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.

Due to the recent developments in the sanitary situation, organizations in Geneva are encouraging their personnel to telecommute and some premises are closed. 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.

Greening International Geneva


In order to achieve the target of net zero emissions by 2050 recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an unprecedented transition is needed and it is imperative to start reducing emissions today. With this in mind, and in order to also make an international Geneva contribution to this considerable, the host country, Switzerland, is launching this week the 2050Today climate action initiative. #2050Today

The initial entities that have joined the initiative (Permanent Missions of Denmark, Fiji, France, Mexico, Morocco, Rwanda, Slovenia as well as UNOG and the UNEP/Europe) will present their 2019 carbon footprint at a virtual event taking place on Tuesday 27 October 2020 (on invitation), and invite all entities of International Geneva to join the 2050Today initiative. In addition to this launch event, an information and exchange workshop will be held on 3 November 2020.

ILO Environmental Sustainability Action Plans

The launch of a new report, ILO Environmental Sustainability Action Plans for 2018–21, organized within the framework of the Geneva Environment Network, will take place virtually on Thursday 29 October, at 9:30 CET. Panelists will discuss the achievements of the ILO in improving environmental sustainability in its programmes, projects, facilities and operations, and will together reflect on further commitments to scale up ongoing environmental sustainability efforts in the organization, and contribute to the overall efforts of the United Nations System.

International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week 2020

The ongoing eighth International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (ILPPW) is focusing on the need to accelerate progress towards the global phase out of lead paint through regulatory and legal measures. The manufacture and sale of lead paint is still permitted in over 60% of countries, presenting a continuing and future source of lead exposure for children and workers. #ILPPW #BanLeadPaint

The newly released Guidance on advocacy and awareness-raising for organizing a targeted campaign on lead paint provides direction and tools to support advocacy or awareness-raising activities to build momentum in countries toward the development, adoption and implementation of legally binding measures on lead paint. It contains key messages, strategies to identify your target audience and links to available materials. The document builds on the experience of the Lead Paint Alliance in its annual International Lead Poisoning Prevention Week campaign.

A New Chapter for Nuclear Disarmament

The ratification of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons will come into force on 22 January 2021, after Honduras became the 50th Member State to ratify, on 24 October 2020. Congratulations to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) and all those who have worked so hard on this treaty. However, as mentioned by ICRC President, Peter Maurer, in his statement on Sunday, we must not forget that prohibiting nuclear weapons is the beginning – not the end – of our efforts. There are still more than thirteen thousand nuclear weapons in the word. Many thousands of these are on high alert, ready to be launched at a moment’s notice. #nuclearban


Green Autumn in Geneva

Consult our list of suggestions of environmental awareness activities to entertain this fall, regularly updated. From exhibitions and film screenings to creative workshops and outdoor activities, learn more about the environment, encounter local wildlife and explore nature trails for a “green” autumn in Geneva. This week, the festival Explore 2020 will look into the cities of tomorrow facing environmental challenges.

Salon du livre 2020

The Salon du livre is celebrating books in various places around Geneva this week. Wednesday evening, a special session (in French) at the Graduate Institute will address our relation with wildlife.

What (Else) Should I Read Next?

  • South African environmental activist shot dead in her home | Patrick Greenfield | The Guardian | 23 October 2020
    Fikile Ntshangase, 65, was involved in a legal dispute over the extension of an opencast mine near Somkhele, close to Hluhluwe–Imfolozi park, the oldest nature reserve in Africa.
  • Illicit fishing devastates the seas and abuses crews | The Economist | 22 October 2020
    Satellite and other imagery has revealed “dark fleets” of fishing boats that turn off their transponders and plunder the ocean’s bounty. Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing accounts for a staggering 20-50% of the global catch.
  • Mediterranean basin facing irreversible environmental damage, warns new UNEP report | UNEP | 21 October 2020
    According to the report, 15 per cent of deaths in the Mediterranean are attributable to preventable environmental factors. The region is polluted by an estimated 730 tonnes of plastic waste every day. The presence of more than 1,000 non-indigenous species also poses threats to biodiversity, and the region is warming 20 per cent faster than the global average.
  • Sizing up the environmental cost of digital technologies | Zelda Chauvet | Geneva Solutions | 21 October 2020
    Digital technologies are helping to ensure we’re better equipped to tackle climate change. At the same time, these same technologies are leaving behind their own ecological footprint and posing an alarming threat to the environment.
  • Global trade in used vehicles report | UNEP | 26 October 2020
    Millions of used cars, vans and minibuses exported from Europe, the USA and Japan to low- and middle-income countries are hindering efforts to combat climate change. They are contributing to air pollution and are often involved in road accidents.
  • Chemicals and Waste | From Science to Policy, Global Issues of Concern, Challenges and Opportunities | GENeva UNEA Briefing | Geneva Environment Network | 20 October 2020
    Summary of the session discussing two of the reports on chemicals and waste issues that were requested to be developed at UNEA-4, including options for a science and policy platform. There is a need for international science based assessment of plastics and chemicals. The assessment should cease cross cutting issues and should increase the visibility of the urgency for action, in a timely way.
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