The Geneva Environment Network weekly newsletter includes updates on global environmental agenda, main events, job vacancies expiring soon, learning opportunities, as well as other useful news 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, or visit our website regularly for additional updates.

Another busy week with numerous events and the possibility to join live the events organized at the UN General Assembly. This edition contains a selection of events. Click on “see all” to access the full list.

Environment @ HRC45

The 45th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council (HRC45) will conclude this week in Geneva. Consult our update “Environment @ 45th Session of the UN Human Rights Council” providing an overview of the environmental-related topics addressed at the council and relevant links to documents, videos and summaries. #HRC45

On 21 September, the Children’s Environmental Rights Initiative (CERI) together with the Child Rights Connect Working Group on Environment delivered a statement to the Council during an interactive dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on hazardous substances, demanding a strong resolution that commits States to place children’s rights at the heart of environmental policies and action, and to formally recognizes children’s right to a healthy environment.

On 25 September, the Geneva Interfaith Forum for Climate Change, Environment and Human Rights delivered a joint statement calling for the establishment of a special procedures mandate on Human Rights and Climate Change.

The Right to a Healthy Environment

Following the appeal “The Time Is Now“, mobilization to make a final push to secure universal recognition of the right of all to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment continued last week:

Environment @ UNGA 75

Our update “Environment @ 75th Session of UN General Assembly” lists some of the key moments of UNGA 75.

UN Summit on Biodiversity

This week, the United Nations Summit on Biodiversity will be convened by the President of the General Assembly on 30 September 2020, at the level of Heads of State and Government under the theme of “Urgent action on biodiversity for sustainable development.”

Research shows that biodiversity is declining globally at unprecedented rates in human history. For instance, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) published in 2019 a Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services stressing that “1 million animal and plant species are threatened with extinction, 75% of the land surface is significantly altered, 66% of the ocean area is experiencing increasing cumulative impacts, and over 85% of wetlands (area) has been lost.” The recent WWF Living Planet Report 2020, issued on 10 September 2020, underlines that “the population sizes of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles have seen an alarming average drop of 68% since 1970.” Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the relationship between people and nature, calling for urgent action on biodiversity conservation. The Global Biodiversity Outlook 5 (GBO-5), released on 15 September 2020 by the Convention on Biological Diversity, stresses that we have not met the Aichi Biodiversity Targets to halt biodiversity loss and protect ecosystems. However, we can still act and change course through the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.

The Summit will give momentum to the development and the eventual adoption of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework at the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD COP15), scheduled to take place in 2021. The post-2020 biodiversity framework will define the targets, the means and the mechanisms to assess the progress, in order to accelerate action on biodiversity for sustainable development.

Ahead of the Summit, UNEP and adidas Runtastic are teaming up with Internet of Elephants and other conservation organizations to challenge runners to outrun iconic endangered individual wild animals in a bid to rally support for biodiversity protection worldwide. The Run Wild Challenge is open between 25 September and 4 October, providing citizens with a platform to call for conservation action around the Summit – with an ambitious goal to engage 1 million runners, symbolizing 1 million species threatened by extinction.

In preparation to the Biodiversity Summit taking, Nature for Life, organized by UNEP, UNDP and CBD, proposes multiple sessions to discuss how to halt biodiversity loss. Two sessions take place this week:

  • Global Ambition Day: “Creating a planetary response to our planetary emergency.” | 28 September
  • Local Action Day: “Celebrating the power of local action on nature for development.” | 29 September

Climate Change Summit

With the COVID-19 pandemic having disrupted plans to hold the annual international UN climate meeting (UNFCCC COP26) this year, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom announced last week that they will instead co-host a “landmark global event” on 12 December, the fifth anniversary of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.

Environment @ Geneva Trade Week

The Geneva Trade Week 2020 – a digital conference organized by the Geneva Trade Platform – is taking place this week in Geneva,  bringing together policymakers, academics, experts, the private sector and activists to discuss trade, its impact, and its connection to various issues. Find here a selection of sessions discussing environmental-related issues, including biodiversity, climate, circular economy, overfishing, plastic pollution, and more. #GTW2020

This week learn more about Trade and Environment Governance at the World Trade Organization Committee on Trade and Environment at the WTO Trade and Environment Division Speakers Series on 30 September, presenting a unique book focusing on resolving the conflict between environment and trade norms through dispute settlement mechanisms. The author of this book has interacted as an ambassador with negotiators, the WTO Secretariat, media, and academics.

Greening the China-Mongolia-Russia economic corridor

On Thursday, you are cordially invited to attend the launch of a new report “Greening the China–Mongolia–Russia economic corridor – A virtual synthesis”, organized within the framework of the Geneva Environment Network. This report, illustrating the Belt and Road developments in Mongolia, was prepared by Zoï Environment Network, with the support of the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment and the Permanent Mission of Mongolia to the United Nations in Geneva.

Register to join us physically at the International Environment House or online on webex.

1st International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste

This year, on 29 September, we celebrate the first ever observance of the International Day of Awareness of Food Loss and Waste, as globally, around 14 percent of the food produced is lost between harvest and retail. Significant quantities are also wasted in retail and at the consumption level. FAO will host a global virtual meeting aiming at sharing experiences and opportunities for the reduction of food losses and waste.

Minamata Online

Minamata Online, the new series of digital engagement providing an opportunity for stakeholders to better understand the Minamata Convention. This week don’t miss the session on

COVID-19 and the Environment

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. An interesting event this week:

Afterwork | Festival du Film Vert & Grand Nettoyage du Lac Léman

Afterwork activities suggested this week:

  • The 2020 edition of the Festival du Film Vert – Geneva, continues this week in Geneva, with numerous films scheduled (see all) and will close with a special programme at the Ferme biologique de la Touvière, on 3-4 October.
  • The Net’Léman cleanup of lake Léman is back on 3-4 October. People of all ages will come together to clean up the lake. Two years ago the initiative recovered 5 500 kg of waste, in total 110 tonnes of waste have been collected and separated for recycling since the first such clean-up was held in 2005.

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Ongoing Contests

24 Sep 2020