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 | A group of Students from Boston University was briefed on the ongoing negotiations for a legally binding instrument to end plastic pollution. Delegations and students groups from around the world regularly visit the International Environment House for an introduction to Geneva as a global hub for environmental governance and sustainable development. © Patrick de Pinho, UNEP/GEN.

Environment @ Human Rights Council

The 53rd session of the Human Rights Council (HRC53) continues in its second week, and the environment remains high on the agenda, as the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of climate change will present his report to the Council. The report discusses human rights implications of climate change displacement and explores legal actions to provide appropriate human rights protections for people displaced by climate change. The Special Rapporteur will also present his report on his country visit to Bangladesh (A/HRC/53/34/Add.1), where linkages were made between the issue of climate change loss and damage and the implications for human rights. Regular updates on key environmental issues at HRC53, side events, highlights, and further resources are available on our HRC53 and the environment-dedicated webpage.

It is to be noted that the European Union is promoting a joint statement, co-sponsored by other member states, on the importance of transparent, inclusive, safe and meaningful participation by civil society in international climate discussions, including the upcoming UN Climate Conference (COP28), to be delivered during the Interactive Dialogue of next week (contact: Rocco.Polin@eeas.europa.eu). 

Events of interest this week include:

Antimicrobial Resistance | One Health Priority Research Agenda

The lead organizations working in the multilateral system on human, animal, plant and environmental health, namely the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH), joined forces to advance international co-operation for a One Health response on antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The Quadripartite developed the One Health Priority Research Agenda for AMR report, a joint initiative to assist in directing and catalyzing scientific interest and financial investments for the priority research agenda across sectors for Member States and funding bodies. The research agenda also serves as a guide to mitigate One Health AMR that will help policymakers, researchers, and a multidisciplinary scientific community work together on solutions to prevent and mitigate AMR within the One Health approach. The launch of the One Health Priority Research Agenda for AMR will take place online on 28 June 2023 from 12:00 to 13:30 CET.→ Register to attend on Zoom

Fisheries Subsidies Agreement | Race to Entry into Force

17 June 2023 marked one year since the adoption of the WTO Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies. To this date, ten WTO Members, including the European Union group, have submitted the instrument of acceptance of the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies. Various countries have also mobilized important financial support to the agreement’s funding mechanism since it became operational in November 2022. Last week, representatives of WTO Members who have accepted the Agreement highlighted the Agreement’s importance to a variety of economies and shared experiences with domestic acceptance processes, at the event “WTO Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies — Race to Entry into Force”, and urged other members to formally adopt the Agreement to reach the two-thirds needed for its entry into force. → Rewatch the session and read the WTO Summary.

In a recent article by the Economist Impact featuring WTO Deputy Director-General Angela Ellard and IUCN Ocean Team Director Minna Epps, among others, made clear that although more members are in advanced status to submit their instrument of acceptance and fund influxes are expected by WTO, increased capacities and funds are needed to bring developing countries on board. Furthermore, slow progress is also associated with the complexity and the amount of “unresolved issues” around tracing subsidies as well as working out what the opportunities are to reallocate those resources to sustainable fisheries.

Adoption of a Historic High Seas Treaty

After 20 years of talks, the Further resumed 5th Session of the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) on an International Legally Binding Instrument under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea on the Conservation and Sustainable use of Marine Biological Diversity of Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (IGC-5.3) adopted last week at the UN Headquarters in New York an Agreement on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction (A/CONF.232/2023/4). This historic “high seas” treaty aims at taking stewardship of the ocean on behalf of present and future generations, under the promises of protecting and cleaning the ocean, while sustainably managing fish stocks and lowering temperatures. Applauding the historic achievement, UN Secretary-General António Guterres stated that it “[…] is vital to address these threats, and ensure the sustainability of those areas not covered under national jurisdiction — over two-thirds of the ocean.” Read the Earth Negotiations Bulletin Summary Report.

Glaciers Melting at Unprecedented Levels

Recent news and reports on the status of glaciers and how they are shrinking at a dramatic pace include:

  • A report by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) warned that Himalayan glaciers could lose up to 80% of their ice by 2100 as temperatures rise. In the past decade, glaciers have been melting at a higher speed compared to the previous ones due to rising temperatures.
  • The World Meteorological Organization released the State of the Climate in Europe 2022 report. With the European continent warming twice as much as the global average since the 1980s, glaciers melting reached unprecedented levels. Due to minimal snowfall amounts and warmer summers, European glaciers have lost a volume of about 880 km 3 of ice from 1997 to 2022. 
  • Melting glaciers represent one of the most visible effects of climate change in Switzerland, with 6% of glacier volume lost between 2021 and 2022. Recently, independent reporting showed a huge collapse of parts of the Tschierva glacier and an important lack of snow on the Rhone glacier. The biggest glacier of the Alps, Aletsch Glacier, is starting to become snow-free very early in the season compared to previous years, though not as dramatic as in record-breaking 2022.

Learn more about Unprecedented Rates of Mountain Glacier Melting and the Role of Geneva

Call for Applications & Inputs

Call for Written Inputs on Issues of Concern: Priorities for further work and potential further international action | UNEP is undertaking a consultation on priorities for further work and potential further international action on 19 Issues of concern, based on the Assessment Report on Issues of Concern. Through this call for inputs, UNEP intends to respond to UNEA’s request by gathering information from stakeholders about the priorities for future work and potential further international action. The findings from this call for written inputs will inform the writing of the Summary Analysis. The Summary Analysis is expected to build upon the SAICM Survey which considered the 8 EPIs and other issues of concern. The form for submitting written inputs will remain open until 26 July 2023, COB. More information is available on the survey form.

Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) on Plastic Pollution | The Secretariat of the INC on Plastic Pollution is inviting written submissions from Members of the Committee and observers, the secretariat, in consultation with the Chair, has prepared two templates for the written submissions relating to elements not discussed at INC-2, such as (a) principles and scope of the instrument (template for a), and (b) any potential areas for intersessional work compiled by the cofacilitators of the two contact groups, to inform the work of INC-3 (template for b). All written submissions must be sent to unep-incplastic.secretariat@un.org by 15 August 2023 for observer organizations, and by 15 September 2023 for Members of the Committee.

UN Climate Change Conference COP28 Side Event & Exhibits Application | The 2023 UN Climate Conference (COP28) will take place in Dubai, United Arab Emirates from 30 November to 12 December 2023, under the Presidency of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The application period for side events and exhibits at COP28 will start on 27 June 2023,  at 10:00 CEST. Applications must be submitted via the Side Events and Exhibits Online Registration System (SEORS).  → Learn more about the application processeligibility and selection criteria, and previous versions on the UN Climate Change website.

Green Summer in Geneva

Due to the celebration of Eid al-Adha, 29 June 2023 is a day off for the United Nations in Geneva. From exhibitions to outdoor visits, from festivals to tips to stay healthy and safe during the summer heat, the Geneva Environment Network Secretariat has compiled a list of suggestions of environmental and nature-themed activities to enjoy this summer in Geneva.  The list is regularly updated, and for this week includes:

  • Théâtre de l’Orangerie | On 28 June, Théâtre de l’Orangerie will open with a vernissage and music at Parc La Grange for the summer season . Until 6 September, various activities for children and adults will take place.
  • MEG and the 17 Sustainable Development Goals | 30 June is the last day to visit the exhibition on SDGs at the Museum of Ethnography.

Happening Abroad

64th Meeting of the GEF Council | The Council Members of the Global Environment Facility will meet in Brasilia, Brazil, from 26–29 June 2023. Among various items on a busy agenda, the GEF Council will discuss establishing a special fund to support the implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework. → ENB Coverage.

Human Rights 75 Roundtable | The roundtable organized under the title “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 75: Looking to Future Generations” will take place on 26 June 2023 at the UN Headquarters in New York. Building on UNSG ’s policy brief on future generations, the roundtable will reflection on future generations with regards to environmental and climate change fields, which offer important cross-fertilization with human rights.

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