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 X (Twitter), Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Youtube, or visit our website regularly for additional updates.

Image of the week | Maria Neira, Director of the World Health Organization Department of Public Health and Environment, speaking at the Minamata COP-5 Special Event “Mercury in Cosmetics – More than what meets the eye“, on Tuesday 31 October 2023. From a public health point of view, we must start to mercury history as soon as possible, insisted Maria Neira, reminding the public that mercury is neurotoxic and calling for more advocacy to shed light on this invisibilized issue. © Geneva Environment Network. Find more photos of the Minamata Convention COP-5 (authored Kiara Worth) on the Convention’s Flickr account.

Urgent Wildlife Conservation Matters to be Tackled at CITES Annual Meeting

The survival of wild plants and animals will be addressed at this week’s 77th meeting of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora Standing Committee (CITES SC77). With a packed agenda of 77 items, SC77 will consider the alignment with the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, the role of CITES in reducing the risk of future zoonotic disease emergence associated with international wildlife trade, and the establishment of the CITES Youth Global Network. The event will also feature various side events. A briefing organized by the CITES Secretariat in collaboration with the Geneva Environment Network last 17 October offered insights and relevant information to prepare for the meeting. → Access the recording, the summary, and the resources.

Want to dive into the CITES SC77 negotiation? → Read CITES Press Release, follow the Earth Negotiations Bulletin, or watch the live stream.

Coherent and Concerted Effort to End Plastic Pollution

A new report Science-Policy Interface for Plastic Pollution – published by GRID-Arendal and authored by Karen Raubenheimer and Niko Urho – will be launched this week at an event organized within the framework of the Geneva Beat Plastic Pollution Dialogues, in the run-up to the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee to develop an international legally binding instrument on plastic pollution (INC-3) and the second session of the ad hoc open-ended working group to prepare proposals for the Science-Policy Panel to Contribute Further to the Sound Management of Chemicals and Waste and to Prevent Pollution (OEWG2). The report considers how the work of these two processes can interlink and complement each other, as well as ensure smooth collaboration with other relevant scientific bodies. → Register on Webex and join us on Tuesday 7 November 2023 from 14:00 to 15:30 CET

While INC-3 will convene next week in Nairobi, this week, a preparatory one-day meeting on 11 November and regional consultations on 12 November 2023 will consider, among others, the synthesis report, a document in development by the Secretariat based on member States and observers’ submissions, including the principles and the scope of the instrument and issues that have not yet been discussed by the INC. → Further information, including on the preparatory day can be found in the summary of the briefing ahead of INC-3 organized by the Plastics INC Secretariat together with the Geneva Environment Network and on our regularly updated webpage, Towards Plastic Pollution INC-3. For live updates on the negotiations, follow the Earth Negotiations Bulletin daily coverage.

Recent additional resources include:

  • Who Pays for Plastic Pollution | WWF | 7 November 2023
    Report to be launched by WWF shedding light on the true cost of plastic on the environment, health and economies. It highlights that such costs can be as much as 10 times higher for low-income countries, even though they consume almost three times less plastic per capita, than high-income ones.
  • High Ambition Coalition Ministerial Joint Statement for INC-3 | 3 November 2023
    In advance of INC-3, the 59 Ministers of the High Ambition Coalition to End Plastic Pollution reiterate their shared commitment to working with all INC Member States, to build trust and common understanding in order to deliver the ambitious legally binding instrument needed to achieve our common goal of ending plastic pollution by 2040.
  • Zero Draft Response | Scientists’ Coalition for an Effective Plastics Treaty | 3 November 2023
    The Coalition highlights the five key requirements for the plastics treaty in reaction to the zero draft text published by the Plastics INC  Secretariat. 
  • The Global Commitment Five Years In: Learnings to Accelerate Towards a Future Without Plastic Waste or Pollution | Ellen MacArthur Foundation | 3 November 2023
    The Global Commitment has shown it is possible to make meaningful progress to tackle plastic waste and pollution – but the world remains significantly off track. We need both an ambitious international legally binding instrument and greater business action if we are to stop the flow of plastic pollution.
  • The economic impact of plastic pollution, and the benefits of reducing mismanaged waste | IUCN | 2 November 2023
    This report presents the findings of a study that aimed at estimating the impacts of plastics leaked into the marine environment from Fiji, and the costs and benefits of implementing a solution, a regional recycling system to reduce mismanaged plastic waste and its leakage into the marine environment.
  • Plastics treaty text must center ecosystems | Ina Tessnow-Von Wysocki et al. | Science | 2 November 2023
    Negotiations for the plastics treaty must ensure that its text centers on the effects of plastics on ecosystems, as services that ecosystems provide are essential for biodiversity and human health and well-being.
  • Leading financial institutions input into next round of negotiations to redirect finance to end plastic pollution | UNEP FI and Minderoo Foundation | 31 October 2023
    UNEP FI-Convened Finance Leadership Group on Plastics published Redirecting financial flows to end plastic pollution, a comprehensive paper for negotiators and the finance industry on the role and requirements of the sector to enable the transition towards pollution-free economies.
  • Policy Brief: Just Transition | Scientists’ Coalition for An Effective Plastics Treaty | 31 October 2023
    This policy brief states what a just transition should entail – ensuring that measures taken to end plastic pollution are fair, equitable and inclusive for all stakeholders across the plastics lifecycle.
  • Unproved “Advanced Recycling” Facilities  Have Recycled Millions in Public Subsidies  | The Intercept | 31 October 2023
    The petrochemical industry is lobbying for “advanced recycling” as a solution to plastic pollution, but a new report reveals a troubling track record at U.S. facilities.
  • Chemical Recycling: A Dangerous Deception | IPEN and Beyond Plastics | 30 October 2023
    Debunking the plastic industry’s claims that chemical recycling, also known as “advanced recycling,” will play a significant role in reducing global plastic pollution the report presents science and data showing that chemical recycling has failed for decades and will not contribute significantly to resolving the plastics crisis.

Sharing Mining Benefits in the Energy Transition | IGF 2023

The 19th Annual General Meeting of the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development (IGF 2023) takes place from 7 to 9 November 2023 at Palais des Nations, under the theme Sharing Mining Benefits in the Energy Transition. The IGF works with more than 80 member governments to strengthen their legal and policy tools to promote good governance in mining for the betterment of communities, economies, and the environment. Consult the registration modalities for the IGF’s 19th Annual General Meeting and Government Forum, and follow the Earth Negotiations Bulletin daily coverage.

Paving the Way to the UN Climate Change Conference

In the run-up to the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 28) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change – UN Climate Change Conference – to be held from 30 November to 12 December 2023 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, the fifth meeting of the Transitional Committee (TC5) on the operationalization of the new funding arrangements for responding to loss and damage concluded in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, with an agreement on a list of recommendations for implementing the Loss and Damage Fund established at COP27. The numerous news released on this topic include:

  • ‘Loss and damage’ deal struck to help countries worst hit by climate crisis | Guardian | Fiona Harvey | 5 November 2023
    Governments draw up blueprint for fund to be administered at first by World Bank after tense Abu Dhabi talks.
  • ‘Take it or leave it’: Acrimony flares amid tenuous agreement on climate aid | Politico | 4 November 2023
    Negotiators struck a fragile agreement Saturday over the outlines of an international fund for climate-ravaged countries after hours of acrimonious haggling foreshadowed likely divisions at the global climate talks later this month.
  • Key Messages on Human Rights and Loss and Damage | Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights | November 2023
    The Key Messages describe critical human rights obligations related to loss and damage from climate change. Climate-related food and water insecurity, diseases, and other losses and damages have exacerbated inequalities, including with respect to the effective enjoyment of human rights. They require a response grounded in human rights.
  • Last-chance saloon for loss and damage deal before COP28 | The New Humanitarian | 31 October 2023
    Countries have a final chance to make progress on loss and damage funding before December’s pivotal COP28 climate summit – or risk another year of delays that could deepen global mistrust, a leading negotiator warns.

The 2023 edition of the UNEP Adaptation Gap Report issued last week also concluded that failure to enhance adaptation has huge implications for losses and damages:

Ahead of COP28, additional reports, news, and statements were released last week, including:

  • Climate rights expert slams corporations and states on human rights duties | Geneva Solutions | 3 November 2023
    A month ahead of Cop28, the UN rights expert on climate change amplifies calls by scientists and global leaders, saying states and corporations need to protect people from the environmental crisis.
  • 2023 State of Climate Services: Health | WMO | 2 November 2023
    The report focuses on health, highlighting the importance of climate services and information in protecting lives and livelihoods. While there are many good examples of how countries are successfully using climate information and services to detect, monitor, predict and manage climate-related health risks, there is huge potential for enhancing the impact of climate science and services for health.
  • Corporate Climate Stocktake 2023 | We Mean Business Coalition | 31 October 2023
    The Corporate Climate Stocktake (CCST) looks in detail at eight sectors – power, road transport, concrete & cement, steel, shipping, hydrogen, aviation and agriculture – the research presents progress against international or national targets, and identifies the barriers faced by businesses that are rapidly decarbonizing to meet their climate targets.
  • Doctors from around the world unite to call for urgent climate action | The Guardian | 28 October 2023 
    The world’s leading GP and health bodies, representing more than three million health professionals worldwide, will deliver an open letter on Saturday calling for urgent action against climate change to protect the health of communities.

Fish Week @ World Trade Organization

WTO Members will meet this week for five days of discussions on the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies. The seventh of these encounters — or “Fish Week” — will continue advancing on the content of the second wave of fisheries subsidies negotiations, focused on curbing subsidies that contribute to overcapacity and overfishing, to take place in December 2023. Members are seeking to conclude an agreement at the WTO 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13) scheduled for February 2024. With a recent wave of new instruments of ratifications submitted last week, 46% of the necessary signatures for the Agreement to come into effect (two-thirds of the WTO membership) have been secured. → Learn more about the Global Response to Overfishing and the Role of Geneva.

More Happening Abroad this Week

  • GEO Week 2023 | GEO Week 2023, taking place in Cape Town, South Africa, aims to call the attention of participants on how to interpret the messages that the changing earth is sending by translating Earth observation data, technology, and science and translate it into free, trusted information that makes sense to everyone. → Follow the live coverage of the Earth Negotiations Bulletin.
  • 52nd Pacific Islands Forum Leaders | PIFLM52 will gather leaders of the region in the Cook Islands to work towards achieving the Pacific Leaders’ vision for “a resilient Pacific Region of peace, harmony, security, social inclusion, and prosperity, that ensures all Pacific peoples can lead free, healthy, and productive lives.” PIFLM52 is action and future-oriented with a focus on the Implementation of the 2050 Strategy for the Blue Pacific Continent.
  • 3rd Part of the 28th Annual Session of the International Seabed Authority | ISA28 Council is meeting 30 October to 8 November 2023. The Council will address various agenda items, including resumed consideration of the draft regulations on the exploitation of mineral resources in the Area. → Read the information note for further details and follow the Earth Negotiations Bulletin live coverage.
  • One Planet – Polar Summit | The 2023 One Planet Summit will be held from 8 to 10 November 2023 in Paris as part of the 2023 edition of the Paris Peace Forum. For the first time, researchers and scientists from over forty glacial and polar nations will be meeting in Paris to share their findings and observations with IPCC and IPBES experts, as well as with the heads of international institutionsNGOs, representatives of indigenous peoples and local communities, the private sector involved in these regions, and the political leaders of countries present in the Arctic, Antarctic and glacial worlds. → Follow the live stream online.

What (Else) to Read Next?

  • Minamata Convention COP-5 takes crucial steps in its mission of eliminating mercury pollution | Minamata Convention | 4 November 2024
    Among the decisions made at COP-5, Parties defined new dates to phase out mercury-added products including cosmetics, strengthened ties with Indigenous Peoples, advanced the first effectiveness evaluation of the Convention, and reached an agreement on a threshold for mercury waste.
  • Protect the ‘right to science’ for people and the planet | Volker Türk, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights | 1 November 2023
    The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights believes that science and human rights must direct humanity’s actions. As the world marks 75 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we must all remember that human rights exist to empower people, protect their lives and dignity, and curb humanity’s worst impulses.
  • Time to evaluate: Towards the second periodic review of the International Seabed Authority | Cremers, K., Chazot, C., Singh, P., Rochette, J.| IDDRI | October 2023
    This Policy Brief highlights lessons learned from the last period review process, explains why it is timely and relevant for the Assembly of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) to launch this review, and provides recommendations to ensure the review is both meaningful and impactful.
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Fish Week

06 – 10 Nov 2023

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Team Assistant | G4

09 Nov 2023

UNEP Chemicals and Health Branch

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17 May 2024

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