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. 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, Youtube, or visit our website regularly for additional updates.

Due to the developments in the sanitary situation, various institutions in Geneva continue operating virtually. 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.

Photo of the week | Photo Exhibition: From Geneva to the World – #MultilateralismMatters | Initiated by the Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations Office in Geneva | On display on Quai Wilson throughout the month of September (vernissage 6 September 2021, closing this week) | Features various panels focusing on environmental governance leading activities of international Geneva.

Nature-based Solutions and the Ocean

As governments and other stakeholders prepare to meet for the 2022 UN Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal, discussing the contribution of Nature-based Solutions (NbS) to the sustainable management of the ocean is a timely issue. Co-hosted by Portugal and Kenya and originally scheduled for 2020, the conference will build momentum for scaling up science-based action to achieve the targets set in SDG 14: Life below Water. It will also harness synergies with the recently launched UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

Ahead of this major event, the Nature-based Solutions and the Ocean Dialogue, convened by IUCN, the Geneva Environment Network, and partners, will highlight the key role of NbS for preserving, restoring, and sustainably managing the ocean, while delivering benefits for people and nature. Register on Webex and join on Monday 27 September at 15.00 CEST for this new session of the Geneva Nature-based Solutions Dialogues, aiming to facilitate discussion among stakeholders in Geneva and beyond and establish a common understanding of NbS, in  the run-up to major negotiations.

Advancing Transboundary Water Cooperation

Ninth Session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Water Convention

The ninth session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Convention on the Protection and Use of Transboundary Watercourses and International Lakes (Water Convention, opened for accession to all UN Member States), convened by UNECE in cooperation with the Government of Estonia, is attracting more that 500 attendees in Geneva or online, from 29 September to 1st October 2021. This meeting is a milestone for reviewing and accelerating progress towards achieving SDG target 6.5, discussing challenges and good practices related to transboundary water cooperation and the role of the Convention.

The high-level segment, scheduled on 29 September, will focus on “Water and Peace”. Various virtual side events on key issues will take place on 27-28 September 2021, ahead of the Meeting of the Parties.

10th International Session of the Initiatives for the Future of Great Rivers

At the invitation of the Geneva Water Office, the 10th International Session of the Initiatives for the Future of Great Rivers (IFRG) is bringing this week to the Swiss Rhone and Lake Geneva, scientists, academics, political and economic actors and representatives of civil society to discuss “River, lake and city: the conditions for a successful alliance”.

Environment @ WTO Public Forum, T4SD Forum & Geneva Trade Week

This year’s WTO Public Forum, entitled “Trade Beyond COVID-19: Building Resilience“, will run from 28 September to 1 October 2021 and look at the effects of the pandemic on trade and how the multilateral trading system can help build resilience to COVID-19 and future crises. The Forum is bringing together representatives of governments, the private sector, civil society, academics, consumers and students to consider how the trading system can help countries further develop this resilience. Participants will discuss the role of trade at a time of crisis and how the WTO can be strengthened to tackle the issues of the 21st century, including global environmental issues. Registration to participate virtually is open until 27 September 2021.

Sessions addressing environmental issues include:

  • Session 6 : Workshop | Building bridges: Border carbon adjustment and the multilateral trading system | IISD | 28 September, 15:05-16:05 CEST
  • Session 10 : Working Session | Building ocean resilience beyond COVID: Global call for collective action on fisheries subsidies | Friends of Ocean Action | 28 September 2021, 16:35-17:35 CEST
  • Session 25 : Working Session | What role and scope for green government procurement in an open international trade environment? | WTO | 29 September 2021, 11:30-12:30 CEST
  • Session 35 : Working Session | PEW & IISD | A WTO fisheries subsidies deal: What it means and why it matters | 20 September, 15:00-16:00 CEST
  • Session 41 : Working Session | Enhancing resilience and sustainable recovery through circular economy and trade | Colombia, Finland, UNEP | 29 September, 16:30-17:30 CEST
  • Session 50 : Working Session | Catching development – Acting together for sustainable fisheries trade | PANG, Handelskampanjen | 30 September, 10:00-11:00 CEST
  • Session 51 : Working Session | Fisheries and aquaculture production and trade: A multistakeholder call for sustainable growth, based on predictable multilateral rules and intrinsic resilience | FAO | 30 September, 11:30-12:30 CEST
  • Session 64 : Working Session | Youth ecopreneurs – Innovating to build back greener | Finland, ITC | 30 September, 15:00-16:00 CEST
  • Session 65 : Working Session | Trade and environment at MC12: How can governments work together at the WTO to support a green and fair global economy? | TESS | 30 September, 15:00-16:00 CEST
  • Session 74 : Working Session | Trade and climate change: What is at stake for developing countries? | Costa Rica, Worldbank | 30 September, 16:30-17:30 CEST
  • Session 78 : Working Session | Building trade resilience for sustainable recovery: WTO’s role in plastics’ life-cycle | CCG, ACEF | 1 October, 10:00-11:00 CEST
  • Session 83 : Working Session | Achieving resilience through climate compatible trade: Aligning Africa’s green recovery and the implementation agenda of the African Continental Free Trade Area | ODI | 1 October, 11:30-12:30 CEST
  • Session 88 : Working Session | Building resilient and sustainable regional and global value chains through the AfCFTA | UNECA, ODI, UNEP, TESS | 1 October, 13:30-14:30 CEST
  • Session 96 : Working Session | Digital trade and the environment | techUK | 1 October, 15:00-16:00 CEST
  • Session 98 : Working Session | WTO and a climate agreement – What should a new agreement include to support the climate transition? | Sweden | 1 October, 15:00-16:00 CEST

The International Trade Centre’s (ITC) Trade for Sustainable Development (T4SD) Forum 2021, will take place on 27-28 September, in conjunction with the WTO Public Forum 2021.

The Geneva Trade Week 2021 is taking place from 27 September to 1st October 2021, in the margins of the WTO Public Forum.

Environment @ 48th Session of the Human Rights Council

The 48th Session of the Human Rights Council (HRC48), continues this week in Geneva. Our update provides the latest news and highlights the environmental-related activities of this session.

Last week, the Special Rapporteur on Toxics, Marco Orellana, presented his report on the right to science in the context of toxic substances (A/HRC/48/61). The report highlights how States and other stakeholders should join efforts to establish a global science-policy interface platform on chemicals and waste that is free of conflicts of interest. Such a platform could raise global awareness of the serious toxification of the planet, identify emerging issues of concern and produce authoritative scientific assessments to prevent exposure to harmful chemicals and waste. Read or watch the outcomes of the side event discussing the report. Additional resources:

The Right to Science is a key tool for humanity to confront the triple crisis of pollution climate change and biodiversity. For this it requires that measures be aligned with the best available science. In order to achieve that, science-policy interface platforms that are free of conflict of interest are key and critical to transform knowledge into policy.

In view of upcoming debates on whether to initiate negotiations toward a new plastics treaty at the next UN Environment Assembly in February 2022, a second side event co-convened by the Special Rapporteur explored the impacts of plastics on human rights, as well as the elements of a human rights-based approach in a new legally binding global instrument. Read or watch the outcomes of the side event.

To deal with a global plastic crisis, action is needed at all levels – local, national, regional, and international. Addressing human rights impacts is necessary in each of the stages of the plastic lifecycle. Adopting a right-based approach to response measures and to a globally legally binding instrument is key for effective and legitimate solutions.

Happening Abroad

  • CPW Wildlife Forum 2021 | Budapest, Hungary & Online | 26-27 September 2021
    Under the central theme of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, the Wildlife Forum will discuss how to move from theory towards further implementation of policies and actions in relation to sustainable wildlife management.
  • Pre-COP 26 Summit | 30 September – 2 October 2021
    The Pre-COP 26 Summit will take place ahead of the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 26) to the UNFCCC.

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