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 Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Youtube, or visit our website regularly for additional updates.

Image of the week | Meeting of the Aarhus Convention Special Rapporteur on environmental defenders, on 23 November 2022. “The individuals, groups, communities, movements, and organizations that are standing up for the enjoyment of the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment as recognized by the UN General Assembly need to be better protected and supported. I am deeply convinced that the Rapid Response Mechanism established under the Aarhus Convention has a key role to play in that regard,” said the Special Rapporteur, Michel Forst. © UNECE, Thomas Croll-Knight.

Global Plastics Crisis: Towards a Legally Binding Treaty

This week, Member States and stakeholders are convening in Punta del Este, Uruguay, for the start of the negotiations towards a global plastics treaty. At this first session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution (INC-1), kicking off on 28 November, governments are expected to adopt the rules of procedure suggested by the OEWG last May and discuss the objectives and scopes of the instrument, as well as options for its structure. Follow the negotiations in the Earth Negotiations Bulletin.

Due to the global importance of this meeting as well as its relevance for governance processes in Geneva, many organizations from our region are actively engaged in this negotiation, and the numerous events taking place in parallel to the session. Visit our special page “Towards Plastic Pollution INC-1 for information about the meeting, perspectives from Geneva, and latest news in the run-up to and during the conference.

Multi-Stakeholder Forum | As requested by the UNEA resolution 5/14, UNEP Executive Director convened a hybrid multi-stakholder forum in the margin of INC-1. Held on 26 November, the Forum was opened to all stakeholders, including governments, the private sector working on different stages of the plastics life cycle, scientists and researchers, the finance sector, civil society groups, including the informal sector, Indigenous Peoples, and youth, and aimed to facilitate the exchange of information and gather perspectives from different stakeholders across the plastics life cycle. However, civil society groups, Indigenous Peoples, and other stakeholders pointed with concern to the presence of those companies responsible for plastic pollution and hidden industry influence at the forum.

High Ambition Coalition | Last week, the High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution submitted its statement to INC1, stressing the importance of binding obligations across the full lifecycle of plastics, the need to restrain plastic consumption and production to sustainable levels and eliminate problematic plastics, substances and additives. The coalition reiterates its commitment to an ambitious treaty to fight the plastic pollution scourge, which contributes to the triple planetary crisis and already has impacts on ecosystems and biodiversity as well as the climate and human health. New members are still joining the coalition. The EU notably announced its support to the initiative last Thursday, joined in the last days by Colombia, GreenlandJordan, Mali and Panama

New Resources | Over the past weeks, new publications have brought attention to some elements that are key for the success the future instrument. Scientists called for explicitly addressing chemicals in plastics: leaving the issue aside would undermine the treaty by failing to fully protect human health and the environment for the impacts of plastic pollution. A new UN-Habitat report underlined the importance of a just transition for informal waste pickers, while civil society organizations called for adopting a human rights-based approach in the treaty. Read more in our selection of scientific articles, reports, and news:

Geneva Briefing on the UN Biodiversity Conference

While the 19th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES CoP19), or World Wildlife Conference, concluded in Panama last week, with a record number of species to be regulated by CITES after CoP19, Member States and other stakeholders are preparing for another major negotiation.

The UN Biodiversity Conference will take place in December in Montreal, and has been coined the “best and last chance” to halt and reverse the decline of nature, as governments are expected to adopt the post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework (GBF). This week, the Geneva Executive Briefing on the UN Biodiversity Conference, organized a few days ahead of the Conference, and as follow-up to the meetings of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention of Wetlands, the Convention on Climate Change, and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, will provide updates on the preparations of this important event and the perspectives from the Geneva Biodiversity Cluster. Register and join us online on Wednesday 30 November at 14.00 CET

Additional resources in the run-up to the conference →

From Science to Zero Pollution Actions

The EU Czech Presidency high-level event on Strengthening Multilateralism through Science, hosted together with the United Nations Environment Programme, is taking place on 29-30 November 2022. This two day conference is organized in the context of UNEP@50 and Stockholm+50 milestones that successfully bolster the visibility and importance of science as a foundation of environmental multilateralism.

The Geneva Environment Network is supporting the event, in particular the Panel Discussion “From Science to Zero Pollution Actions”. This topic is of importance for international Geneva, as a global hub for the governance of hazardous substances. The discussion is also particularly relevant following the adoption of the UN Environment Assembly resolution supporting the establishment of a comprehensive and ambitious science policy panel to contribute further to the sound management of chemicals and waste and to prevent pollution, supported by many actors in Geneva. Register and join us online on Wednesday 30 November at 10:00 CET

Standards and the Triple Planetary Crisis

International standards are a powerful tool in support of global policy. Yet, they often remain an obscure terrain for non-experts. In order to foster exchange between the environmental community and the standards community in Geneva, the Geneva Environment Network and the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) are convening an event “Standards and the Triple Planetary Crisis” to explore how international standards can help tackle the climate, biodiversity and pollution crises. This session, moderated by the Director of the Forum on Trade, Environment & the SDGs (TESS), will discuss how international standards can be used as tools to implement environmental policy frameworks and help translate a policy goal into action globally.   While online attendance is possible, we encourage those in Geneva to join us in person on Thursday 1 December from 13:30 CET, for the event, and the reception and informal exchange that will follow.

Environment @ UN Business and Human Rights Forum

The 2022 edition of the United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights is taking place at Palais des Nations and online, from 28 – 30 November, under the theme “Rights Holders at the Centre: Strengthening Accountability to Advance Business Respect for People and Planet in the Next Decade”. Various activities at the Forum will address environmental-related issues → Consult our selection of environment-related activities

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