The Geneva Environment Network’s weekly newsletter includes the latest information on the global environmental agenda, main events, job vacancies, learning opportunities, as well as other useful resources and updates. Stay tuned and follow us also on X (Twitter), Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Youtube, or visit our website regularly for additional updates.
Environment @ UN Forum on Business and Human Rights
The environment is high on the agenda of the 12th United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights, taking place from 27 to 29 November 2023 at Palais des Nations. Bringing together stakeholders from around the world to discuss topics that relate to issues on business and human rights, this year’s Forum, under the theme “Towards Effective Change in Implementing Obligations, Responsibilities and Remedies”, will reflect on the changes that have occurred in the implementation of existing standards in the protection of human rights, and will include various sessions and events on the realization of the right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment:
An event organized by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Peru, Ecuador, the Center for International Environmental Law, and the Geneva Environment Network, with the support of the Working Group on Business and Human Rights, will highlight the alarming impact of plastics on human rights and the environment and showcase the urgency to progress with an international binding treaty to end plastic pollution, as well as discuss strategies and good practices for businesses to achieve effective human rights and environmental due diligence throughout the entire lifecycle of plastic. → Join us at Palais des Nations, on Monday 27 November 2023 from 16:40–18:00 CET, at Room XXVI. In-person participation is open to the registered participants to the 12th United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights. The event will be livestreamed on UN Web TV.
- Find more information on other environment-related events at the Forum and learn more about the role of Geneva on business, environment, and human rights.
Transforming Societies through Protecting Human Rights and Environment
“Protecting the planet requires a transformation in our societies—a reimagination of our economies and our relationship with nature.”
— Volker Turk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
As the celebration of 75 years of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights continues, the spotlight month on the environment ends this week with a reminder of the obligation to realize the human right to a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment, particularly through finance, resource mobilization, and a “transformation” of economies. Ahead of UN Climate Change Conference COP28, the fifth edition of the Environmental Rights Bulletin by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Environment Programme features articles by the High Commissioner, the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of Indigenous Peoples, the head of UNEP Finance Initiative, the Secretariat of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, and more.
Recent publications and articles also point out how we can transform our society by protecting human rights and the environment:
- Environmental Rule of Law: Tracking Progress and Charting Future Directions | UNEP | 22 November 2023
The report highlights the most prevalent aspects of environmental rule of law across countries and tracks progress in addressing the triple planetary crisis.
- Climate Equality Report | Oxfam | 20 November 2023
The report underscored the inequality dimension of carbon emissions, as wealthy people, corporations and countries emit the most while people living in poverty, those experiencing marginalization, and countries in the Global South are those impacted the hardest. An article by The Guardian was dedicated to this report.
- Link between humans and the environment must be preserved | OHCHR | 16 November 2023
The universal recognition of the right to a healthy environment is a critical first step toward addressing the triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution that demonstrates the power and possibilities of empowering the environmental justice movement.
- Mobilising trillions for the Global South, the imperative of human rights-based climate finance: UN expert | SR Environment | 23 November 2023
Ahead of COP28 in Dubai, the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights and the Environment, David Boyd, has published a policy brief calling for the implementation of a human rights-based approach to climate finance.
Two Weeks to the Next Science-Policy Panel on the Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste and to Prevent Pollution Negotiation Session
In two weeks, the Ad Hoc Open-Ended Working Group on the Science-Policy Panel to contribute further to the sound management of chemicals and waste and to prevent pollution (OEWG 2) will convene for its session in Nairobi, from 11 to 15 December 2023, preceded by informal consultations on 9 and 10 December.
In the run-up to this session, the OEWG Secretariat and the Geneva Environment Network are co-organizing a Briefing on OWEG 2 to provide updates on the preparations. This briefing will also conclude the Road to OEWG 2 | Science-Policy Panel to Contribute Further to the Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste and to Prevent Pollution webinar and event series aimed at building bridges between and among stakeholders and promoting collaboration and knowledge sharing in preparation for OEWG 2. → Register on Webex to attend the event on 28 November 2023 from 13:00 CET.
Running since April 2023, previous sessions were organized in the context of important meetings and negotiations on the global environmental agenda. Seeking inputs from other science-policy interfaces and multilateral environmental agreements, sessions of the series delved into topics such as the Development of Operating Principles (26 April 2023); Building the Linkages from Science to Action (2 May 2023); Linking Science and Action Using a Life-Cycle Approach (6 September 2023); Right to Science (22 September 2023); Options of Engagement and Participation Modalities for Major Groups and Stakeholders to the OEWG (26 September 2023); Building the Linkages from Science to Action (9 October 2023); and Procedures for Addressing Conflicts of Interest: Lessons Learned from Existing Science-Policy Interfaces (18 October 2023).
COP28 Kicks Off This Week With Strong Inputs from International Geneva
The UN Climate Change Conference will kick off on 30 November, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. As highlighted during last week’s briefing on COP28, international Geneva is undoubtedly mobilized in the fight against the triple interconnected planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution. By hosting the secretariats of key scientific institutions providing data on climate change, mitigating and adaptation such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and numerous international organizations, permanent missions, non-governmental organizations and institutions that place climate issues at the heart of their work, international Geneva is a global hub and a key catalyzer of climate action. → Learn how Geneva contributes to COP28 in our dedicated update.
Concluding the first Global Stocktake since the signing of the Paris Agreement, expectations for COP28 to redirect climate action towards an ambitious direction are high. Recent reports and news on climate change and COP28 include:
- Emissions Gap Report 2023 | UNEP | 20 November 2023
The report found that the world is heading for a temperature rise far above the Paris Agreement goals, unless countries deliver more than they have promised. It calls for all nations to accelerate economy-wide, low-carbon development transformations, highlighting that countries with greater capacity and responsibility for emissions will need to take more ambitious action and support developing nations.
- Environment Ministers invited to join the Global Cooling Pledge by 29 November 2023. Championed by the COP28 presidency and supported by UNEP-led Cool Coalition, the pledge aims to reduce cooling-related emissions across all sectors by at least 68% globally relative to 2022 levels by 2050. Endorsements should be submitted via Note Verbale to the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with a soft copy emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. An example endorsement letter can be found here.
- 2023 WHO review of health in Nationally Determined Contributions and long-term strategies: Health at the Heart of the Paris Agreement | World Health Organization | 23 November 2023
91% of the available NDCs now include health considerations, compared to 70% of those reporting in 2019. Despite this progress, there remain huge gaps in the action being taken. Ambitious action on air pollution will save lives, yet only 16% of NDCs include standalone targets, measures or policies to reduce air pollution.
- The Oil and Gas Industry in Net Zero Transitions | International Energy Agency | 23 November 2023
Oil and gas producers face pivotal choices about their role in the global energy system amid a worsening climate crisis fuelled in large part by their core products, according to a new special report from the IEA that shows how the industry can take a more responsible approach and contribute positively to the new energy economy.
- Powering climate action through Earth observations technology | UNFCCC | 22 November 2023
The UN Climate Change Technology Executive Committee (TEC) has joined forces with the Group on Earth Observation (GEO), under the Early Warnings for All initiative, to assist vulnerable countries in using Earth observations technology for the design of climate policies and adaptation projects.
- Further delays in tackling greenhouse gas emissions at COP28 will be an act of negligence | Marina Romanello et al. | The Lancet | 22 November 2023
Although the world’s most underserved countries, and those that contributed the least to global greenhouse gas emissions, are being most affected, no country is immune from the rising threats of climate change.
- Leveraging Education in Emergencies for Climate Action | Geneva Global Hub for Education in Emergencies | 21 November 2023
Education for displaced and crisis-affected children and youth is crucial to promote climate action. However, the right to education is denied to 224 million children and youth due to armed conflict, forced displacement, protracted crises, and increasingly, climate-induced disasters.
- Protecting maternal, newborn and child health from the impacts of climate change: call for action | WHO, UNICEF & UNPF | 21 November 2023
Climate hazards, including extreme heat, are associated with increased risks of developing complications that lead to adverse maternal and perinatal outcomes. In addition to the health risks related to poor nutrition, water, hygiene and sanitation, the effects of exposure to climate hazards and their aftermath during and after pregnancy can affect mental health and contribute to intergenerational trauma.
- Standing In Solidarity With Those on the Frontlines of the Climate Crisis: A Loss and Damage Package for COP28 | Julie-Anne Richards, Rajib Ghosal, Brenda Mwale, et al. | Loss and Damage Collaboration & Unitarian Universalist Service Committee | 21 November 2023
COP 28 has the opportunity to redress the long-term imbalance of the climate negotiations and ensure that the international climate architecture works for the people and countries on the front line of climate impacts.
- Progress, good practices and lessons learned in prioritizing and incorporating gender-responsive adaptation action | UNFCCC | 20 November 2023
This assessment of recent trends in adaptation research and action, including the formulation and implementation of NAPs, reveals gaps and challenges for the application of gender-responsive approaches, but also opportunities and good practices to enhance resilience and gender equality in a comprehensive manner.
- The Global Stocktake Needs to Send a Strong Message on Adaptation | IISD | 21 November 2023
The political messages marking the end of the global stocktake will be critical. They will offer a crucial signal to countries to ramp up ambition on adaptation to achieve the Global Goal on Adaptation, which aims to protect communities and ecosystems in the face of escalating climate impact.
- EU Parliament calls for negotiation of a Fossil Fuel Treaty in formal COP28 position | Fossil Fuel Treaty | 21 November 2023
Just nine days before world leaders meet at the UN Climate Talks in Dubai, the European Parliament has just voted to set its demands for the COP28 negotiations, including a clear demand for nation-states to join the growing bloc of governments seeking to negotiate a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty.
- If Not Now, When? Ambitious Energy Package Is a Must at COP 28 | IISD | 20 November 2023
As COP 28 approaches, all eyes are on the energy sector. Amidst a striking 91% of global carbon dioxide emissions originating from fossil fuels in 2022, the world is watching for an ambitious energy transition package at this year’s UN Climate Change Conference in Dubai.
- Meeting the 1.5°C Climate Goal Will Save Millions of People, and It’s Still Feasible | Scientific American | 20 November 2023
One recent study estimates that if emissions continue apace, we have a 50 percent chance of reaching a global annual average of 1.5 degrees C in just six years. But as we approach this grim milestone, we still have choices
This week, various events in preparation for COP28 and raising awareness on the importance of these negotiations will be taking place in Geneva, including:
- The Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) will host a webinar ‘Dangerous Distractions: Exposing Carbon Markets Ahead of COP28 ‘ to set the stage for COP28 by offering insights into carbon markets, their relevance to both internal and external COP developments, and shedding light on the inherent challenges associated with carbon markets and offsets. → Participate on Zoom on 27 November from 15:00 CET
- As part of the “Semaine du Climat” concluding on 3 December 2023, the conference “La Géopolitique du Climat avec François Gemenne” will discuss how climate change has become an essential part of international relations and a major diplomatic issue → 27 November 2023 from 18:30 to 20:00 CET.
- The Geneva Press Club and Geneva Solutions are hosting a lunch discussion on expectations for COP28 → 28 November 2023 from 12:00 CET.
- UNEP FI will launch its latest publication ‘Principles for Responsible Banking Guidance on Climate Adaptation and Target Setting‘ – an overarching framework and practical solutions for banks to set targets on adaptation to align with their climate and sustainability strategies – during a webinar → 28 November 2023 from 13:00 to 14:00 CET.
- The 7th edition of the International Glaciers Film Festival will take place from 1 to 3 December 2023 at the Maison des Arts du Grütli. Focused on the climate emergency, the manifestation will offer the public an opportunity to rethink its relationship with the world and to reflect on the profound and collective transformations needed to avoid climate catastrophe. → Discover the programme
What (Else) to Read Next?
- Plastics Pollution Dialogue makes further headway on draft MC13 statement | WTO | 24 November 2023
At the 23 November meeting of the Dialogue on Plastics Pollution and Environmentally Sustainable Plastics Trade, WTO members and stakeholders discussed the latest revised draft of a potential statement on plastics pollution to be issued at the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) in February 2024. Members also considered a compilation document of trade-related practices already being adopted to tackle plastics pollution.
- What is fuelling the world’s antimicrobial resistance crisis? | UNEP | 24 November 2023
AMR occurs when bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites evolve over time and develop the ability to defeat the drugs designed to combat them. Main drivers of AMR are the misuse of antibiotics; a lack of access to clean water and sanitation; pollution from pharmaceutical companies and farming; mass movement of people and climate change and biodiversity loss.
- Antimicrobial resistance: how much time do we have? | Geneva Solutions | 24 November 2023
AMR, if unchecked, has the potential to become an even greater global threat. It also represents a unique problem that no single player or sector can tackle alone. That’s why it is critical to consider and to use the resources, expertise, and outreach of all actors in the health system in reinforcing the AMR efforts, and thus working towards achieving SDG 3 – ensuring healthy lives and well-being for all.
- Additional Contributions to the WTO Fisheries Funding Mechanism Inject New Support to the Negotiated Instrument | WTO | 23 & 24 November 2023
Contributions from the European Union at EUR 1 million (about CHF 957,000) in a multi-year donation and Liechtenstein at CHF 40,000 were given to the WTO Fisheries Funding Mechanism to assist developing members and least-developed members in implementing the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies. Ambassador João Aguiar Machado and Ambassador Kurt Jäger, respectively, presented the contribution to WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on 23 and 24 November.
- Scientists explore hidden dynamics in peat under mosses and shrubs | EPFL | 23 November 2023
Global warming is causing extensive changes to peatland vegetation in Europe and Western Siberia, with consequences for soil composition and the peatlands’ ability to sequester carbon. An EPFL-led study has examined the mechanisms behind these complex processes.
- Compliance with wildlife trade rules dominates first CITES Standing Committee meeting following CoP19 | CITES Press Release | 21 November 2023
Trade in precious timber and sharks and conservation of elephants, big cats, parrots, eels, marine turtles, and totoaba were among the many critical matters reviewed during the 77th Meeting of the Standing Committee of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora in Geneva from 6-10 November 2023.
30 Sep – 20 Dec 2023
22 Nov – 03 Dec 2023
City of Geneva
27 – 29 Nov 2023
Palais de Nations & Online
27 – 28 Nov 2023
Palais des Nations | Room XXIV
27 Nov 2023 14:00
WTO | Room S3
27 Nov 2023 15:00 – 16:00
Online | Zoom
How the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights can inform the negotiations on a new legally binding instrument to end plastic pollution | 2023 UN BHR Forum
27 Nov 2023 16:40 – 18:00
Palais des Nations | Room XXVI & Online
OHCHR, Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council, Peru, Ecuador, CIEL, GEN
27 Nov 2023 18:30 – 20:00
Uni Mail | MR290
City of Geneva
28 Nov 2023 09:00 – 10:30
Palais des Nations | Room XXIII
Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council
Launch Event “The Quadripartite One Health Legislative Assessment Tool for Antimicrobial Resistance”
28 Nov 2023 10:00 – 16:00
Online | Zoom
FAO, WHO, WOAH, UNEP
28 Nov 2023 12:00
Club Suisse de la Presse & Online | Zoom
Geneva Press Club, Geneva Solutions
28 Nov 2023 12:30 – 13:30
Maison de la paix, Auditorium Ivan Pictet B & Online | Webex
Briefing on the 2nd Session of the Ad Hoc Open-Ended Working Group on the Science-Policy Panel to Contribute Further to the Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste and to Prevent Pollution | Road to OEWG2 Series
28 Nov 2023 13:00
Online | Webex
OEWG SPP CWP, GEN
28 Nov 2023 13:00 – 14:00
Online | BrightTalk
ITU Webinar | Buildings in action: the intersection of digital transformation smart technology and sustainability in cities
28 Nov 2023 15:00 – 16:30
Online | Zoom
28 Nov 2023 17:45
Salle communale de Plainpalais
29 Nov 2023 16:00 – 17:30
Palais des Nations | Building H Auditorium Stairs
29 Nov 2023 17:00 – 18:15
Online | AI for Good Neural Network
30 Nov 2023
Séquestration du carbone dans les sols agricoles genevois – Mise en oeuvre de pratiques agricoles respectueuses des sols | Jeudi de l’environnement
30 Nov 2023 12:00 – 14:00
Republic and State of Geneva
Protected Areas, Indigenous Communities, Deforestation And The Role Of Institutions: Evidence For The Lowlands Of Bolivia
30 Nov 2023 12:15 – 13:30
Maison de la paix | Room P1-847
30 Nov 2023 15:00
WTO | Room D
01 – 03 Dec 2023
Maison des Arts du Grütli
Mission Planète Terre
01 Dec 2023 15:15 – 17:00
Maison de la Paix | The FAB
05 Dec 2023
27 Nov 2023
Gold Standard Foundation
30 Nov 2023
30 Nov 2023
01 Dec 2023
01 Dec 2023
02 Dec 2023
UNEP Chemicals and Health Branch
03 Dec 2023
03 Dec 2023
28 Nov – 14 Dec 2023
Course in Geneva
26 Jan – 31 Dec 2024
Haute école de gestion Genève
Course in Geneva
Leading in the Human Rights Council: An executive course for Geneva-based diplomats in UN Human Rights Mechanisms
17 – 19 Jan 2024
Villa Moynier, 120B Rue de Lausanne
19 Feb 2024