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 | Ta panta rei (in Greek, “everything flows”), the 60-metre long monumental ceramic mural by Swiss artist Hans Erni, has been welcoming people into the Palais des Nations for more than a decade. Symbolizing the fight and hope for peace, freedom and social justice for all people on the planet, it reminds passers-by and officials going to the UN of the importance of multeralism for achieving global peace. “I want to prove that the inside and outside of the United Nations have become one and want our world to save itself through peace.” — Hans Erni, 2009.

Towards a Legally Binding Treaty to End Plastic Pollution

We are now less than one month away from the first session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to Develop an International Legally Binding Instrument on Plastic Pollution (Plastic Pollution INC-1). Various events this week offer opportunities to learn more about this process and how stakeholders can engage:

  • The co-conveners of the Geneva Beat Plastic Pollution Dialogues are hosting a Briefing in preparation of INC-1, on 2 November at 13:30 CET, with the Executive Secretary of the INC Plastic Pollution Secretariat and diverse stakeholders, including Uruguay as the host country. This hybrid event will provide perspectives from various stakeholders on preparations and key expectations for this first session. → Join us in person at the International Environment House I or online.
  • Also on Wednesday 2 November, at 10:00 CET, the Permanent Missions of Ecuador, Norway, Peru, Rwanda and Switzerland are hosting a Briefing on the High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution at the International Conference Center Geneva (CICG). The objective of the briefing is to inform about the important work of the High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution notably in advance of INC-1. The coalition which was launched in late August now counts 30 Member States who are committed to a truly effective global treaty that will establish common global rules, turn off the tap and end plastic pollution by 2040.
  • The INC secretariat is also proposing technical briefings to support preparations for INC-1.

Find relevant information, research, data and/or press releases issued by our partners in Geneva and other institutions around the world on the global journey to end plastic pollution on the Geneva Environment Network Plastics and the Environment Resources Pages.

Environment @ Geneva Peace Week 2022

The Geneva Peace Week 2022 (GPW22) will take place both in-person and online from 31 October to 4 November 2022 under the theme of “Peace is Possible”. This annual forum, convened by the Geneva Peacebuilding Platform, provides a dedicated space in which organizations in Geneva and their international partners come together to share knowledge, expertise and practice on a diverse range of topics relating to the promotion of peace across contexts and disciplines.

This event will be the opportunity to reflect on important questions at the nexus of peace and environment, including the impacts of conflict on the environment, the role of the environment for peacebuilding, and the relevance of cross-sectoral approaches to environment and peace. Events on this theme, both in-person and online, will take place on 1 November, including a High Level Panel on the track “Cultivating the cooperation: Environmental challenges and opportunities in a new age of insecurity” at 13:30 CET.

Last week, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), together with Geneva-based institutions, presented and discussed their flagship report Environment of Peace: Security in a New Era of Risk, providing policy principles and recommendations.

These discussions are more than timely as we celebrate the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict on 6 November. This observance reminds us that action on the environment is part of conflict prevention, peacekeeping and peacebuilding strategies. There can be no durable peace if the natural resources that sustain livelihoods and ecosystems are destroyed. Geneva plays an important role in promoting environmental protection in conflict situations, with key actors based in the region. Read more →

Parties to the Convention on Wetlands Negotiating in Geneva

Parties and observers to the Convention on Wetlands – Ramsar Convention – will convene in Geneva and Wuhan (China) for their 14th meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP14), from 5 to 13 November 2022. The opening ceremony and the high-level segment, to be held on Sunday 6 November, from 9:00 – 11:00 CET, will be in a hybrid modality with participation of invited representatives both in Wuhan, and Geneva. Negotiations, with 23 draft resolutions to be considered, and all other aspects of COP14 will take place in-person in Geneva at CICG. Information for participants can be found in the COP14 handbook.

This year’s COP14: Wetlands Action for People and Nature, is an important opportunity to raise ambition for wetlands and the Convention’s mission to save wetlands and their services for a sustainable, equitable and carbon-neutral future.
— Musonda Mumba, Secretary General, Wetlands Convention

Over 70 side events related to regional and global themes relevant to the Convention are scheduled. On 8 November, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Geneva Environment Network will host the side event on “Unpacking the Potential of Wetlands for Addressing Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss”, with the support of NetworkNature and the EU Commission. Join us online if you are not registered to attend COP14.

Stay tuned with the latest news from COP14 and our activities in our update.

International Collaboration for One Health

While not an official UN observance, 3 November is celebrated by many as One Health Day. The global campaign is co-coordinated by the One Health Commission, the One Health Initiative Autonomous pro bono Team and the One Health Platform Foundation with the aim of bringing global attention to the need for One Health collaborations. In this context, a coalition of organizations working on environmental health, including the Geneva Health Forum, are launching the first One Health Mural, a fun and collaborative tool whose primary objective is to help people understand the impact of our societies on our health and on the planet. Learn more at the launch event on 3 November, 17:00 CET.

→  The value of the One Health approach and the need to turn it into concrete action was echoed in various scientific articles and reports published recently. Stay updated through our One Health resource page.

  • One Health Approach Can Prevent the Next Pandemic | World Bank | 24 October 2022
    The World Bank’s latest flagship report calls for the universal adoption of an integrated approach to sustainably balance and optimize the health of people, animals, and ecosystems, highlighting three main entry points – timing, cost-effectiveness and co-benefits – to successfully transition to One Health strategies. Read more →
  • After 2 years of the COVID-19 pandemic, translating One Health into action is urgent | Thierry Lefrançois et al. | The Lancet | 24 October 2022
    Drawing lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic and the observed lack of an efficient and comprehensive One Health surveillance system, researchers propose an ambitious roadmap to prevent and mitigate future pandemics.

Climate Action at Sharm El Sheikh Climate Change Conference

The Sharm El Sheikh Climate Change Conference will kick off on Sunday, 6 November. The meeting comprises the twenty-seventh session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 27), the seventeenth session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol (CMP 17), and the fourth session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA 4). H.E. Amb. Wael Aboulmagd, special representative of COP27 president Sameh Shoukry, stated that the conference should make progress to achieve much needed “concrete steps towards cutting emissions, adapting to climate impacts already locked in and responding to loss and damage.” Stay tuned with latest news on COP27 and learn more about how Geneva is mobilized for climate action in our special update.

Last week, a series of key reports were published, painting a clear picture of the urgency to strengthen climate action to reduce emissions globally and transitioning to net zero societies:

  • The UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2022 finds that only an urgent system-wide transformation can avoid an accelerating climate disaster. The report looks at how to deliver this transformation through action in the electricity supply, industry, transport and buildings sectors, and the food and financial systems. Read more →
  • The latest WMO Greenhouse Gas Bulletin reveals that atmospheric levels of the main greenhouse gases reached new record highs in 2021, thus stressing the enormous challenge – and the vital necessity – of urgent action to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Read more →
  • The State of Climate Action 2022, by Bezos Earth Fund, Climate Action Tracker, Climate Analytics, ClimateWorks Foundation, NewClimate Institute, the United Nations Climate Change High-Level Champions, and World Resources Institute. quantifies the global gap in climate action by comparing current efforts to those required by 2030 and 2050 to limit warming to 1.5°C. Despite lagging progress overall, the report does point to some encouraging signs. Read more →
  • The 2022 report of the Lancet Countdown on health and climate change details how fossil fuel dependence is undermining global health and human well-being. The authors are calling for health-centered response to climate change, in particular by stopping support to the fossil industry and shifting away from fossil fuels. Read more →
  • The IISD report Navigating Energy Transitions: Mapping the road to 1.5°C explores the implications of 1.5°C scenarios for the phase-out of fossil fuels and the scale-up to renewables. Notably, it highlights that projected investments in new oil and gas fields by 2030 could fully finance the wind and solar energy ramp-up required to stay within meet the 1.5°C target. Read more →
  • The synthesis report by the UNFCCC secretariat on NDCs shows that, while most countries are strengthened their commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions, these efforts remain insufficient to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C by the end of the century. Read more →
  • The World Energy Outlook 2022 by IEA explores the implications of the current global energy crisis. The report points out that the subsequent profound and long-lasting changes have the potential to speed up the transition to a more sustainable and secure energy system. Read more →

Other key report coming up this week:

  • UNEP will launch the 2022 edition of the Adaptation Gap Report in a virtual press conference, on 3 November, at 11:00 CET. The report provides an update on the global status and progress of the adaptation process across three elements: planning, financing, and implementation. This edition also focuses on the effectiveness of adaptation and considers adaptation-mitigation co-benefits.

Towards the UN Biodiversity Conference: Making Nature Impact Disclosures Compulsory

Last week, more than 330 business and finance institutions, with combined revenues of more than $1.5 trillion, launched the “Make it Mandatory” campaign, calling on decision-makers to make nature impact disclosures compulsory for all large businesses and financial institutions by 2030. The campaign, led by the Geneva-based organization Business for Nature, aims to strengthen ambition ahead of the UN Biodiversity Conference, which will take place in Montreal in December. While various actors from private sector has taken voluntary measures to assess their impacts and dependencies on nature and transform their business strategies to protect and restore natural ecosystems, the signatories stress the limits of this approach and the need for robust and mandatory regulation. According to a report published by Business for Nature, Capitals Coalition and CDP, such regulation can help create fairer competition for business, increase accountability, engage investors and consumers, support SMEs to minimize their nature dependencies through supply chains and help ensure the rights of Indigenous Peoples’ and local communities. Read more →

What (Else) Should I Read Next?

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Conference

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31 Oct – 04 Nov 2022

Maison de la Paix & Online

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14 Feb 2023

One Health