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 TwitterFacebookLinkedInYoutube, or visit our website regularly for additional updates.

Image of the week | Elisabeth Gilmore, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Author, speaking at the first outreach event discussing the latest Climate Change Report issued by the IPCC, in Geneva. This side event to the Human Rights council – Climate Change and Human Rights: The IPCC Synthesis Report – was convened by CIEL and Earthjustice → Highlights

Tick-Tock | The Climate Time-bomb is Ticking

Last Monday, the IPCC released the Summary for Policymakers of the Synthesis Report for the Sixth Assessment Report, the culmination of the work of hundreds of scientists who have assessed more than 100,000 pieces of scientific literature across six reports published between 2018 and 2023. The Synthesis Report integrates these findings to provide a complete picture of climate change and available solutions. In a video message released last week, UN Secretary-General António Guterres described the report as a “how-to guide to defuse the climate time-bomb.”

  • More than a century of burning fossil fuels as well as unequal and unsustainable energy and land use has led to global warming of 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels. This has resulted in more frequent and more intense extreme weather events that have caused increasingly dangerous impacts on nature and people in every region of the world.
  • There are multiple, feasible and effective options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to human-caused climate change, and they are available now.
  • Mainstreaming effective and equitable climate action will not only reduce losses and damages for nature and people, it will also provide wider benefits. Prioritising equity, climate justice, social justice, inclusion and just transition processes can enable adaptation and ambitious mitigation actions and climate resilient development.
  • Climate, ecosystems and society are interconnected. Effective and equitable conservation of approximately 30-50% of the Earth’s land, freshwater and ocean will help ensure a healthy planet. Urban areas offer a global scale opportunity for ambitious climate action that contributes to sustainable development.

Read the full report

Launching International Day of Zero Waste

International Day of Zero Waste, observed for the first time on 30 March 2023, aims to raise awareness of the importance of zero waste and responsible consumption and production practices and urban waste management contributing to achieving sustainable development. The waste sector contributes significantly to the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity and nature loss, and pollution. A Zero Waste approach aims to contribute to environmental, economic, and social benefits, including reduced greenhouse gas emissions and improved community health.

International Geneva plays a crucial role in moving this agenda forward. Geneva is 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. To celebrate the steps taken by actors in international Geneva and beyond to move forward the zero waste agenda, join the “Geneva Celebration – Beating Waste Pollution“. Register to join us online on 30 March 2023 at 13:00 CEST.

Regional Forum on Sustainable Development

The 2023 Regional Forum on Sustainable Development for the UNECE region is convening on 29 and 30 March, in Geneva and online, under the theme “Ensuring the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the ECE Region in times of multiple crises”. The forum will track progress and identify areas of transformative action to achieve the SDGs, as this year is the halfway mark to implement Agenda 2030. The outcomes of the Forum will contribute to the High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development in July and the SDG Summit in September.

Over 30 side events to the Forum will kick on 27 March and give actors the opportunity to share experiences related to this year’s theme. Among the 33 events planned:

  • The Geneva Environment Network is co-organizing a session with UNEP, UNECE and UNESCO on the role of education to achieve sustainable development. The event aims to connect organizations and networks working on education and youth development, and further engage youth from the European region to support the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda through the power of education for sustainable development. → Register and join the event online on 28 March 2023 at 10:00 CEST.
  • A side event on “Solar Radiation Modification and Youth Perspectives on its Governance” aims at raising awareness in the UNECE region about the governance of SRM while highlighting the importance of youth’s perspectives on this growing issue. Join the event online on 30 March 2023 at 13:00 CEST.
    Additional resources recently published related to CATM include:

Environment @ Human Rights Council and Beyond

The 52nd regular session of the Human Rights Council (HRC52) continues this week in Geneva, where the environment remains high on the agenda.  Regular updates on key environmental issues at HRC52, side events, highlights and further resources are available on our HRC52 and the environment dedicated webpage.

Draft Resolutions @ HRC52 |  Resolutions containing elements addressing human rights and the environment were tabled last week. These resolutions, available on the HRC52 website, include:

  • L.1 | Mandate of Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders
  • L.7 | The human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment | Expert Seminar on the role of business enterprises
  • L.20 | Promotion and protection of human rights and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
  • L.21 | Cooperation with regional human rights organizations
  • L.24 | The right to food
  • L.39 | Human rights, democracy and the rule of law | 5th Forum on Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law 2024 theme on “Democracy and climate change: focusing on solutions”

Plastic Pollution and Human Rights | Following the statement made by the Permanent Representative of Peru, on behalf of Peru and 32 other countries, during the General Debate on Agenda Item 3 on 17 March 2023, interested Member States who wish to co-sign the statement for extranet records post-reading, please email Vanessa Aliaga.

Other updates related to human rights and the environment include:

One Health Quadripartite Executive Annual Meeting

On 27 and 28 March, the member organizations of the Quadripartite Alliance will meet in Geneva for their first executive annual meeting hosted by WHO, currently acting as the chair. The meeting will be attended in-person by the four Principals of the Quadripartite organizations, and will start with an opening discussion between the four Principals to discuss pressing topics related to One Health and the Quadripartite collaboration. Among the issues that the Quadripartite collectively addressed in the past year, antimicrobial resistance ranks high, with the Third Global High-Level Ministerial Conference on AMR in November 2022, the 6th meeting of the Global Leaders Group on Antimicrobial Resistance (GLG) in February 2023 and the launch of UNEP’s publication on the environmental dimension of AMR. → Read more about antimicrobial resistance and the environment

Towards the Plastics Treaty | Global Cap on Plastic Production and Protection of Human Health

Last Friday, the Minderoo Foundation and the Forum on Trade, Environment & the SDGs (TESS), co-hosted an informal roundtable discussion on the Minderoo-Monaco Commission on Plastics and Human Health. The report, launched earlier this month, explicitly stressed that the current rate of plastic production, use and disposal are unsustainable and a threat to health. Plastic causes diseases, disability and premature death at every stage of its life cycle. Providing a clear picture of known science and gaps to be filled on the impact of plastics on health, it is clear that infants in the womb, children and vulnerable groups are the most exposed. It calls for a strong plastics treaty based on a plastic cap, rigid deadlines and national contributions. The authors offered various recommendations for a global plastics treaty, including:

  • Addressing chemicals used to produce plastics and simplify them, making plastics composition more transparent;
  • Establishing Health Protective Standards for plastic-associated chemicals and a Permanent Science Policy Advisory Body for the Global Plastics Treaty;
  • Enforcing Extended Producer Responsibility Frameworks; and
  • Strengthening Restrictions on Transnational Export of Plastic Waste.

The report also quantifies the health-related economic costs of plastic production, use and disposal, and notes that the costs of harms to human health and the environment caused by plastics are often not borne by plastics manufacturers or fossil fuel companies (for example for the year 2015, annual cost of the global welfare costs of the premature deaths associated with plastics production is $250 billion USD, while the annual cost of the health impacts due to endocrine disruptors in the US is over $920 billion). Most of these costs are externalized and are borne by governments, businesses, and individual citizens, locally as well as globally.

Additional resources published recently include:

News from Abroad

UN 2023 Water Conference | The UN 2023 Water Conference, formally referred to as the Midterm Comprehensive Review of the Implementation of the Objectives of the 2018-2028 International Decade for Action, convened from 22 to 24 March 2023 at UN Headquarters in New York. The event brought together over 6,500 participants. By the close of the meeting, the Water Action Agenda had received approximately 700 commitments in the form of financial pledges, collaborative projects, and actions to protect the world’s most precious and irreplaceable resource. IISD Earth Negotiation Bulletin

  • In an unprecedented political push for cross-border water cooperation, Ministers from Africa, Latin America and the Middle East have declared at the UN Water Conference their country’s resolve to join the Water Convention.
  • 2023 United Nations World Water Development Report on Partnerships and Cooperation was launched on 22 March 2023. The report assesses the nature and role of partnerships and cooperation among stakeholders in water resources management and development and their role in accelerating progress towards water goals and targets.

International Seabed Authority (ISA) | Debates between deep-sea mining and guarding the Ocean’s little understood ecosystems are taking center stage as the International Seabed Authority meets in Jamaica until 31 March. As negotiations continue, the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise intercepted a deep sea mining vessel off the coast of Costa Rica, returning from a seven-week expedition in areas of the Pacific Ocean targeted for deep sea mining. More than 700 scientists from 44 countries have already opposed the industry by signing an open letter calling for a pause. IUCN Director General’s sent an open letter to ISA Members, urging ISA Members to uphold the global moratorium in line with this democratic decision taken by IUCN Members, which together represent over 160 countries. IISD Earth Negotiation Bulletin

What (Else) to Read or Watch Next?

  • First Fish Week concludes with “illuminating” discussion of negotiating objectives | WTO | 24 March 2023
    WTO members voiced their views on the outcomes they would like to see from the second wave of fisheries subsidies negotiations in meetings during the first of a series of “Fish Weeks” held on 20-24 March.
  • Global trade slows, but ‘green goods’ grow | UNCTAD | 23 March 2023
    Despite hitting $32 trillion record in 2022, global trade fell negative in the last trimester of 2022 and the first of 2023, except for ‘green goods’ whose growth remained stable throughout the year.
  • Call for the EU to reject carbon offsets following scandal of largest voluntary carbon offset certifier | Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy | 22 March 2023
    A group of organizations call upon the EU to take the failure of Verra’s business model as an indication of the need to stop promoting offsets as a valid form of climate action.
  • Pressure grows on shipping industry to accept carbon levy | Fiona Harvey | The Guardian | 22 March 2023
    World Bank among those urging levy to fund climate action in developing world and encourage fleets to upgrade.
  • Early Warnings for All | WMO, UNDRR, IFRC, ITU | 21 March 2023
    Today, half of countries still lack early warning systems, while fewer have regulatory frameworks linking early warnings to emergency plans. The UN Global Early Warning Initiative for the Implementation of Climate Adaptation aims to ensure everyone on Earth is protected by early warning systems by 2027.
  • Deadly Fungus Spread Rapidly During the Pandemic, C.D.C. Says | Matt Richtel | New York Times | 20 March 2023
    Candida auris, a drug-resistant fungus that health officials hoped to contain is now in more than half the 50 states, according to a new research paper.
  • Discourses of Fear on Climate Change in International Human Rights Law | Anne Saab | European Journal of International Law | Oxford Academic | 17 March 2023 
    This article highlights the negative psychological effects caused by the international human rights law sector’s use of fear to convey information about climate change and its human rights dimension. It calls for a reflection on how to modify the language to avoid adverse effects such as disengagement, ‘climate change fatigue’ and active opposition to climate change policies.
  • Linking Conservation and Peacemaking | Lina Hillert | Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue | 15 March 2023
    Why should conservation matter to peacemakers? In a world where climate change is intensifying conflict over scarce water, land and other resources, HD’s new research report highlights why mediation and dialogue efforts cannot ignore environmental protection.
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Conference

Sustainable IT as a lever of sobriety

27 Mar 2023 18:00 – 20:30

Auditorium Domaine La Pastorale Route de Ferney 1

2050Today, ITU, ISIT-CH

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Consultant

Policy Researcher

30 Mar 2023

UNCTAD

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20 Feb 2024

Ongoing Contests