The Geneva Environment Network’s weekly newsletter includes the latest information on the global environmental agenda, main eventsjob vacancies, learning opportunities, as well as other useful resources and updates. Stay tuned and follow us also on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn, and Youtube, or visit our website regularly for additional updates.

Image of the week | The UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of climate change, Ian Fry, presenting his report to the Human Rights Council, on 27 June 2023.

Discussing Global Science-Policy Panels Strengths and Limits

The triple planetary crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution is complex and intertwined, calling for active engagement between scientists and policy actors towards science-informed solutions.

A roundtable, organized by the Geneva Science-Policy Interface in collaboration with the Geneva Environment Network, will discuss the strengths and limits of existing global intergovernmental science-policy interfaces: the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). It will also explore the stakes and challenges linked to this type of boundary organization notably for the creation of new interfaces such as the science-policy panel on chemicals, waste, and pollution prevention.

The session is included in the programme of the University of Geneva Summer School on “Science-Policy Interfaces for Environmental Solutions: Learning to Span Boundaries” and is open to all stakeholders.  → Register and join us in person or online on Tuesday 4 July 2023 from 13:00 to 14:30 CEST.

Environment @ Human Rights Council

The environment continues to remain high on the agenda of the 53rd session of the Human Rights Council (HRC53), as the Council holds its annual panel on the adverse impacts of climate change on the full realization of the right to food. This year, the panel and the interactive dialogue tackling the UN Secretary-General’s report (Advanced Unedited version) on the same topic will take place on 3 and 4 July 2023. It is to be noted that during the interactive dialogue, the European Union will deliver a joint statement, co-sponsored by other member states, on the importance of transparent, inclusive, safe and meaningful participation by civil society in international climate discussions, including the upcoming UN Climate Conference (COP28) (contact:

Outcomes of last week include:

  • The UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and climate change presented his report to the Council on the human rights implications of climate change displacement including the provision of legal protection for people displaced across international borders. He highlighted that despite existing guidelines and obligations, those displaced often face numerous human rights violations, where women and children are disproportionately more affected due to the lack of legal protection in international law. His recommendations include an optional protocol under the Convention on Refugees that would define and outline legal protection for people displaced across international borders due to climate change.
  • In the margins of the Council, the protection of labor rights in the United Arab Emirates, host country of the 2023 UN Climate Conference – UNFCCC COP28, was also discussed with the UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, as the country is facing one of the hardest climate change-related rising heat conditions. Vital Signs Partnership launched the third of a series of reports on the deaths of migrant workers in the Gulf states, which focuses on how extreme and rising temperatures, combined with inadequate protective measures, are placing migrant workers across the region at acute risk of potentially fatal heat-related illnesses and injuries. In this context, applying a human rights approach and protecting a safe and healthy working environment, recognized last year by the International Labour Organization as a Fundamental Principle and Right at Work is essential. It is also to be noted that non-governmental and civil society organizations, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, expressed concerns about how the human rights situation in the country might negatively affect participation, freedom of expression, and the success of the meeting.

Regular updates on key environmental issues at HRC53, side events, summaries, highlights, and further resources are available on our HRC53 and the environment-dedicated webpage.

Advancing SDGs Through Artificial Intelligence

The AI for Good Global Summit, organized by the International Telecommunication Union in partnership with 40 UN sister agencies and co-convened with the government of Switzerland, is the leading action-oriented United Nations platform promoting artificial intelligence (AI) to advance the Sustainable Development Goals and connect AI innovators with public and private sector decision-makers to help scale AI solutions globally. The 2023 edition will take place from 6 to 7 July 2023 in Geneva and include various sessions of interest for the global environmental agenda. It is preceded by two days of Machine Learning (ML) Workshops on 4 and 5 July 2023.

It is also to be noted that this week, La Fresque du Numérique (Digital Fresco) will address the environmental challenges of digital technology, through a fun workshop. Register and attend on 3 July from 17:00 to 20:00 CEST the workshop organized by Impact Hub Geneva.

New Swiss Ambassador for the Environment

Last week, the Federal Council conferred on Felix Wertli the title of Switzerland’s new Ambassador for the Environment. In his new capacity, he will represent Switzerland’s international environmental policy abroad and will lead Swiss delegations at international environmental negotiations.

H.E. Amb. Felix Wertli is replacing H.E. Amb. Franz Perrez, as head of the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment International Affairs Division from 1 July 2023. H.E. Amb. Franz Perrez served in this position since 2010 and represented Switzerland in historic environmental negotiations. Under his mandate, he demonstrated Switzerland’s support for the global environmental agenda and the International Geneva environmental community. He has been referred to as one of the Heroes of Environmental Diplomacy, in the book edited in 2022 by Felix Dodds and Chris Spence. Since 1 July 2023, he is the Head of the Directorate of International Law at the Federal Office of Foreign Affairs.

Holiday Season | Green Summer in Geneva

With schools closing, the holiday season begins for many in Geneva. While remaining mindful of how climate change impacts the region, as low precipitations and rising heat might be causing droughts and weak flows in Geneva’s rivers, many sustainable and green activities are taking place during the summer.

Events of interest taking place this week include:

  • AGRI.FÊTE | From 7 to 9 July, Genève Terroir will host a festival of local agriculture, offering a space to local actors and providing games, entertainment, workshops, tastings, sales, food trucks, concerts, and more.
  • Les Nocturnes de St-Pierre | On 3 July, from 21:00 and 23:30 CEST it will be possible to visit St. Peter Cathedral (full moon evening).
  • 5ème Biennale Insulaire des Espaces d’Art de Genève | Inspired by the element of water, the Biennale aims to bring people together in a fluid way, betting on the cohabitation and pooling of resources. Open until 9 July, various activities, workshops employing recycled resources and more will be offered at Perle du Lac.

Find more activities and suggestions for a Green Summer in Geneva 2023.

Happening Abroad

  • 45th Meeting of the Open-ended Working Group of the Parties to the Montreal Protocol | From 3 to 7 July 2023 parties will meet in Bangkok, Thailand. Delegates will consider challenges including funding for implementation, strengthening the treaty’s effectiveness, and responding to new global circumstances—such as the growing problem of dumping of obsolete technologies in developing countries. Follow the ENB Live Coverage.
  • Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC 80) | The 80th session of the Marine Environment Protection Committee of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) will meet in person at its headquarters in London (with hybrid participation) from 3-7 July 2023. Amongst key agenda items, the MEPC 80 session is expected to adopt an upgraded IMO greenhouse gas strategy.
  • Seventh Ministerial Conference on Environment and Health | The Ministerial Conference, taking place in Budapest from 5 to 7 July 2023, will define the future environment and health priorities and commitments for the WHO European Region, with a focus on addressing the health dimensions of the triple environmental crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss, and environmental pollution.
  • One Sustainable Health for All 2023 Forum (Global Forum on Inclusive and Adaptive Systems for Health) | The 2023 Forum, taking place from 5 to 7 July 2023 in Lyon, France, will bring together high-level political and technical stakeholders from different countries to discuss the recommendations drafted by the six international working groups and map out the path towards the integration of a One Sustainable Health approach in budgets, programs, and projects at country-level.

What (Else) to Read Next?

  • GEF Council approves plans for ‘game-changing’ Global Biodiversity Framework Fund | GEF Press Release | 29 June 2023
    The Global Environment Facility’s governing board has approved plans to establish a “game-changing” new fund to finance the implementation of the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, which aims to put nature on a recovery path by the end of this decade.
  • A One Health Priority Research Agenda for Antimicrobial Resistance | FAO, UNEP, WHO, WHOA | 28 June 2023
    This research agenda is a guiding tool in One Health AMR research for investment, research activities, and planning for countries and funding bodies.
  • Canadian Smoke Reaches Europe | NASA Earth Observatory | 27 June 2023
    Smoke from wildland fires, which have been burning in the Canadian province of Quebec for weeks, has crossed the Atlantic Ocean and darkened skies in southwestern Europe.
  • After 25 years of the Aarhus Convention, States’ compliance with environmental rights obligations matters more than ever | UNECE | 26 June 2023
    “Faced with the climate crisis, biodiversity loss, pollution and shrinking democratic space in many countries – including rising threats to and criminalization of environmental defenders –, we need more than ever to ensure public access to information, participation and justice in environmental decision making. By joining the Aarhus Convention and fulfilling its obligations, all UN Member States can demonstrate their commitment to environmental rights, transparency and accountability, and the public’s crucial role in protecting our shared, sustainable future”, stated UNECE ES Olga Algayerova. 
  • What does “unabated” fossil fuels mean? | Climate Home News | 26 June 2023
    The word “unabated” qualifies commitments to phase out fossil fuels. But setting a clear definition is the subject of fierce debates.
  • How Plastics Are Poisoning Us | Elizabeth Kolbert | 26 June 2023
    To make a significant dent in plastic waste—and to “end plastic pollution”—will probably require not just substitution but elimination. If much of contemporary life is wrapped up in plastic, and the result of this is that we are poisoning our kids, ourselves, and our ecosystems, then contemporary life may need to be rethought.
  • From Feedstocks to Feedback Loops: Linking Chemicals and Climate Change | IISD SDG Knowledge Hub | 21 June 2023
    The chemical sector is part of the climate problem because of its own GHG emissions and the global warming potential of some of the chemicals it produces. Yet, through green chemistry, it could be part of the solution.
  • The Sustainable Fashion Communication Playbook | UNEP and UN Climate Change | 19 June 2023
    The Sustainable Fashion Communication Playbook provides a shared vision, principles, and guidance on how to align consumer-facing communication across the global fashion industry with sustainability targets.
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Global Science-Policy Panels: Strengths and Limits

04 Jul 2023 13:00 – 14:30

International Environment House I & Online | Webex


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