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, or visit our website regularly for additional updates. With the forthcoming Easter break, this edition covers a period of two weeks.

Due to the developments in the sanitary situation, most institutions in Geneva are 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.

Human Development and the Anthropocene

A presentation of the latest UNDP Human Development Report (HDR), “The next frontier: Human development and the Anthropocene“, targeting the international Geneva community, is taking place on 30 March 2021. The report investigates how humanity can navigate the Anthropocene – a new age in which human activity has become a dominant force shaping the planet. It unpacks the relationships between people and the planet and shows how our impacts on the Earth interact with inequalities across societies. Emphasizing that we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to change, the 2020 HDR suggests a way forward to continue human development while easing planetary pressures. Register and join at 15.00 CEST.

Environmental Justice Impacts of Plastic Pollution

The virtual launch of the new UNEP-Azul report “NEGLECTED: Environmental Justice Impact of Plastic Pollution” is taking place on 30 March 2021, at 17.30 CEST. The report highlights how plastic pollution hinders the achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and demonstrates how the entire life cycle of plastics — from source extraction to waste —  disproportionately affects marginalized communities around the world. It reviews international treaties and conventions, as well as regional and local policies, and includes practical recommendations for different actors to address the challenges of plastic pollution.

United to Reverse Biodiversity Loss and its Impacts

The dates for the 2021 UN Biodiversity Conference, where Member States should agree on the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, have been confirmed for 11-24 October 2021. Meanwhile, activities in International Geneva to advance on the global biodiversity agenda include:

  • The Gender and Biodiversity Nexus Dialogues, organized by the UN Environment Management Group in collaboration with the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity on 29-30 March 2021, will unpack the linkages between gender, biodiversity and the broader environmental and sustainable development agenda, and address the gaps, opportunities and next steps for collaboration and synergies in implementation of a new gender plan of action for biodiversity, and for gender responsive implementation of the post-2020 global biodiversity framework.
  • The Green Growth Knowledge Partnership (GGKP) and the Economic Statistics Working Group (ESWG) are hosting the webinar “Dasgupta Report: Recommendations for revised economic accounting” on 30 March. The event will feature Sir Partha Dasgupta, whose landmark report on Biodiversity calls for improvements to economic accounting to recognise and measure natural assets and progressively move towards measuring inclusive wealth.
  • The UN Partnership for Action on Green Economy will release the 4th episode of its Green Renaissance Podcast on the roles of sustainable finance in building a nature-positive economy. Check out the teaser and discover the full podcast on 31 March 2021.
  • The virtual IUCN Youth Global Summit will kick off on 5 April 2021. The Summit will strengthen connections between young leaders and their existing global networks, encourage interdisciplinary learning, provide a space for broader storytelling on conservation, and add momentum to growing youth movements for nature and climate.
  • The Museum of Natural History of Geneva is launching on 6 April a new space for the public to get informed and seek solutions to environmental challenges, such as biodiversity loss and climate change. In collaboration with scientists and information specialists, AG!R will welcome anyone to read, think, but also meet, play, make, have fun, and above all take action!
  • The Geneva Nature-based Solutions Dialogues will facilitate further engagement and discussion among the stakeholders in International Geneva and beyond in the run-up to major negotiations this year. Convened by the Geneva Environment Network and IUCN, this one-year journey will start on 26 April. Stay tuned!

WTO and the Environment

The new appointed WTO Director-General, Dr Okonjo-Iweala, mentioned in her speeches that the Delegations to the WTO recognize that the issue of Trade and Environment/Climate Change is key and want forward movement on this. WTO should work to ensure that it best supports the green and circular economy and addresses more broadly the nexus between trade and climate change. She also said that the negotiations on fishery subsidies are difficult, but Members should exercise the necessary flexibility for progress to be made on this important issue, leaving the twelfth Ministerial Conference (MC12) as the venue to conclude on modalities for implementation.

This week, in parallel to the WTO Trade and Environment Committee meeting of 30 March, WTO members are organizing online events on COVID-19, green recovery, circularity, and sustainable supply chains:

Achieving the SDGs in the Mediterranean Region

The event “Making Peace with Nature and Delivering on the SDGs in the Mediterranean“, organized within the framework of the Geneva Environment Network, will present the environmental challenges faced by the Mediterranean region, and discuss the opportunity for the Contracting Parties to the Convention for the Protection of the Mediterranean Sea Against Pollution (Barcelona Convention) to “flick the green switch” this year, for a sustainable, resilient and inclusive future in the basin. Register and join us at on 8 April 2021 at 9.30 CEST.

What (Else) Should I Read Next?

  • African elephant species now Endangered and Critically Endangered – IUCN Red List | IUCN | 25 March 2021
    Update of the IUCN Red List, now including two species of African elephants whose population have declined over several decades due to poaching for ivory and loss of habitat, and calling for strengthened conservation efforts, as existing initiatives have shown successful results. 
  • Study finds evidence of 55 new chemicals in people | University of California | 17 March 2021
    New scientific study providing evidence of the presence of more than 100 chemicals in the blood of pregnant women and their newborn children, including 55 chemicals never reported before in people and 42 “mystery chemicals,” whose sources and uses are unknown.
  • Microplastics and algae tangle in the Great Lakes | Environmental Health News | 17 March 2021
    Recent study which found significant amount of microplastics in algae from the Great Lakes (US and Canada), potentially contaminating fishes and ultimately people through the food chain. 
  • ‘A sip can kill’: did a chemical company misrepresent data to avoid making a safer product? | The Guardian | 24 March 2021
    Overview of the recent revelations around paraquat, a highly toxic herbicide which is known to have caused thousands of deaths, and the possible role of its producers in minimizing the dangers of the substance over the past decades.
  • Brief Recommends Policy Shifts to Improve Health in the Anthropocene | IISD | 22 March 2021
    Policy brief uncovering the need to link climate, biodiversity and health policies in order to build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic. This brief is part of the Still Only One Earth series being published by IISD in the lead-up to Stockholm+50.
  • New fund leverages nature to adapt to climate change | UNEP | 25 March 2021
    Launch of the Global EbA Fund, led by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which will provide grants for innovative approaches to ecosystem-based adaptation.
  • Just Launched: Renewables in Cities – 2021 Global Status Report | REN21 | 18 March 2021
    Annual overview report of the global transition to renewable energy at the city-level, showcasing the leadership of many cities in advancing renewables, setting targets, and implementing regulatory policies, financial and fiscal incentives.
  • 53rd bis Session of the IPCC (IPCC-53 bis) | Earth Negotiations Bulletin | 22-26 March 2021
    Outcomes of the Fifty-third (bis) Session of the IPCC (IPCC-53 bis), having adopted decisions on the modalities for the approval of Working Group I’s contribution to AR6, strategic planning, & bureau elections. 
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Ouverture de l’espace AG!R

06 Apr 2021

Muséum d'histoire naturelle | 1, route de Malagnou

Muséum d’histoire naturelle

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20 Feb 2024

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