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.

In light with the recent developments in the sanitary situation, institutions in Geneva are adjusting their response and adapting their operations. 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.

Image of the week | Marcos Orellana, UN Special Rapporteur on Toxics and Human Rights, speaking at “The Human Rights Council Contributions to Protecting Human and Natural Environment” Stockholm +50 Dialogue, on 30 March 2022. © UNEP/GEN, Pablo Arturo López Guijosa

How Can We Limit Global Warming?

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group III (WGIII) concluded the line-by-line review of the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) of its contribution to the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) in the evening of Sunday 3 April, after two extremely intense weeks of virtual negotiations. The 56th Session of the IPCC is reconvening on Monday to formally approve the Summary for Policymakers of the WGIII contribution to AR6 and accept the underlying technical assessment report. The report was prepared by 278 scientists from 65 countries, who have assessed over 18,000 publications to identify options and solutions for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Earth Negotiations Bulletin provided daily coverage of the meeting.

Various events will take place in the next weeks to present the main findings. This week don’t miss:

On Saturday 9 April, climate demonstrations are planned in various cities of Switzerland, including in Geneva, with the main message: more free time to fight the climate crisis.

Beat Plastic Pollution Dialogues Relaunching

Following the landmark resolution to end plastic pollution adopted at the fifth UN Environment Assembly (UNEA-5), the Geneva Environment Network and partners are launching the third series of the Geneva Beat Plastic Pollution Dialogues. These dialogues are held in the run-up to the meetings of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee (INC) tasked to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution, and the ad-hoc open-ended working group preparatory meeting(s), as well as other major global environmental negotiations, including the BRS COPs, the 2022 UN Ocean Conference, SAICM ICCM5, and UNEA-6. They aim to facilitate further engagement and discussion among the stakeholders in International Geneva and beyond, create synergies among actors and support coordinated approaches to address the plastic crisis.

Two sessions coming up this week:

  • While scientists have recently discovered proof of microplastics in human blood, the series will kick-off with a timely event focused on Life Below Water and Microplastic Pollution: From Science to Policy, building upon the recognition by the UNEA resolution that microplastics are a part of the plastic problem. Co-organized by the University of Geneva, the Geneva Environment Network, Norway and Switzerland, as a side-event to the Regional Forum on Sustainable Development, it will provide an overview of the current global state of science and policy of marine pollution by microplastics and possible impacts on life below water and health. It will also discuss the nexus of science, policy and action to achieve target 14.1, looking at how this knowledge supports global policy and governance, including on a new instrument on plastic pollution. Join the discussion on Wednesday, 6 April at 13.15 CEST by registering for in-person or online participation.
  • Next steps for the plastic pollution treaty: Vision and priorities for commitments and action event organized by the Forum on Trade, Environment and the SDGs (TESS), the Global Governance Centre and the Geneva Environment Network, as part of the Geneva Beat Plastic Pollution Dialogue, in cooperation with the governments of Barbados, Ecuador, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom, to be followed by a reception. The first session of this event will draw together key actors to provide an update on next steps on the plastic pollution treaty and in related international fora that can complement and support the treaty process. Speakers in the second session will review a sample of voluntary initiatives, standards and regulatory measures, highlighting the specific challenges, opportunities and priorities that could be concretely addressed in the treaty. Finally, speakers will share views on the vision and goals that should drive the treaty talks, focusing on the outcomes and system change needed and how the treaty should be structured to achieve them. →  Join on 7 April from 15.00 to 18:00 CEST, at Maison de la Paix or online (register for virtual participation).

You are invited to dive back into the lessons learnt from the second series of dialogues, held in the run-up to UNEA-5.2, from August 2021 to February 2022, providing recommendations for negotiating a successful agreement plastics agreement, and key messages from UN and other intergovernmental organizations, Member States, civil society organizations, academia and the private sector  Read the outcomes here.

Forum of Mayors

The Second Forum of Mayors will convene on 4 – 5 April., and provide a platform for ongoing exchange and mutual learning where Mayors will present their efforts to tackle urban challenges in their cities, such as housing and climate-neutral buildings, green cities and nature-based solutions, sustainable urban transport and safer roads, and smart urban development solutions. Convened at the Palais des Nations, Room XVII, the meeting will also be broadcasted live on UN TV.

Regional Forum on Sustainable Development

The 2022 Regional Forum on Sustainable Development for the UNECE region is convening on 6 – 7 April, in Geneva and online, bringing insights on how to build back better from the COVID-19 crisis while advancing the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda. The 2022 Regional Forum will offer opportunities for exchange in several formats, including plenary sessions, peer learning round tables, side events and preparatory consultations. The following SDGs will be reviewed in depth: SDG 4, SDG 5, SDG 14, SDG 15 and SDG 17.

  • Among the over 40 side-events addressing important challenges for the region, join us for a discussion on microplastics, from science to policy action to achieve SDG14.1, on 6 April at 13:15 CEST as part of the 3rd series of the Geneva Beat Plastic Pollution Dialogues.
  • Among the various sessions, the roundtable “Rebalancing people, planet and prosperity: ESD as key enabler for the 17 SDGs and Agenda 2030on 7 April at 10:00 CEST will provide key insights on how to achieve SDG 4: Quality Education. Organized by UNESCO, UNECE and UNEP, with the support of the Geneva Environment Network, this session will highlight global and regional Education for Sustainable Development (ESD) policy actions, including the upcoming High-Level Education and Environment Ministers meeting in Cyprus, and illustrate how ESD strategies can help advance, amplify, and scale up transformative education for sustainable development and strengthen cooperation between the education, environment and other sectors to prepare learners for the future.

UN Ocean Conference: From Geneva to Lisbon

International Geneva is mobilized in the run-up to the 2022 UN Ocean Conference, to be held from 27 June to 1 July 2022, in Lisbon. The conference, co-hosted by the Governments of Kenya and Portugal, will address the major challenges faced by the ocean with a focus on pollution, ecosystem restoration, acidification, warming, overfishing, sustainable use of ocean resources, science and implementation of sea law. Member States, Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs), UN entities and all other duly accredited and registered entities can propose side-events to be held in the margins of the conference until 8 April.   For further information on the conference, preparatory meetings, and other activities in Geneva in the run-up, visit our regularly updated webpage on the topic.

This week, the 4th Oceans Forum on trade-related aspects of Sustainable Development Goal 14, convened by UNCTAD in cooperation with various partners, from 6 to 8 April, will provide a platform to discuss issues related to ocean governance ahead of the UN Ocean Conference. The forum aims to showcase solutions for using trade as a tool to protect our ocean and its resources, accelerating the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14’s trade-related targets.

Governments Advance Biodiversity Negotiations

After 15 days of negotiations in Geneva, that attracted 2,000 onsite and online participants for the first in-person meetings after two years, world governments have produced a strong basis for an ambitious Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework to safeguard the health of the planet, scheduled for final agreement at the UN Biodiversity Conference in Kunming, China, later this year. Delegates made progress in various sections of the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework through contact group meetings, but acknowledged that much is needed in terms of intersessional work. A fourth meeting of the Open-ended Working Group on the Post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework is scheduled from 21-26 June 2022 in Nairobi. Read more:

49th Session of the Human Rights Council: Environmental Outcomes

The record-breaking 5 week-long 49th Session of the Human Rights Council concluded on Friday 1 April, with the adoption of 35 resolutions and the appointment of 11 mandate holders, including the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of climate change. Our dedicated webpage summarizes the environmental achievements of the session. Outcomes of the past week include:

  • UN rights body appoints Tuvalu negotiator as climate change expert | Reuters | 1 April 2022
    As a follow-up to resolution 48/14 adopted last October, the Human Rights Council appointed Ian Fry for the newly established position of UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of climate change. The new Special Rapporteur has a long experience negotiating on behalf of least developed countries including at the 2015 Paris climate conference where he helped ensure that human rights were part of the final package.
  • The Human Rights Council Contributions to Protecting Human and Natural Environment | Geneva Environment Network | 30 March 2022
    As part of the Geneva preparations for the Stockholm+50 Conference, experts from the human rights and environmental community in Geneva presented the strong synergies between these two areas of work, and how human rights mechanisms can continue to contribute to protecting human and natural environments going forward. Recording and summary available.

What (Else) Should I Read Next?

  • Antimicrobial Resistance: The Underfunded Pandemic | IHEID | 29 March 2022
    Nadya Wells, Senior Research Adviser at the Global Health Centre, highlights the health burden of antimicrobial resistance, a future pandemic that could cause 10 million deaths per year. She stresses how both human and animal health, as well as our natural environment depend on urgent scientific, financial and policy innovation to support sustainable antibiotic markets.
  • Shell filed appeal against landmark Dutch climate ruling | Reuters | 29 March 2022
    In last May’s ruling on a case brought by seven groups including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth Netherlands, the Dutch court ordered Shell to cut emissions faster and reduce its absolute emissions by 45% by 2030, marking the the first time a judge has ordered a large corporation to comply with the Paris climate agreement. Last week, Shell filed an appeal against the ruling arguing that the company cannot be legally obliged to reduce carbon emissions they do not control from customers.
  • Fights over illegal fishing lead to armed conflict, deaths | Helen Wieffering | AP | 31 March 2022
    Around the world, from Sri Lanka to Argentina to the South China Sea, the ocean has become an expanding front in the armed conflict between nations over illegal fishing and overfishing, practices that deplete a vulnerable food source for billions of people worldwide.
  • Public nominations open for UNEP’s Champions of the Earth Award 2022 | UNEP | 15 March 2022
    Do you know of any individuals and organisations who have helped prevent, halt, and reverse the degradation of ecosystems? Nominate them by 11 April for the Champions of the Earth award, which honours individuals, groups, and organizations whose actions have a transformative impact on the environment.
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Conference

Regional Forum 2022

06 – 07 Apr 2022

Palais des Nations & Online

UNECE

Conference

Save Soil – Genève

06 Apr 2022 18:00 – 20:00

Batiment Des Forces Motrices, 2, Place des Volontaires

Conscious Planet

Local

Communes et Climat Atelier: Solaire

07 Apr 2022 08:30 – 12:00

Salle Carnotzet | Centre technico-administratif SIG Lignon, Chemin du Château-Bloch 2, Vernier

Republic and State of Geneva

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02 Apr 2024

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