The Geneva Environment Network’s weekly newsletter includes the latest information on the global environmental agenda, main events, job vacancies, as well as other useful resources and updates. Stay tuned and follow us also on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, or visit our website regularly for additional updates.

This newsletter will exceptionally cover the upcoming fours weeks.

Ocean Action | From Geneva to Lisbon and New York

Numerous experts from International Geneva are joining member States and other stakeholders gathering in Lisbon, from 27 June to 1 July, for the UN Ocean Conference (UNOC) co-hosted by the Governments of Kenya and Portugal. The conference is addressing the major contemporary challenges faced by the ocean, providing a critical opportunity to mobilize partnerships and increase investment in science-driven approaches to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG14), one of the goals to be reviewed in-depth by the High Level Political Forum (HLPF) in New York, the following week. Visit our UNOC update for additional links and resources.

Ending Plastic Pollution Agenda

The Geneva Environment Network and its partners will join UNOC with two sessions supported by the Geneva Beat Plastic Pollution Dialogues, streamed live, that you can join whether you travel to Lisbon or not.

Other side-events of interest on this topic include:

Preparations for the 2023 UN Water Conference

A High-Level Symposium on Water, Bridging SDG 6 and SDG 14 – fresh and saltwater communities working together, will take place in Lisbon on 27 June, in the framework of the UN Ocean Conference as one of its Special Events.

While all eyes are on Lisbon that week, water remains an important topic in Geneva. The Permanent Missions of the Netherlands, Tajikistan and Egypt will host the Geneva Water Dialogue at the WMO Headquarters on Friday 1 July. The dialogue presents an opportunity for multilateral Geneva to provide inputs toward the UN 2023 Water Conference, whilst providing a platform for countries and organizations to collectively brainstorm about possible commitments for the Water Action Agenda.

Sand, Governance, and More

Other topics of interest to be discussed by Geneva stakeholders and others in Lisbon, include:

Linking Human Rights and Climate Change Action

Last week was very busy for the UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Climate Change (SR Climate), Ian Fry, who presented the six  key priorities for his mandate, and engaged in various side events, discussion and consultations with numerous stakeholders working at the forefront of climate change and human rights.

The voices of the more vulnerable experiencing the consequences of climate change were heard at the side event “The Rights Holders’ Challenges Facing Climate Change”, co-organized by the Geneva Climate Change Consultation Group (GeCCco) and the Geneva Environment Network, where SR Climate and other leading experts discussed the importance of protecting the rights of people affected by climate change. SR Climate reflected on how his mandate will strengthen the human rights institutions.   Watch and read main outcomes and resources shared during the event

The human rights treaties bodies have now to deal with a global problem, intrinsic of complexities. The same goes for climate change bodies, who have been resisting the inclusion of human rights. My work is to make the link, and ensure the stories of peoples on the ground on both these arenas as central to action.
― Ian Fry, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and Climate Change

This week, climate change will be again on the agenda, one of the key topics discussed at HRC50, with the Panel on the adverse impact of climate change on the full and effective enjoyment of human rights by people in vulnerable situations scheduled on 28 June.

Follow HRC50 coverage and find useful resources in our HRC50 update.

World’s First Special Rapporteur on Environmental Defenders

Last week, the Meeting of the Parties to the UNECE Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters (Aarhus Convention) elected, by consensus, Michel Forst as the world’s first Special Rapporteur on environmental defenders. The Special Rapporteur’s role – which is operational with immediate effect – is to take measures to protect any person experiencing or at imminent threat of penalization, persecution, or harassment for seeking to exercise their rights under the Aarhus Convention.

His election follows the October 2021 decision by the Aarhus Convention’s Meeting of the Parties to establish a rapid response mechanism to address alleged violations of article 3 (8) of the Aarhus Convention. Michel Forst is not new to international Geneva and its human rights bodies, as he was the former UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders (2014-2020) Read press release

I will be an independent Special Rapporteur, independent of countries, of NGOs and of the secretariat. I will be a Special Rapporteur who will be demanding, demanding of myself and of others, and I will be a Special Rapporteur who will listen to all voices. I will be a Special Rapporteur who will be transparent to all Parties to the Convention. And finally, I hope that I will be a Special Rapporteur who will be able to demonstrate the usefulness of this new mechanism.
― Michel Forst, Special Rapporteur on environmental defenders

Toward a New Framework to Save Biodiversity

From 21 to 26 June, Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity met in Nairobi for the Open-ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework to advance the global plan to bend the curve on biodiversity loss, expected to be adopted at the Conference of the Parties, in December 2022. Delegates took the text from the March meetings held in Geneva, rationalized parts of it, achieved consensus on several targets, and proposed diverse options for large parts of the framework. Civil society leader alarmed that we have lacked fire and momentum and the news of plans for a three-day fifth meeting were received with recognition that there is no room for failure. More on CBD Press Release, IISD ENB Coverage, WWF Press Release

The upcoming UN Biodiversity Conference will be held from 5 to 17 December in Montreal, Canada, under the presidency of the Government of China. This decision shows the commitment of the Conference of the Parties Presidency and Bureau to adopt the post-2020 global biodiversity framework and launch its implementation before the end of the year. As international meetings are still affected by the pandemic, you may keep track other important upcoming negotiations on the environmental agenda on our dedicated page.

Enjoy a Green Summer in Geneva!

We have prepared a list of suggestions of environmental and nature-themed activities to enjoy this summer in Geneva: exhibitions, workshops, shows, contests, outdoor activities and online resources. The list will be regularly updated.

Our weekly newsletter is also taking a break, and will be back at the end of July with new interesting updates on the global environmental agenda, particularly on topics that are of interest for international Geneva. In the meantime, if you are not taking a break, we visit our website and social network account to stay updated on additional events and opportunities that might arise.

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Event | Conference

Geneva Water Dialogue

01 Jul 2022 09:30 – 16:30

World Meteorological Organization

Egypt, Geneva Water Hub, Netherlands, Tajikistan, UNDRR, OHCHR, WMO

Event | Afterwork

La Nuit de la Science

09 – 10 Jul 2022

Parc de la Perle du Lac

Museum of Science History

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