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. During the COVID-19 pandemic, some live events organized by organizations around the world, contributing to the global environmental agenda, have also been included. Stay tuned and follow us also on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or visit our website regularly for additional updates.

Due to the developments in the sanitary situation, most institutions in Geneva are operating virtually. 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.

In the Run-Up to the Climate Ambition Summit

The virtual Climate Ambition Summit co-hosted by the United Nations, the United Kingdom and France, in partnership with Chile and Italy, on 12 December will mark the fifth anniversary of the adoption of the Paris Agreement. The summit is a “sprint to Glasgow,” where the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 26) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is scheduled to take place in November 2021. #ClimateAction

In the run-up to the Summit, various events and activities are being proposed. Monday 7 December, a session convened by Switzerland within the framework of the Geneva Environment Network, will look into how the equity and fairness considerations can help highlight principles to stimulate the countries to be as ambitious as possible in submitting their updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) by 31 December 2020, under the Paris Agreement. Register on Webex to join the conversation from 14:00 CET.

Major publication being launched in the run-up of the summit include:

  • The Production Gap Report 2020, measuring the gap between Paris Agreement goals and countries’ planned production of coal, oil, and gas, was released on 2 December. The report, produced by SEI, IISD, the ODI, E3G, and UNEP, finds that the COVID-19 recovery marks a potential turning point, where countries must change course to avoid locking in levels of coal, oil, and gas production far higher than consistent with a 1.5°C limit.
  • According to the provisional WMO report on the State of the Global Climate in 2020 released on 2 December, Climate change continued its relentless march in 2020, which is on track to be one of the three warmest years on record. 2011-2020 will be the warmest decade on record, with the warmest six years all being since 2015. Ocean heat is at record levels and more than 80% of the global ocean experienced a marine heatwave at some time in 2020, with widespread repercussions for marine ecosystems.
  • The UNEP Emissions Gap Report 2020 is expected to be released on 9 December. It will provide the latest update on global emissions and progress towards achieving the Paris Agreement goals as well as the resulting emissions gap. The 2020 edition will also look at the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic to the extent possible and discusses the implications of related recovery responses. Furthermore, it will assess the role of lifestyles and behavioral change, as well as shipping and aviation in bridging the emissions gap.
  • The United Nations is expected to launch this week the latest Greening the Blue Report which measures and details the environmental footprint of its facilities and operations in an effort to reduce it.

In the past days, ambitious commitments toward reducing net emissions have been announced by various member states and companies, while the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, has described the fight against the climate crisis as the top priority for the 21st Century, in a passionate speech delivered on 2 December at Columbia University in New York.

Consult the learning section of this newsletter proposing online courses allowing to be more familiar with climate action.

Plastics, Climate and Air Pollution

The Geneva Beat Plastic Pollution Dialogues were launched last month, with a first session on Plastics and Waste. The second session will focus on Plastics, Climate and Air Pollution and will take place on 10 December from 14:00 to 15:00 CET. It will discuss the hidden dimension of the plastics crisis, the contribution of plastics to global greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. Register on Webex to join the conversation. #BeatPlasticPollution

Strengthening Industrial Safety

The eleventh meeting of the Conference of the Parties to UNECE’s Convention on the Transboundary Effects of Industrial Accidents is convening from 7 to 9 December to review progress and take decisions towards the Convention’s strengthened implementation. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused wide-ranging effects on human health, security and economic activity, which have significantly impacted industrial safety. Together with growing climate-related risks, this has highlighted the need to redouble efforts for prevention, preparedness, and response to ensure safety.

30 Years of Cross-Border Environmental Impact Assessment

The sessions of the Meeting of the Parties to the UNECE Espoo Convention and its Protocol on Strategic Environmental Assessment, from 8 to 11 December, will feature a special high-level event for the Convention’s 30th anniversary, which will look back at its origins; highlight achievements in promoting environmentally sound and sustainable development, fostering international cooperation, enhancing environmental governance and transparency in planning and decision-making; and share visions for its future.

International Mountain Day

Mountain biodiversity is the theme of this year’s International Mountain Day, celebrated on 11 December. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the Inter-Parliamentary Union are co-hosting the webinar Climate change adaptation in mountain areas: What role is there for parliamentarians?, from 14:00-15:15 CET, bringing together parliamentarians and experts on climate change adaptation in mountains. Panelists will discuss how countries can incorporate mountain resilience strategies in their NDCs, national Disaster Risk Reduction strategies, or country plans for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals in order to protect livelihoods, infrastructure, and natural resources. #MountainsMatter

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