemics. → Follow the negotiations online and read more on One Health Approach and the role of Geneva.

The latest news on the negotiations includes:

International Seabed Authority Assembly and Council

Negotiations are also underway at the 1st part of the 29th Annual Session of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) in Kingston, Jamaica, as it is expected to run until 29 March 2024. Considered pivotal for the future of deep-sea mining, this session will hold discussions on a consolidated text of the draft deep-sea mineral exploitation regulations, including in the context of the protection of the marine environment. Updates include:

Green Activities for the Easter Break

This Easter, whether you are enjoying some days off or remain busy with your everyday activities, we invite you to discover our suggestions for a green spring in Geneva. From exhibitions and conferences to guided tours or workshops, you will find some interesting events to learn about and act for the environment.

Deadlines for Submission Closing Soon

As this edition of the newsletter exceptionally covers two weeks due to the Easter holidays in Geneva, deadlines not to be missed during the coming weeks include:

  • Science-policy Panel to Contribute Further to the Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste and to Prevent Pollution OEWG 3 | Registration to participate in the third session of the ad hoc open-ended working group to prepare proposals for a science-policy panel to contribute further to the sound management of chemicals and waste and to prevent pollution, taking place in Geneva in June, is open until 31 March 2024. Requests for travel support should be submitted by 25 March 2024.
  • 2024 GCSP Prize for Transformative Futures in Peace and Security | The Prize for Transformative Futures in Peace and Security seeks to reward groundbreaking concepts that offer exceptional promise in addressing peace and security challenges. Applications may cover concepts from a wide variety of fields including climate change. The deadline for applications is 25 March 2024 at 23:59 CET.
  • The Future of International Geneva in the UN 2.0 System | The Association of Former International Officials for Development, Greycells has opened an online survey and contest for young individuals, titled “Greycells International Geneva Prize.” Results will be unveiled during Greycells’ annual Intergenerational Dialogue on “The Role of International Geneva in the UN 2.0 System,” scheduled for 25 April 2024, at the Geneva Press Club. The online survey runs until 25 March 2024 and is open to individuals under 32 years old.
  • Ye! Youth Ecopreneur Programme | Youth Ecopreneurs Programme (YECO) 2024, a transformative journey hosted by the International Trade Centre and the G20 Global Land Initiative. YECO 2024 is designed to build the skills and networks of green innovators under the age of 35, in particular those in developing countries, to guide them through a developmental journey as part of a global community of young entrepreneurs. Apply for the Ye! Youth Ecopreneur Programme here by 1 April 2024.
  • Young Champions of the Earth | Through the Young Champions of the Earth UNEP is looking for young changemakers with pathbreaking ideas and solutions that showcase nature’s potential in addressing the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution and waste. Applications will close on 5 April 2024 and should be submitted here.

Calls for submissions by UN Special Rapporteurs include:

  • Gender and Toxics | UN Special Rapporteur on toxics and human rights | 29 March 2024
    The upcoming report to the UN General Assembly aims to examine and enable the application of a human rights-based approach to countless persons and groups that may find themselves in vulnerable situations because of their gender, in respect of toxic exposures.
  • Climate Justice: Loss and damage & The right to development of children and future generations | UN Special Rapporteur on the right to development | 29 March 2024
    In 2024, the Special Rapporteur will be presenting reports to the Human Rights Council and to the UN General Assembly on the following themes: (a) Climate justice: Loss and damage; and (b) The right to development of children and future generations.
  • Resettlement as a human rights issue | UN Special Rapporteur on the right to adequate housing | 31 March 2024
    The forthcoming reports to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly will identify key human rights challenges posed by resettlement and take stock of international and national laws, regulations, policies and practices related to resettlement.
  • Nexus water-economy | UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to water and sanitation | 1 April 2024
    The Special Rapporteur will focus his report to the UN Human Rights Council in 2024 on the economic values assigned to water and aquatic ecosystems from a human rights-based approach.
  • Climate change and internal displacement | UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons | 1 April 2024
    The report for the next session of the Human Rights Council will focus on the human rights challenges of planned relocations of people in the context of the adverse effects of climate change and disasters.

What (Else) to Read Next?

  • Communicating on climate change and health: Toolkit for health professionals | WHO | 22 March 2024
    Health professionals are well-placed to play a unique role in helping their communities understand climate change, protect themselves, and realize the health benefits of climate solutions. This toolkit aims to help health professionals effectively communicate about climate change and health.
  • Global Methane Forum calls to turn commitments into action on path to COP29 | UNECE | 20 March 2024
    Tackling emissions of methane now is essential to meet the Paris Agreement goal of limiting temperature rise to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels by 2050. The Global Methane Forum brought together leaders to help turn commitment into real cuts in methane emissions.
  • The supermajors’ plans could kill 11.5 million people | Global Witness | 20 March 2024
    The emissions from burning oil and gas produced by Shell, BP, TotalEnergies, ExxonMobil and Chevron until 2050 could cause an estimated 11.5 million additional premature deaths due to heat before the end of the century, new Global Witness analysis reveals.
  • UNECE Forum Highlights Opportunities for Key Transitions Towards 2030 | IISD SDG Knowledge Hub| 20 March 2024
    The annual regional forum on sustainable development for the UNECE region in preparation for the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in July, explored opportunities for advancing key transitions and cooperation towards achieving the SDGs in the region and discussed progress towards the Goals undergoing in-depth review in 2024.
  • FAO’s 1.5 °C roadmap for food systems falls short | Cleo Verkuijl, Jan Dutkiewicz, Laura Scherer, Paul Behrens, Michael Lazarus, Maria José Hötzel, Rebecca Nordquist & Matthew Hayek | Nature Food | 18 March 2024
    The first instalment of the FAO food systems roadmap is a key step in identifying pathways to achieve zero hunger without breaching the 1.5 °C climate change threshold. But future instalments should be more methodologically transparent, emphasize the need to reduce animal-sourced food consumption and align with a holistic One Health approach.
  • Multilateral Environmental Agreements. Negotiator’s Handbook Third Edition | Kati Kulovesi, Eugenia Recio, Dan Bondi Ogolla, Paola Bettelli et al. | UNEP and the University of Eastern Finland (UEF) | 12 March 2024
    Multilateral Environmental Agreement (MEA) negotiations are among the most dynamic negotiations in international law. The process, structure and substance of negotiations has been evolving over time requiring negotiators to be well-guided on procedural as well as substantive aspects of negotiations.
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7th BioTrade Congress

25 – 26 Mar 2024

Palais des Nations | Room XVII



Deep Seabed Mining and Human Rights | HRC55 Side Event

28 Mar 2024 13:00 – 15:00

Palais des Nations | Room XXII

Switzerland, Bertarelli Foundation, IUCN, OHCHR, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Fiji, France, Germany, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Morocco, Panama, Samoa

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Data Analyst | P3

01 Apr 2024


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02 Apr 2024

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