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.

Due to the developments in the sanitary situation, various institutions in Geneva continue 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.

Image of the week |Mobilizing International Geneva for Environmental Peacebuilding“, a session convened as part of the 2nd International Conference on Environmental Peacebuilding | International Environment House | 3 November 2022.

Getting Closer to UN Environment Assembly

The resumed fifth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5.2) will take place in three weeks!

This week, the Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum takes place online, from 7 to 10 February, with access for accredited and non-accredited organizations. The forum is self-organized by the Major Group Facilitating Committee (MGFC), the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) and Women Engage for a Common Future (WECF), to advance the major groups and stakeholders’ positions and inputs to resolutions, decisions and declarations tabled for UNEA 5.2 and UNEP@50.

Ahead of UNEA, plastic pollution is high on the agenda. The two resolutions seeking to establish an International Negotiating Committee to adopt a internationally legally binding instrument on this issue, proposed by Peru and Rwanda, and by Japan, were discussed at a high-level dialogue last week. At the end of January, the government of India has come forward with an additional draft resolution on a framework for addressing plastic product pollution including single-use plastic product pollution.

The potential establishment of a science-policy panel on chemicals and waste will also be discussed, with a draft resolution tabled on this matter. The main question is how can scientists convey timely warnings and inform policymaking. A recent article by the Earth Negotiations Bulletin – Science-Policy Interfaces: From Warnings to Solutions – offers some insights into this question, drawing lessons from 50 years of UN sustainable development policy.

Stay tuned on the latest news on UNEA-5.2 through our update and join the GENeva High-Level Briefing on UNEA-5-2 with the UNEA presidency next week, Monday 14 February, 13.00 CET.

One Ocean, Many Challenges

France is hosting a One Planet Summit dedicated to the ocean in Brest, France,  from 9 to 11 February 2022. The “One Ocean Summit” is held in the context of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union, with the support of the United Nations. The goal of the summit is to raise the collective level of ambition of the international community on marine issues and to translate our shared responsibility to the ocean into tangible commitments. The programme includes a high-level segment on 11 February, where several initiatives are expected to be launched to protect marine ecosystems, promote sustainable fisheries, fight marine litter and plastic pollution, address the impacts of climate change, as well as advocate for improved governance of the oceans. Various institutions in international Geneva developed Action for the Ocean and will join or follow closely the Brest Agenda.

Contribute to Geneva’s Climate Plan

Climate change is a global issue, that needs action at all levels. The State of Geneva has developed a cantonal climate plan launched in 2021, that aims to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and anticipate and manage the effects of climate change. The plan includes more than 40 measures to reduce GHG emissions by 60% by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The State of Geneva is now inviting the population to contribute to the evolution of the 2030 cantonal climate plan and its 2021-2023 plan of measures in view of its next update, with regards to energy and buildings, mobility, consumption goods, and guidance and support for change. Contributions are welcomed in English and French on the online platform participer.ge until the end of February.

What (Else) Should I Read Next?

  • Global analysis of health care waste in the context of COVID-19 | WHO | 1 February 2022
    The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that tens of thousands of tonnes of extra medical waste from the response to the COVID-19 pandemic has put tremendous strain on healthcare waste management systems around the globe.  Plastic trash threatens human and environmental health, and exposing a dire need to improve waste management practices.
  • White Paper on the Future on Environmental Peacebuilding | Geneva Peacebuilding Platform, PeaceNexus Foundation, Environmental Peacebuilding Association, Environmental Law Institute, and International Union for Conservation of Nature | 1 February 2022
    This collaborative paper aims to deliver a strong, cogent message about the relevance, evidence, and promise of environmental peacebuilding to the Stockholm+50 forum in June 2022. 
  • UNEP head responds to questions on global plastics agreement | UNEP | 3 February 2022
    Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme does a Q&A on the deliberations by Member States on a global agreement on plastic pollution at the upcoming UN Environment Assembly.
  • Health in the Global Environmental Agenda: A policy guide | IISD | 20 January 2022
    This report provides key insights and recommendations for health experts to help them engage in and follow global environmental processes at an elevated level, focusing on intersections where policy approaches could incorporate health and well-being issues.
  • Sustainability standards are a powerful tool to protect biodiversity | UNCTAD | 24 January 2022
    International commerce has so far been overlooked in the negotiations around addressing biodiversity loss. Ahead of the meetings of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Geneva, this piece highlights how voluntary sustainability standards could play a bigger role in conserving our planet’s resources and help strengthen the new post-2020 Global Biodiversity Framework.
  • Antigua and Barbuda: Luxury resort puts wetland and healthy environment at risk – UN experts | Human Rights Special Procedures | 2 February 2022
    Barbuda’s fragile and biodiverse natural site of Palmetto Point, recognised as a wetland of international importance by the Ramsar Convention, remains at risk, with serious human rights implications, due to the construction of the Barbuda Ocean Club resort. 
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