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 | The new exhibition Plastic Léman at the Muséum d’histoire naturelle is dedicated to raise awareness on the pollution of plastics and microplastics in Lac Léman, the largest lake in Central Europe. The exhibit is open to the public until 22 April 2023. © UNEP/GEN Harvey Parafina, 2 February 2023

Towards the UN 2023 Water Conference

The UN 2023 Water Conference, to be co-hosted by the Netherlands and Tajikistan from 22 to 24 March 2023 in New York, is the first UN Conference on water since 1977 and will be a pivotal moment for the international community to accelerate global action towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. Recognizing the importance of water for inclusive economic growth and sustainable development ahead of the important event, the Permanent Missions of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Republic of Tajikistan, with facilitation by the WTO Secretariat, are organizing an informal panel discussion, “Water, Economics and Trade: Exploring commitments for the UN 2023 Water Conference” taking place on Monday 6 February 2023, from 15:00-16:30 CET.

This event will provide a platform to present ongoing work and interim conclusions of the Global Commission on the Economics of Water. It will also inform WTO members and interested stakeholders in Geneva on preparations and expected outcomes at the UN Water Conference. The event will also seek to identify various pathways for commitments on water, economics, and trade, to be presented as part of the Water Action Agenda, a key outcome document of the Water Conference, compiling voluntary actions and coalitions to get the world back on track to implementing and achieving our agreed water-related goals and targets. → Join the event online or at Room S3 of the WTO building.

Info-Sharing Session: Environment at The Human Rights Council

Ahead of the 52nd Regular Session of the Human Rights Council (HRC52), taking place in Geneva and online from 27 February to 4 April 2023, the Geneva Environment Network and its partners are convening an information-sharing session on environment and human rights related activities and events.

This event will seek to discuss and share information on planned environment related activities at and around HRC52, such as in person and online events, publications or exhibitions, among others, and exchange on possible synergies. They will feed the Geneva Environment Network page on HRC52 which will provide an updated calendar of these environment related events. → Join the info-sharing session in-person or online on Wednesday 8 February 2023, at 11:00 CET, and submit relevant information on your events.

The UN System’s Environmental Footprint

The UN system is making steady progress towards reducing its environmental footprint. UNEP, in collaboration with hundreds of UN personnel from across the UN System, annually collects and analyses information provided by entities on their environmental impacts and publishes this data and case studies in the Greening the Blue Report.

At this week’s special session “The UN System’s Environmental Footprint”, organized by the Sustainable United Nations team and the Geneva Environment Network, leading experts will present the findings of the 2022 edition of the Greening the Blue Report (307,000 personnel in 53 reporting entities across Headquarters, field offices and operations on the ground) and discuss the UN system’s efforts to reduce its environmental footprint in alignment with Strategy for Sustainability targets. → Join us on Thursday 9 February 2023, from 16:00 to 17:00 CET. Register for in-person attendance at the International Environment House, Room 3, and online via Webex.

#BeatPlasticPollution Agenda in Geneva and Beyond

World Environment Day | This year marks the 50th anniversary of World Environment Day, celebrated on 5 June, which will focus on solutions to plastic pollution, using the hashtag and slogan #BeatPlasticPollution. UNEP announced last week that Côte d’Ivoire will be the main host of the 2023 edition, with the support of the Government of Netherlands, a member of the High Ambition Coalition calling for a strong and ambitious international legally binding instrument to combat plastic pollution. → Stay tuned for updates on activities and events planned to celebrate by regularly vising the World Environment Day in Geneva resource page.

Intergovernmental negotiating committee (INC) to develop a legally binding instrument on plastic pollution | The secretariat is collecting inputs to prepare a document with potential options for elements towards an international legally binding instrument. This document could include both legally binding and voluntary measures. The statements received are being compiled and made available the INC website. As of 3 February, over 180 written submissions from various stakeholders were already available. Members of the Committee can still send their inputs to, until 10 February.

Plastic Waste Makers Index 2023 of The Minderoo Foundation | In the 2023 edition released this week, the Plastic Waste Makers Index includes new estimates of cradle-to-grave greenhouse gas emissions from single-use plastics, demonstrating how single-use plastics producers also contribute to the climate crisis. Among the findings, the authors have also highlighted that despite rising consumer awareness, corporate attention, and regulation, there is more single-use plastic waste than ever before.

News From Abroad

Antimicrobial Resistance Report Launch | Barbados

At the 6th meeting of the Global Leaders Group on Antimicrobial Resistance in Barbados, the UN Environment Programme will launch the Spotlight report, “Bracing for Superbugs: Strengthening environmental action in the One Health response to antimicrobial resistance” in a high-level press conference. Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) occurs when microbes such as bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi are resistant to antimicrobial treatments used in healthcare and in crop and animal production. The report provides evidence that the environment matters in the development, transmission, and spread of AMR; therefore, given the interconnection of human, animal, plant and ecosystems health, a One Health response to tackle AMR is crucial. → Join the press conference taking place online on 7 February 2023, 15:30-16:00 CET.

Science-Policy Panel to Contribute Further to the Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste and to Prevent Pollution OEWG1-2 | Thailand

The resumed first session of the ad hoc Open-Ended Working Group on the Science-Policy Panel to Contribute Further to the Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste and to Prevent Pollution (OEWG-1.2) made progress on various matters, including on the scope and functions of the future panel and setting a roadmap for the rest of the negotiations. Delegates left Bangkok with a clear path of how they will meet their ambitious timeline to establish a science-policy panel on chemicals, waste, and pollution in 2024. The timeline sets out the considerable work ahead, with only two more meetings left. The importance of intersessional work was underscored for timely completion of the task at hand. → Read the summary and analysis of OEWG 1.2 from the Earth Negotiations Bulletin.

Additional resources include:

Calls for Contributions / Abstracts / Side Events

2023 BRS COPs Side Events Application | During the 2023 meetings of the Conferences of the Parties of the Basel, Rotterdam and Stockholm Conventions (BRS COPs) taking place 1-12 May 2023, side events will be held during lunch breaks and in the evenings on major issues covered under the conventions. → The application for side events is open until 1 March 2023.

World Resources Forum (WRF) 2023 Call for Abstracts | WRF’23 will take place 4-6 September 2023 in a hybrid format in Geneva and online. With the theme, ‘Rethinking Value – Resources for Planetary Wellbeing’, this edition’s conference tracks – Sufficiency, Value Chains and Digitalisation – will be explored through a multi-disciplinary approach able to convey together environmental, societal, technological, economic, governance and geo-political perspectives. → The Call for Abstracts is open until 28 February 2023.

Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council, Treaty Bodies, Subsidiary Bodies and Office of the High Commissioner Call for Submissions | The Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council and other bodies of the council, as well as the Office of the High Commissioner and other human rights bodies regularly call for inputs for the reports in preparation. Find here the calls related to the environment. → Find here the calls related to the environment.

What (Else) to Read Next?

  • Switzerland calls for better environmental protection in armed conflicts | Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, Switzerland | 2 February 2023
    From 24 January to 2 February, Switzerland and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) hosted an online meeting of governmental experts, with the aim of improving protection of the environment in armed conflicts through better implementation of international humanitarian law (IHL).
  • Costa Rica pulls back on U.N.-backed climate agreement named in its honor | Alvaro Murillo | Reuters | 2 February 2023
    Costa Rica’s Congress on Wednesday blocked the country’s ratification of a U.N.-backed environmental treaty — the Escazú Agreement — named after one of the Central American country’s municipalities, after it lost support from the administration.
  • La plainte climatique contre Holcim est une première en Suisse | Camille Krafft | Le Temps | 1 February 2023
    Quatre habitants d’une île indonésienne menacée par la montée des eaux reprochent au cimentier son rôle dans le réchauffement climatique. Un rapport publié par des ONG critique la stratégie du groupe en matière de réduction des émissions de CO2.
  • Members discuss data on fishing subsidies and ocean resources for second wave negotiations | WTO | 31 January 2023
    WTO members on 31 January held a second knowledge building workshop to inform the second wave of negotiations on fisheries subsidies, focusing on data concerning the state of marine resources and on fisheries subsidies. The workshop was intended to enhance members’ ability to reach an agreed outcome by the 13th Ministerial Conference, said Deputy Director-General Angela Ellard, who also called on more members to submit their formal acceptances of the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies.
  • Emitters beware: WMO wants to find you | Paula Dupraz-Dobias | Geneva Solutions | 31 January 2023
    As pressure mounts for climate action, scientific experts meet at the WMO to discuss how countries can better measure their heat trapping emissions.
  • International environmental agreements and imperfect enforcement: Evidence from CITES | Benedikt Heid & Laura Márquez-Ramos | Journal of Environmental Economics and Management | 28 January 2023
    After more than 20 years of a species’ inclusion into CITES, wildlife populations increase by about 66% in countries with thorough enforcement, irrespective of whether trade in the species is only restricted or completely banned under CITES.
  • Why cities should be fully recognized stakeholders within the UN system | Andràs Szörényi & Pauline Leroy | Geneva Cities Hub & The European Sting | 2 February 2023
    Urbanization is the defining trend of our century, yet cities have no opportunity to shape national and international agreements. The Geneva Cities Hub, established in 2020, seeks to change this dynamic by connecting cities to the international community.
  • Sustainable Supply Chains and Deforestation | Marianne Kettunen | Forum on Trade and the SDGs (TESS) & UNEP | 24 January 2023
    This presentation reviews the landscape of trade policy initiatives and emerging issues on sustainable supply chains and deforestation.
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30 Jan 2024

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20 Feb 2024

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