The Geneva Environment Network’s weekly newsletter includes the latest information on the global environmental agenda, main events, job vacancies, 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.
With the move towards normalcy in Switzerland, organizations in International Geneva are slowing coming back to in-person activities. Almost all the remaining sanitary measures have been lifted at the United Nations Secretariat in Geneva and the UN Geneva premises will return to normal occupancy this week.
Image of the week | UNEP/GRID-Geneva team and lead authors at the launch of the UNEP Report “Sand and Sustainability: 10 strategic recommendations to avert a crisis” at the International Environment House II, on 26 April 2022. © Paul Capelli Photography
Geneva Health Forum and the Triple Planetary Crisis
This year’s edition of the Geneva Health Forum (GHF) – held under theme “Covid-19 Pandemic and Environmental Emergency : Reinventing Global Health in times of Global Changes” – offers a platform to discuss the impacts of the triple planetary crisis on our health and the immense challenges that are linked to the intertwinement of human, animal and environmental health. Environmental issues will feature prominently in the programme of the forum, taking place from 3 to 5 May, at the International Conference Center Geneva (CICG) and online. The Geneva Environment Network will support the session on the role of NGOs in strengthening environmental health on Wednesday 4 May.
As GHF Executive Director Eric Comte pointed out, “We need to break the silos between the health organisations but also with other domains, and […] Geneva can play a role to facilitate actions addressing all of these challenges.” In that spirit, the Geneva Environment Network will have a stand at the forum, highlighting key activities of its partners. For those who cannot join in person, our virtual stand compiles relevant resources on the topic.
The Stockholm+50 Conference is a key opportunity to draw on 50 years of multilateral environmental action to achieve the bold and urgent action needed to secure a better future on a healthy planet. As the UN Secretary-General stated on Mother Earth Day, leaders should “bring the ambition and action needed to address our triple planetary emergency” at Stockholm+50. Find more information about the conference and what can be expected in our update.
On 5 May, UNEP is hosting the Europe and North America Regional Multi-stakeholder Consultation in preparation for Stockholm+50 in June this year. The objective of this meeting is to give voice to and facilitate the engagement of as many stakeholders as possible and to ensure a bottom-up mapping of key initiatives and actions needed to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The regional consultation is open to all government and non-government representatives, including those that are not accredited to UNEP, to share their actions towards a healthy planet and a sustainable recovery, and bring to the table their commitments and pledges for action and implementation.
The registration deadline for Stockholm+50 has been extended to 3 May. Organizations in Geneva and beyond are also invited to host associated events which can take place physically anywhere around the world or virtually in support of the Stockholm+50 processes. Applications are welcomed until 15 May.
Humanitarian Networks and Partnerships Weeks
The 2022 edition of the Humanitarian Networks and Partnerships Weeks (HNPW) is taking place in a hybrid format from 2 to 20 May. It provides a collaborative space for practitioners and experts from a large variety of humanitarian stakeholders including UN agencies, NGOs, the Red Cross and Red Crescent movement, academia, the military, private sector initiatives, and Member States. The programme features a number of sessions addressing environmental challenges and opportunities in humanitarian response, including climate mitigation, waste management, Nature-based Solutions, sustainable procurement, and more. On the agenda this week:
- Perspectives from the field: A reality check on the impact of local impediments to environmental sustainability initiatives in humanitarian logistics | 4 May 2022 | 15:30-17:30 CEST | Global Logs Cluster
- Joint Initiative Sustainable Humanitarian Packaging Waste Management: Progress and New Resources | 5 May 2022 | 15:00-16:00 CEST | EHAN
- Voices from the Field: Nature-based Solutions in Humanitarian Contexts | 5 May 2022 | 15:00-16:00 CEST | FEBA
- How to halve an aid organisation’s carbon footprint by 2030? Key learnings for the humanitarian sector | 6 May 2022 | 15:00-16:00 CEST
Ending Plastic Pollution
Following the historic adoption of the UNEA resolution to end plastic pollution, governments are faced with a unique opportunity to address the plastic crisis. In preparations for the Open-Ended Working Group (OEWG) which will meet in Dakar from 29 May to 1 June, the Environmental Investigation Agency published a new report on their Initial Considerations for Plastics Treaty INC, drawing on lessons learnt from existing instruments.
While the kind of measures that need to be adopted are still up for debate, scientists and experts from various institutions are calling for a cap on plastic production, in order to address the issue at its root. Their research published in Science reveals that solutions such as plastic substitutes, recycling and sound waste management will fail to end plastic pollution if the exponentially growing production of plastics remains unaddressed. The study further underlines that phasing out the production of new plastics will come with many societal, environmental and economic benefits. Recent scientific findings with regards to plastic pollution also include:
- Research discovers new bacteria that stick to plastic in the deep sea to travel around the ocean | Newcastle University | 29 April 2022
- Pathogens can hitch a ride on plastic to reach the sea | UC Davis | 26 April 2022
- Maternal Exposure to Polystyrene Micro- and Nanoplastics Causes Fetal Growth Restriction in Mice | Zahra Aghaei, et al. | Environmental Science & Technology | 22 April 2022
- Common Single-Use Consumer Plastic Products Release Trillions of Sub-100 nm Nanoparticles per Liter into Water during Normal Use | Christopher D. Zangmeister et al. | Environmental Science & Technology | 20 April 2022
As we head toward the INC process, the Geneva Environment Network and partners will continue to share relevant resources on the topic to facilitate further engagement and discussion among the stakeholders in International Geneva and beyond. Stay tuned as we will soon announce the upcoming sessions of the Geneva Beat Plastic Pollution Dialogues, including a briefing on 19 May, ahead of the OEWG meeting.
Spring is the perfect time to try out alternative sustainable modes of transport for commuting and daily activities. The Geneva City cycling network covers more than 59% of the 220 km of municipal roads, making it easy to reach all your favorite destinations. In May and June, the national wide campaign Bike to work is encouraging employees to commute by bike through a team challenge. The initiative is led by Pro Vélo Switzerland to promote the bike as an ecological, energy-saving and healthy means of travel. Many companies in the Geneva region will take part in the challenge. On 7 May, Pro Vélo Genève is organizing a “Biking Saturday” with guided bike tours, repair workshops and mechanics courses, and biking courses for beginners.
For those who rather stay on their feet than on pedals, discover a wide variety of cultural events and outdoor activities in our Green Spring in Geneva listing.
What (Else) Should I Read Next?
- 2022 Global Assessment Report on Disaster Risk Reduction | Our World at Risk : Transforming Governance for a Resilient Future | UNDRR | 26 April 2022
The report explores how, around the world, structures are evolving to better address systemic risk. Indeed, despite progress, risk creation is outstripping risk reduction. The report shows how governance systems can evolve to reflect the interconnected value of people, the planet and prosperity.
- Are you ready for nature-related disclosure? | UNEP FI, UNDP and UNEP-WCMC | April 2022
This report presents the results of a corporate sector market readiness assessment on their journey to acknowledge nature-related risk management – and how ready they are to embed these risks and opportunities to operations, towards a consistent reporting and disclosure approach. The report aims to create a clear understanding of the state of play of companies and their expectations towards the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD), presenting corporate’s recommendations and insights.
- Heightened security fears on Chernobyl disaster anniversary | UN News | 26 April 2022
On the 36th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine, the world is again concerned about the safety of nuclear power plants, as the defunct nuclear plant, and the city of Slavutych – whose residents maintain the site that needs constant monitoring to ensure radioactive material does not leak out – was occupied by Russian troops for over a month. Last week, an expert mission led by IAEA Director General arrived on site to step up efforts to help prevent the danger of a nuclear accident during the current conflict in the country. More information in our update for International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day
- ‘We cannot afford greenwashing’: Guterres highlights key role of Net-Zero experts | UN News | 27 April 2022
The new High-Level Expert Group on the Net-Zero Emissions Commitments of Non-State Entities met for the first time last week, an important step toward accelerating non-state action for the climate. The group’s mission is to develop stronger and clearer standards for net-zero emissions pledges by businesses, investors, cities, regions and other non-state actors. For this occasion, the UN Secretary-General emphasized the “need to ensure net-zero commitments are ambitious and credible, and that they align with the highest standards of environmental integrity and transparency”.
- One in five reptiles faces extinction in what would be a ‘devastating’ blow | The Guardian | 27 April 2022
The largest ever analysis of the state of the world’s reptiles, published in Nature, found that more than a fifth of all reptile species are threatened with extinction. NatureServe, IUCN and Conservation International, who led this assessment, are warning of the disastrous impacts that impending loss of reptile species could have on ecosystems around the world.
- UN appoints first independent expert on climate change and human rights | UN News | 25 April 2022
In this interview, Ian Fry, the recently appointed Special Rapporteur on human rights and climate change, explains why the Human Rights Council created his new role. He emphasizes the strong connections between human rights and the climate, as people and their livelihoods are affected by human-induced climate change.
- Boom And Bust Coal 2022 | Global Energy Monitor | 25 April 2022
Global Energy Monitor’s eighth annual survey of the coal plant pipeline finds that global coal plant capacity under development shrank 13% in 2021, but steeper cuts are needed to achieve climate goals. The world still has more than 2,400 coal-fired power plants operating in 79 countries. While humanity’s carbon budget cannot afford more coal to be burned, an additional 189 plants are currently under construction, with another 296 planned.
- Sand and Sustainability: 10 Strategic Recommendations to Avert a Crisis | Report Launch | UNEP/GRID-Geneva and Geneva Environment Network | 26 April 2022
Outcomes of the event launching the new UNEP Sand and Sustainability report.
- Chemicals and Waste Briefing | Geneva Environment Network and partners | 28 April 2022
Outcomes of the event providing an overview of the status of the negotiations related to chemicals and waste and upcoming important conferences.
01 May – 30 Jun 2022
Pro Velo Switzerland
02 – 20 May 2022
Online & CICG
02 – 05 May 2022
Online | Zoom
03 – 05 May 2022
CICG & Online
03 May 2022 09:00 – 17:00
Maison Internationale des Associations
03 May 2022 19:30
Salle Gandhi-Carson, Maison Internationale des Associations
04 May 2022 15:00 – 16:00
Online | Zoom
04 May 2022 18:00
International Conference Center Geneva (CICG)
Alliance Santé Planetaire
Nothing will happen without communities: The role of NGOs in strengthening environmental health | GHF2022
04 May 2022 14:00 – 15:30
CICG | Room C & Online
12th International Conference Code red, the planet is burning! Children’s rights to a healthy, safe and sustainable environment in the midst of a climate crisis?
05 – 06 May 2022
Online | Zoom
UNIGE, HEP-VS, HES-SO , IDE, Service cantonal de la jeunesse, Valais, Terre des Hommes Suisse, CIDE
05 May 2022 08:30 – 17:00
Département des Finances, Secteur de l’Apprentissage| Salle Rond-Point | 9, Rue du Stand
Republic and State of Geneva
05 May 2022 12:30 – 13:45
Domaine de Penthes, Chemin de l'impératrice 18
Geneva Press Club
05 May 2022 13:30 – 14:30
05 May 2022 14:00 – 16:30
Online | Zoom
05 May 2022 18:00 – 20:30
Maison de la Paix (Auditorium Ivan Pictet)
07 May 2022 10:00
08 May 2022 16:00
Musée d'ethnographie de Genève | Boulevard Carl-Vogt 65
03 Jul 2022
04 May 2022
05 May 2022
05 May 2022
05 May 2022
City of Geneva
06 May 2022
06 May 2022
08 May 2022
15 May 2022
04 May 2022
19 Jun 2022
Pro Natura Genève
09 May 2022
26 Apr 2022
28 Nov 2023
03 Jun 2022
30 Oct 2023